Memory Lanes …rally tales (ISBN: 978-0-9558074-9-7)
MORE STORIES, MORE PICTURES FROM THE GOLDEN YEARS
This new 425 page, A4 sized volume is the last in the Memory Lanes series. The contents cover a wide variety of rally stories from the sixties and seventies and build upon the previous A5 Rally Tales books that have been produced annually over the last five years, including new stories and some 570 black and white photographs.
There are 53 stories in total embracing:
- tributes to John Bloxham, Supersport’s Jim Gavin and Castrol’s Roger Willis
- Chris Sclater’s 1971 Scottish rally wining Escort and its newly completed recreation
- Ford Corsairs (yes, Corsairs!) in rallying
- Bill Bengry’s marathon Cortina
- Tony Pond’s first gravel rally in his Cooper S
- Photographic study of “old school” servicing
– there are many additions within previous stories such as those covering Colin Malkin and Tony Fowkes, an assessment as to the speed of Malcolm Patrick’s Porsche Carrera on the 1973 Stocktonian rally and a fascinating account of two “forays” into continental rallying and their “interesting” results.
– and detailed accounts of:
- Kevin Gormley’s career as a freelance co-driver
- Martin Holmes’ sixty year rally career with tributes from around the world
- Bill Gwynne’s career from scrambles championship winner at the age of 16, his time as a road and stage rallying champion, to the founding of his innovative rally school and then his engineering and testing acivities with tributes from those who knew him best
- others including that of top road rallying navigator and professional co-driver Don Barrow and top photographer Hugh Bishop,
Memory Lanes …rally tales represents this fascinating period of rallying with classic rally pictures of the cars and events that made this period the Golden Years of rallying. It is a book aimed at the growing number of enthusiasts of this period, younger rally supporters who want to know what it is all about and for motorsport enthusiasts in general.
Mike May: Wonderful read
Peter Valentine: Just received my birthday present of a copy of Memory Lanes …rally tales and am already half way through reading it. Love the varied contents. Great book.
Kelvin Sparrowhawk: Very good book added to my collection
Greg Harrand: Had a quick flick through my copy, looks like another great job
John Cadwallader: Another brilliant book – a must add for your collections
Ken Davies (published on Retro Speed web site): The latest volume of Peter Robinson’s Memory Lanes…. rally tales series has just been released and the hexad of this popular double trilogy is possibly his best so far. Providing stories about rallying from the 1960s and 1970s, Peter’s latest high quality hard back provides 425 pages split into 53 fascinating chapters, each telling its own diverse rally tale and making it convenient for readers to dip in and out of the book at will. Packed with an impressive level of detail, the book also carries 570 atmospheric black and white images of cars, personalities and places, many not seen before.
Each story captures the true spirit of that iconic era with lots of ‘wing and a prayer’ and ‘David and Goliath’ stories, including the bog standard Peugeot 204 that successfully took on and beat the daunting RAC rally, the unlikely sport of caravan rallying, which perhaps mercifully enjoyed but a short life, and detailed biopics of some popular rally steeds of the period, such as Healey 3000, Escort Mexico, RS 1800, MGB, Cortina, Corsair and Anglia, Clan Crusader, Datsun 240Z and the rare Messerschmitt 4-wheel bubble car.
Among star names profiled are the irrepressible Tony Fowkes, Colin Malkin, Peter Valentine, Kevin Gormley, Tony Pond, Don Barrow and Bill Gwynne, who began as a successful motorcycle protagonist. Also featured are the various journalists who wrote under the famous pseudonym Verglas in Motoring News and, of course Martin Holmes, an integral part of motorsport for over 60 years. John Bloxham gets a chapter, as the versatile Midlands driver with enough natural talent to take a standard Fiat 125 from the showroom, win a Motoring News rally and return it to the showroom. Cal Withers is featured too as the resourceful Winsford breakers yard proprietor and respected entrant and driver mentor.
Among the events spotlighted are the Cilwendeg, Bolton and Welsh Marches rallies, together with internationals such as the Tour de France, rallying in Oman and the infamous Gulf Rally, which offered competitors – and artful dodgers – free fuel. Then there’s a series of images dedicated to old school servicing and another to classic rally clothes, featuring some well-known snappy dressers.
I’d originally intended to read only a few chapters to get the flavour of the book but, on starting, I found the contents so compelling I eventually hoovered up every single word. I even discovered two of my images taken at service in Llandrindod Wells on 1967 Rally of the Vales with Pentax and flash; Roy Fidler’s Triumph 2000 (page 19) and Alun Rees’ Cooper S (page 209), although the latter caption referred to Alun’s stylish sponsor and team manager, Geoff Thomas. Geoff, the genial proprietor of Grand Prix motor accessories in Swansea, was resplendent in white shirt and braces while checking the oil of Alun’s battle-scarred Mini, while sublimely marketing the Duckhams 20/50 oil brand, for which he was an agent.
This fascinating cornucopia of rally stories has already received complimentary comments from a number of rallying luminaries, some of whom feature within its pages. This is an unmissable book covering an iconic period in rallying history as well as being a thoroughly absorbing and entertaining read.
Chris Withers: An amazing book, such comprehensive coverage and such detail! It’s a brilliant book and you have recorded so much for posterity that might otherwise have been lost. Congratulations.
Peter Herbert: As someone who lived through the Golden Age of rallying that this volume covers as spectator, marshal, competitor and enthusiast it was a pleasure to read especially the sections about people, cars and teams I had heard of but knew little about.
John Pulleyn: The book is a wonderful read, really enjoying it. Great work Peter once again.
Ian Shapland (published in Old Stager): This fabulous book does exactly what it says on the cover. It is a wonderfully eclectic and fascinating collection of rally tales by Peter Robinson.
Peter’s first Memory Lanes (Revisited) covered British road rallying from 1970 to 1973. It was followed by … the Early Years (1966 to 1969) whilst the third book …the Beginning, covered 1961 to 1965. Five rally Tales followed.
Producing these books provided a huge amount of material and Peter has now compiled a fantastic collection of stories, event reports, profiles and simply interesting stories compiled in one impressive volume. The book contains 53 rally related stories, starting by looking at the Healey 3000’s success, or otherwise, in the early days of the Motoring News series. Then we are looking at Fidler’s exploits in the Group 1 Triumph 2000 which was returned to the factory and upgraded to prototype Group 6 spec for the 1967 RAC Rally….which, of course, was cancelled due to Foot and Mouth.
What was the longest stage on a British or National rally? The MGB, ubiquitous in current Historic rallying – how did it fair back in the day? MGBs bring thoughts of the late Derek Skinner – he of the pale blue B and bowler hat. John Barnes amazing exploits in a practically standard Peugeot 204 on the 968 RAC Rally, finishing sixth overall after a punishing 2,500 miles with 87 stages.
Some of the stories Peter has already published in his annual books but he has re-written then adding new information.
Many of the tales are hilarious and Peter muses about classic rally clothes of the period – tweed jackets, ties and pullovers as well as the Scandinavian influence of fur hats, and odd hats in general.
Individuals are covered such as Tony Fowkes, Colin Malkin, Hugh Bishop, Bill Gwynne, Martin Holmes, Don Barrow amongst others. The Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 of Harold Morley and some interesting reflections on their relative values compared with an Escort then and today!
Almost every subject is covered – there is an entire chapter on Clans and Alan Conley with Martin Holmes as well as musing upon the various models that made up the backbone of rallying in the various periods. It makes one reflect on the amazingly rapid development during this golden period – look how the Ford Anglia started out in 1959 as a 997cc, developing through the Allardettes with their Shorrock supercharger mated to a 1340cc 109E block during 1961/2 then the Cortina GT motors being dropped in in late 1962 keeping the little Anglia going until 1971 although Peter illustrates that only a couple of Anglias were really competitive by 1965. However, the point is the very small window for each “era”.
Absolutely fascinating stuff, well laid out with some 575 photos, many previously unpublished. If you were only going to buy one book on rallying, this ought to be the one to buy.