by Rdyniond M«ys. (Pozdis and Co., 7, Milfbrd Lane, W.C.2, ‘300 pp., 213.)
Raymond Mays, and Dennis i!.iay who has edited it, have made a capital job of this long-awaited volume. It traces Mays’ racing career from his early sprints in a hotted-up Hillman to his present brave venture of launching the B.R.M.
Obviously such -subject matter was bound to form an absorbing story, especially as it is exceedingly well writtenup, but what makes “Split Seconds” a classic is the detail in which Maya’ early ventures are described, the many new technical facts which emerge and the neat marshalling of specifications. h.p. figures, etc., of all Mays’ racing ears.
We never thought Ray would have had time to be so painstaking. but he has been so, and in consequence his book will live with other classics like “Motor Racing ” and “The Lure of Speed” and is, indeed, if anything more readable than these, decidedly more ‘technical and of greater interest to contemporary and present-day racing men..
Bits of typical Dennis May English creep in, Mays frequently jars us by ” sweating blood ” (horrid expression !) He colours the story by references to stage stars, etc., but this only adds to the fun and detracts not at all from the serious side of an enthralling -account. ” Split Seconds ” is a book to read carefully. Doing so we found a sparsity of points worth querying. We did wonder it’ the Shelsley crowds really loudly cheered a new record in the early days, because we have heard mostly only handclaps, as the author himself says of later days. We are still wondering just how the valves in the fixed-head engine of Mays’ ” Brescia ” Bugatti were held up while valve springs were changed outside his hotel before a climb—bat it could be done, of course. lint everything else is carefully explained and Mays’ many grim and courageous battles against adversity ably described. We read of his
Hillman; Bugatti, A.C., Vauxhall-Villiers, Invieta, Mercedils, Riley and E.R.A. ears in splendid detail. We learn of hitherto unknown laatters, such is his visit to Molsheim at. Ettore Bugatti’s request, Continental tours in Humphrey Cook’s ” :10/9s,” parties, road-testing, legal or otherwise of racing ears, ineladoig the 2-litre E.R.A.C), his road cars, and so on. NOT is Mays at all reticent in telling hfia, he seenreit financial Ina-king from many and varied sources. Indeed, he is, if anything, too frank about starting a project first and finding means of meeting the bills after they arrive.
We admire the industry which has gone into this, a very great book. The illustrations add greatly to its charm, although none of the A.C.s or MereNks appear. Nor. and this is a chronic modern short-coming, is there an index.