by Jack Barlow
2022 review by Guy Loveridge
When a book is released, and a review copy lands on the door mat, I am always excited. When it deals with a figure from an era which is at the centre of my interest in motor racing, I get really excited. When I read and find numerous errors, mistakes, omissions and mis-statements, I find myself wondering why I bothered?
This title had the chance to really do justice to a hugely talented driver, whose career is overshadowed by one event, in which he was a major, though unwitting, player. Instead that chance is massively overshadowed by quite a catalogue of issues that leap off the page. In the first photograph section one image has the comment “second place Froilan Gonzales chats to someone in the middle of the frame” – that someone is Fangio!?! Later in the same section we have a shot of Lance taking a close look at his HWM. The author identifies John Heath and Duncan Hamilton, fair enough, but neglects to mention the figure joining Lance in a close look at his engine is co-owner and team leader George Abecassis! A pretty significant figure in the career of an HWM and Aston works driver…
It also rankles that the author refers to Pierre Levegh having raced in his “little” Talbot” in “Formula 2” races. At four and a half litres the Talbot Lago T26C was the largest car on the grids in the post war years, and most assuredly a Formula One mount. That the author is not from the UK is made painfully obvious by him feeling that he should place names in a national context – a familiar name has “England” placed after it a number of times. There are a few places where the use of a thesaurus would have been welcomed: “… found himself in the most ferocious MGB flotilla of the lot, the ferocious 6th MGB Flotilla”. My last comment on the style is one of clarity and understanding – “Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt taking a famous victory in their C-Type….Behind them was Moss and Walker, also in a C-Type, ahead of the American duo of Phil Walters and John Fitch in the Cunningham. Another C-Type, that of Peter Whitehead and Ian Stewart, was third”. No, Whitehead and Stewart were, of course, 4th… In short some more rigorous editing could/should have been applied to this title before any ink hit the page.
For the comparatively low cover price of £20 this book is “ok”. If that reads as my damning it with faint praise, well you are probably right. That I was hugely disappointed should be clear. I am left presuming that I am not the target market – its small format and small text size would reinforce that but I am forced to ask – if the intended market is NOT me – a middle aged enthusiast of the 1950s motor racing scene, then who on earth is it aimed at?
Publisher: Veloce. www.veloce.co.uk
Description: 216 pages, Hardback, 13 x 19.8cm. 40 pictures.
ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-787117-87-7.