Images of Shelsley

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Images of Shelsley, edited by Robert Cooper. Midland AC, £10, inc p & p.

To recognise the 90th year of the famous and respected hill-climbs at Shelsley Walsh the Midland AC has published a most appealing collection of photographs of these events, starting with Birtwhistle’s big Daimler at the first meeting on August 1905 and ending with one depicting David Grice getting his Pilbeam-MP58 up the 1000-yard twisting gradient in 36.17 seconds in August 1994.

In all, there are 88 of these splendid pictures, almost all action shots, and although many of the earlier photographs have been published elsewhere, it is a great treat to have them decently enlarged. They are black-and-white, but the front and back covers of the 97-page book have fine colour studies of Ken Wharton’s ERA R4D and Ian Fidoe’s Lola 1492 on the hill. In addition, the records and FTDs from 1905 to September 1994 are listed on four pages of tables. These show that the hill-record was raised from 77.6 sec in 1905 to 25.?4 sec by 1992. The only grumble I have is that Joseph Higginson’s prototype 30/98 Vauxhall is shown as making FTD in 1913 in 55.2 sec, whereas this time was clocked on a third ascent not officially recognised. Higginson had tied that day with Leslie Hands and his 25hp Talbot for a record climb in 57.2 sec, neither of which is recorded.

Don’t let this put you off! The pictures have come out splendidly on art paper, and motorcycles are included, one shot showing DSJ on his 650cc Tribsa in 1990 — he contributes the book’s Foreword. Very enjoyable! W B

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