Category Archives: Books

Two Titans

With Christmas 2016 upon us here are two books which any motorcycle racing enthusiast would like to find under the Christmas tree.

They say a picture paints a thousand words and these two photo-autobiographies “GIACOMO AGOSTINI A LIFE IN PICTURES” and “JOHN SURTEES MY INCREDIBLE LIFE ON TWO WHEELS AND FOUR” certainly do that.  Both are primarily photographic accounts of the lives of these two motor racing giants, beautifully presented on high quality glossy paper as hardback coffee table size publications.

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Agostini’s book is co-authored by Italian Mario Donnino , a long serving reporter for well known motorsport magazine Autosprint,  Donino’s  almost poetic narrative is combined with quotes provided by Agostini that reveal his highly competitive nature and a search for perfection in his racing.  This is hardly surprising for a man who has won eight 500cc (MotoGP) and seven 350cc World Championships accumulating along the way 122 Grand Prix victories.

It is the photographs however, most of which are from Agostini’s own collection, that enrich this book so much,  allowing the reader to look back in time to the late 1950’s and mid 1970”s, to an era considered to be “Golden” in the sport of Grand Prix motorcycle racing and sometimes also deadly to its participants. The photographs, such as the MV Agusta mechanics working in the factory workshop, and those of Giacomo socialising with his racing rivals are priceless.

Highly recommended.

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John Surtees’ book is co-authored by  well known journalist Mike Nicks who has contributed to specialist magazines such as MCN, Classic Bike among many others. The format is very similar to Agostini’s tome with the photographs accompanied by Surtee’s own description that gives an intimate voice to the book.

Surtees of course is the only man to ever win both the 500cc (MotoGP) World Championship (four times) and the F1 World Championship with Ferrari in 1964.  Surtees also won the inaugural CAN-AM series in 1966 and  later became an F1 car constructor in 1970 with his cars winning the European Formula 2 title with Mike Hailwood in 1972.  But these are just headlines of a long and enduring career and this book reveals so much more.

Highly recommended.

Royalties from “JOHN SURTEES MY INCREDIBLE LIFE ON TWO WHEELS AND FOUR” go to the  Henry Surtees Foundation which was set up to honour the memory of John’s son Henry, who was killed in a freak accident at Brands Hatch in 2009.

The above books are available from the Book Depository.

Review by Geoff Dawes (C) 2016

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Casey Stoner Pushing The Limits

For a large number of MotoGP followers, and in particular fans of Casey Stoner, his new autobiography (with Matthew Roberts), “Casey Stoner Pushing The Limits” subtitled ‘The controversial and explosive autobiography of a two-time World Moto GP Champion” holds very few surprises. Many of the events in Stoners career and early life have already been well documented in the media.9781409129219

But the book draws all the elements of Casey’s life together in a single volume that gives him the freedom to set the record straight after years muted media statements often due to the politics and pressure of the MotoGP paddock.  Stoner does not like being in the public spotlight and has found it difficult to fit the “Superstar” persona that the commercialised sports owners, Dorna, and the ensuing and often frenzied media pack try to demand.

Casey’s early life and his  love of motorcycles and racing is intriguing, and it’s clear that his upbringing played such an important part in shaping his career

However, the greatest revelation, I personally found, was his reasons for leaving Australia to compete overseas.  Although forced upon him, it was this decision that set Casey and his parents on the long and hard road to success.

“Casey Stoner Pushing The Limits” is well worth reading if you have little  or no knowledge of this great Champions career. For those who follow the sport, or are a Stoner fan, it will clear the muddied waters of MotoGP politics, revealing how incredibly special the talent of Casey Stoner is.

Highly recommended.  Available from the Book Depository in hardback or paperback.

Words Geoff Dawes (C) 2013.