NEW VERSION NOW AVAILABLE (December 2018), 10 years after original release.
Memory Lanes ….revisited? (ISBN 978-0-9558074-3-5)
This is a book covering all of the 1970 – 1973 Motoring News rally Championship.
Initially the book replaced the original Memory Lanes, first issued in 2008, and contained over 440 pages encompassing over 175 photographs as well as roadbooks and additional special features. Nearly every rally report then had a copy of the cover of either the entry form, regs., supplementary regs. or results documents. The special features included appendices covering Pace Notes, the mysterious “Ecurie Cod Fillet” and the Withers of Winsford company, a stalwart supporter of rallying in the period covered by the book.
Memory Lanes …revisited includes lists covering each of the 57 rallies involved detailing either entries, starters or results. The majority of these include (by popular request!)the registration numbers of the entered cars wherever possible.
Memory Lanes ….revisited was itself “revisited” in November 2015 and that edition included any corrections, additions and deletions that the author had been made aware of since its original release.
Memory Lanes ….revisited (new reprint December 2018) This book is now available in a new hard copy format (ie. still sewn binding but without a paper jacket and no longer cloth bound). A new print supplier has been used which has resulted in a much improved reproduction of its many black and white photographs. It also includes an additional appendix about the late Hugh Bishop, one of the world’s top rallying photographers who was responsible for so many of the images in this book.
Such has been the success of this book that this is its fifth reprint!
Memory Lanes …revisited (in proof form) was subjected to reviews by the Motoring Press back in 2011 and here are a few of those:
Motorsport News: first published in 2008, Peter Robinson’s Memory Lanes was an enthralling history of the Motoring News Rally Championship from 1970 – 1973. For those interested in road rallying it was hard to put down – and Robinson evidently found the same. Instead of basking in the glory of a job well done, in the four years since he has done a lot more research, which he has packed into Memory Lanes …revisited. The revised edition has an extra 65 pages and lots more excerpts from event publications. It has new appendices covering Ecurie Cod Fillet and notable rally sponsor Withers of Winsford. The event-by-event format remains, with detailed accounts of every MN road rally from the four years the book covers. It mixes factual reportage with anecdotes and amazing detail. For anyone interested in road rallying history this book is an absolute treat.
Autosport: as labours of love go, this painstakingly detailed, self-published tome is king. Peter Robinson’s memories of the Motoring News Rally Championship of the early 70s are rich, varied and astonishingly detailed. If you competed or spectated during that golden era you’ll love this book.
Octane: this self-publishing softback is low on flash but it is a great read. Now in it’s second print run it takes in the many events (about 60-odd) that comprised the Motoring News Championships of 1970 – 1973. And you get a blow by blow account of each meeting, plus comprehensive results tables, but also insights from drivers, navigators, organisers and hacks. You will also learn the origins of Ecurie Cod Fillet and marvel at Andy Dawson taking a Clan Crusader to second place overall on theInternational Manx Rally in 1972
Mini Cooper Register: this revisited edition is, as it says, a revisit of the book by the same name printed in March 2008. All of the good things about that book still apply, only now its even better. Enlarged by 120 pages to some 442 this is a big book. The revisit also boasts another 65 photos and a dozen extra roadbooks of those fabulous Motoring News rallies, which many of us still mourn the passing of to this very day. To top that, most of the 57 rallies covered also have a full entry list or results sheet with, in many cases, the number plates of the competitors cars. An anoraks delight.
The forward to the book is written by Peter Valentine, an MCR member, who was a very successful navigator on many of these 250 mile, pre-plotted, road races and his anecdotal experience recalling the huge speeds needed in their ex-Works Datsun 240Z, just to keep to the very tight time schedule, is enlightening. Written from first hand experience by the author, who competed in the Motoring News series as both a driver and navigator, the book covers Motoring News rallies from 1970 to 1973. Supplemented by nearly 300 black and white photographs, many from the archives of Ted Walker (Ferret Photographic), the reports from each event are not reprints of the contemporary Motoring News published reports but are a review by the author of the rally. Drawn from those original reports, the flavour of road rallying from these great days is superbly captured.
The black and white photographs sadly are of inferior quality to the first edition (Editor’s note: the review was based on an initial proof version of the paperback), but perhaps may be better in the more expensive hard back or collectors edition but not for this soft bound edition. None the less its great to see contemporary photos of big arched Escorts with a blaze of lights on the front, sliding round a Welsh hairpin with crowds of spectators – it captures it all.
This edition, with the addition of the entry lists or results does make compelling reading – name spotting those who cut their teeth on MN rallies, who were destined for greater things (sadly not me!). The route maps of some of the rounds, together with full road books, should fill a good few winter evenings, should you wish to plot one of the routes yourself!
This book is a must, even if you have the first edition, because it adds so much more. The book is a celebration of the days when road rallying was at its peak and the Motoring News Championship was the pinnacle. We wont see those days again nor will we see rallying like this on public roads. If you were there or just wished you had been, buy this book and wallow in what was the best of road rallying. A must have book for those with proper road rallying in their blood.(Robert Young)
Old Stager: The contribution to the general world of rallying from the Motoring News Championship was simply immense – and it was the premier breeding ground of many drivers and the navigator’s seat likewise.
The book Memory Lanes by Peter Robinson, with a graphic description of what it was like to take a full-house Datsun 240Z on slicks through the lanes on a tight section only to be told that “you’re late” at the next Time Control, makes vivid reading and the painstaking work of checking the facts and results from Motoring News articles of the time made this a massive labour of love.
Now there is a second edition. The first covering 1970, ’71, ’72 and ’73 caused many readers to say “having whet our appetites, is there a follow up?” So Peter Robinson, with many photos from Ted Walker, started fresh research. Memory Lanes …revisited tackles 57 Motoring News rallies from around the country, with lots of pictures and “period” paperwork, lists of competitors showing their cars and registration numbers.
The Introduction says Memory Lanes …revisited “provides a permanent record of a period and type of motorsport that can never again be replicated, at a time when all who were involved were wondering not only how, but if, this particular branch of motor sport could continue”. This then is a book of record that shows the roots of a kind of motorsport that still flourishes in some parts of the UK.
“No-one who missed those years can imagine how crazy were the Sunday dawns sleeping completely exhausted on the floors, chairs or stairs of various UK hostelries throughout the country whilst a hardened group of organisers produced results and argued for hours with our weary protesting navigators about disputed dropped minutes and wrong direction Fails” says Harold Morley in the Introduction. Peter Valentine rattles off some stirring words at the beginning of the book – he competed from ’64 to ’75 and rates the years ’65 to ’78 as the golden years when the MN Championship was regarded by most as a national championship to equal or exceed the RAC Rally Championship.
Drivers like Russell Brookes, Terry Kaby, Barrie Williams, Colin Malkin, Andy Dawson, Chris Lovell, Tony Pond and Graham Elsmore all went on to great drives on International rallies. Navigators from Ron Crellin, Dave Richards, John Brown, Tony Mason, Don Barrow, Neil Wilson, Martin Holmes, Paul White, Ian Grinrod, Rob Arthur, Fred Gallagher, Phil Short, John Jenson and more did likewise. So a “journal of record” such as this is long overdue – a brilliant read with some marvellous photos. The shots of Mick Briant in collar and tie two wheeling his Escort gave the reviewer a smile.
Since the original release of Memory Lanes there have been very many kind and supportive comments made about it by people who “know what they are talking about”. For those who have not seen the original book, here are some of those comments:
John Brown (Navigator, Co-driver, RAC rally winner and event organiser). I was delighted to receive my copy of Memory Lanes yesterday. It certainly did bring back many happy memories. Congratulations on a truly magnificent achievement which will stand as a monument to all the long hours and years of work that must have gone into it. I shall enjoy reading it from cover to cover now, dipping into it thereafter for probably the rest of my life.
Neil Molyneux (2300 Club and Tour of Mull organiser). Wonderful! Congratulations on a fantastic achievement. I am reading my copy and am enjoying nostalgia immensely. I hope you sell a million!!
Russell Brookes (MN competitor, Works driver and British rally champion). An extrordinary book – what memories it brings back! My favourite picture is on page 85. Fancy rallying in a woolly cardigan and a button-up shirt. Bit eccentric even then! Well done.
Peter Joy (long time rally competitor). Great book, well worth the wait.
Matt Burt (then editor of MotorSport News). ….congratulations! I haven’t had time for more than a cursory leaf through so far, but it looks excellent and I am stunned by how much information is in there.
Tony Pettie (long time active rally navigator and co-driver). No dry encyclopedic document nor bland reprint of Motoring News reports. This is a live account of the end of an amazing era (looking back) from a writer who not only regularly competed but is passionately interested in the sport. Each rally is reported afresh with additional information gleaned more recently from competitors, organisers and sponsors. “Hindsight is wonderful” and no more so than here where the bland, almost biased, news reports of the time are refreshed and put into context with knowledge acquired soon and long after. Results of every rally with entry lists, route cards, reprints of maps and additional information of classic sections, cars and crews. You can smell the hot mud in the many, many photographs of not only the fast and famous but also from the majority of those whose only claim was to have taken part. Even the Gnome is here. Probably not to be read through, but more endlessly dipped into, this book is hard to put down and caused a longing to recreate those days. As Peter Valentine’s introduction ends “it was all just so much fun”. If only we could again!
Mike Greasley (ex MN staffer, contributor and “demi-Verglas). You have done an excellent job and it brought back many memories of covering the 73 Championship as MN staffer and “demi-Verglas” (ie. no 2 to Gerry Phillips). Happy days. I hope the book gets the sales and interest it thoroughly deserves.
Peter Callow (past MN competitor now living in NZ). I am enjoying immensely reading ML. It sure stirred up many memories and maybe controversies too, as witness the fascinating emails flying back and forth. Great fun. For people such as myself who did only a few of these superb events, the book fills in so much of the richness and quality of the MN Championship as a whole that the occasional competitor did not appreciate at the time.
Nigel Raeburn (top MN navigator and current historic competitor and organiser). Many congratulations on such a fine product. Thanks too for the mention in the Intro.. Well done.
Colin Francis OBE (top MN navigator and current historic competitor). I have just started looking at ML. It is superb. Excellently written and illustrating a lot of knowledge.
Monty Peters (MN competitor in both left and right hand seats). Received ML. Thanks very much. Haven’t been able to put it down. Excellent book full of pure nostalgia. Congratulations on putting together a record of those “heady days”. It is hard to believe in these modern, strangulated times, that we were ever allowed to race around the country lanes of the UK.
The above are just a few of the many people who kindly sent unsolicitated emails saying how much they enjoyed the original Memory Lanes. I always believed after the book was published that there would have to be a second edition. Final edit and production problems and the need to “get it to the market” resulted in the initial product being less than perfect and feedback as to what people felt was missing from the book was always going to be a spur for a Mk II! Well, now, I hope all of these problems have been addressed.
Following the initial release of Memory Lanes in 2008, its replacement, Memory Lanes ….revisited has had featured on its front cover, a nightime shot of two Escorts and a Mini Cooper descending the same hill as that depicted on the original book. I felt that this new cover was more in keeping with the content – ie. night time rallying. The rear cover is a long, timed exposure of these same three cars further descending Hirnant (in the direction of Bala) taken by experienced professional photographer Rob Formstone (copyright fpnw.com)
Copies of these images and others from the original shoot are also available through this web site.
Please note that the p & p price for the hard back version of Memory Lanes is for packaging and shipping, but ONLY to Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Please enquire via the Contact Us form about International shipping costs.