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By Nicholas Pettitt
(Veloce Publishing - £14.99 - $29.95) 92 pages
As you peruse the pages of this month’s delectable DRO, you may have noticed a theme pervading. No, it’s not the regrettable consequences of the Burkster indulging in a pair of foot longs with chili and cheese (though there is that too). Rather, it’s a loving look at drag racing around the world. It doesn’t matter what continent you’re on, we all speak the same language on the quarter mile. It seems appropriate then that our book review this month takes us across the pond to examine the birth of drag racing in jolly old England.
The evocatively titled British Drag Racing - The Early Years covers pretty much what it sounds like, focusing on the time frame of 1960 through ’69. The book hits the high points: First home grown dragster in the eights, international match races, the usual, but it illustrates the action with a great selection of photos, many of them from the archives of DRO’s own Mike Collins. (You may have read a little piece he working on about Harlan Thompson?). Although many of the names like Allard, Rex Sluggett, and Tony Densham may be unfamiliar to American ears, they were as much pioneers as Big Daddy, Wally Parks, or Tommy Ivo. The prose is plain but good, doing an excellent job of capturing the excitement and possibilities of this new sport.
If there’s one complaint to be made, it’s about length. Actually, that’s not fair. It’s not that the book is too short (in fact, it’s a remarkably satisfying read, and one that doesn’t linger long enough to wear out its welcome), it’s just that if you find it on the shelves anywhere in North America, it’s going to be sporting a price more in line with much thicker and sturdier hardback offerings.
The exchange rate can be a real pain.
Still, if you can find it on the cheap (or you’re reading this from over there), this is a worthy read, and is well worth your time and money.
Buy it from Amazon.com.