Motor Racing Heroes – The Stories of 100 Greats by Robert J Newman

Filed under: Classic News,Product Reviews |
Motor Racing heroes cover100 great heroes covering 100 years in 384 pages without a single photograph or diagram, sounds like a long read doesn’t it? Fear not, I doubt you will want to take a break from Robert Newman’s fascinating work; if a desperate situation occurs and you must, then by stopping at the next driver you can’t lose the gist of the story, each heroic driver has their own. With detailed and in depth backgrounds covering the early gentlemen Grand Prix racers through to the new millenniums super-fit F1 pilots, this book is an education. What will shock the reader is the loss of life that has always surrounded the sport especially in its infancy, with their lives and backgrounds filled in it’s not so easy to read on overlooking the fact that each of these young characters were real, many too brave for their own good. What the author is able to achieve is to engage the reader in each of these heroes stories, their lives prior to their racing days, their career and if lucky post motor racing. Detailed explanations of races and the machines, the opposition and the results all achieved with great writing. Never boring with plenty of wit Robert Newman takes you on a racing journey through each individual driver’s eyes; often these names appear in another hero’s story as you move back and forth through the decades. Newman has been around motorsport at the highest level most of his life.  His introduction is impressive, not many people got to ‘hang-out’ with Fangio in Monte Carlo and then translate the Argentinians speech at his 80th birthday celebrations at London’s Dorchester in front of the massed ranks of the great and good of motor sport. His research and attention to detail is a most important aspect of his writing; no matter how much you think you know about certain drivers from the past, you will learn plenty more in this book. A typical example is the brilliant yet precise story of Sir Henry Seagrave; WW1 wounded in the trenches, first Britain to finish a Grand Prix, first Britain to win a Grand Prix, Land Speed Record holder, killed setting the Water Speed Record at just 33. Seagrave follows the story of Richard Seaman, multiple GP winner in less competitive machines earned him a call from Alfred Neubauer, then annoyed the Nazi’s by winning their GP at the ‘Ring’ in a Mercedes. Married the daughter of the boss at BMW then sadly killed at Spa aged just 26. These and 98 other heroes’ stories are detailed with consideration and precision. This book is not a belly laugh or a ‘rom-com’. If your interests lie exclusively in the current F1 scene then educate yourself and for those of us who appreciate motorsport history, Robert Newman has put together a great read. Pros: Superbly written, also impress your mates with your vast knowledge of racing drivers from every decade and win every motorsport pub quiz for the next 10 years. Cons: Images of pre-war Grand Prix racers such as Helene Nice sideways in her Bugatti Type 35 or ‘our Nige’ passing Nelson Piquet at Silverstone in 87 would have made a great addition. Highly Recommended Motor Racing Heroes-The stories of 100 greats by Robert J Newman Veloce Publishing Ltd ISBN 978-1-845847-48-7 Price £19.99