by Mike Lawrence, 256pp. 10 3/4″ x 8″. Aston Publications Limited, Bourne End House, Harvest Hill, Bourne End, Bucks. SL8 5JJ £17.95
This book has to be one of the best books on motor racing this reviewer has ever read. From the early days of the team’s formation right through to the near demise of the Group twenty years later, Mike Lawrence gives such an insight that the book could almost have been subtitled ‘Four Guys, the Fly on the Wall and a Telephone’. What makes this book quite so facinating, however, is the recounting of its formative years. Extensive conversations with Robin Herd and Max Mosley, two of the ‘gang of four’, have put the formation of March into perspective.
That Mike Lawrence has had access to private files and correspondence is obvious, but where others would have toiled their way through reams of paper and presented a dull story, the author’s wit and perceptive analytical style ensure the story is vivid and lively. The reader is drawn onto the next page, and then the next, simply to keep abreast of what key personnel of the company are up to.
While the good years are interesting, it must be said that the difficult periods they went through are even more absorbing. While the public perception of Robin Herd as a thrusting and successful entrepreneur and team manager is beyond doubt, it was only a few years ago that he could be found at Victoria Station early in the morning trying for a standby seat to New York, so short were the finances. It was also at this time, when Marches that were not Marches were running in Grands Prix, (so they had to be loaded didn’t they?) that Robin Herd was in daily contact with his bank manager who was looking for excuses for keeping the company going.
Parallel to the March racing cars are those of Lola and this aspect of production racing cars is also followed in some detail, as is the recent advent of Reynard, who successfully mopped up much of the March business.
Not only has Mike Lawrence produced a remarkable book, Aston Publications must be congratulated for enhancing the publication by locating the pictures, and they are all good, near to the text to which they are relevant.
Now in its second print, the book should not be overlooked by any motor racing enthusiast or by anyone who just enjoys a good read. WPK