Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
The Tragic Story of Percy Dunn
The Internationale 1980
Your Feedback
1961 Midland Riders
The Internationale 1979
2019 Rankings - And Finally
The Internationale 1978
Your Feedback
2019 Rankings - Rest of the World
The Internationale 1977
Your Feedback
2019 Rankings - Great Britain
The Internationale 1976
Plus Points
Your Feedback
2019 Rankings - Under 21s
The Internationale 1975
Your Feedback
2019 World Rankings
The Internationale 1974
Your Feedback
Cordy Milne
The Internationale 1973
Your Feedback
DVD Review: World Finals 90s
The Internationale 1972
Your Feedback
Jean Landru
The Internationale 1971
The Harringay Riots
The Internationale 1970
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Speedway Scroll Cuts
The Internationale 1969
Celebration 2020 Report
Your Feedback
Len Read
The Internationale 1968
Your Feedback
Celebration of Speedway
The Internationale 1967
Your Feedback
Manuel Trujillo
The Internationale 1966
Plus Points
Your Feedback
My First Sporting Hero
The Internationale 1965
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Max Grosskreutz Controversy
The Internationale 1964
Your Feedback
The Internationale 1961
The Internationale 1962
The Internationale 1963

Book Review: Speedway at Full Throttle

Those great speedway historians Chaplin and Somerville are back with another of their beautiful hard-backed love letters to speedway.

"Speedway at Full Throttle" combines the words of John Chaplin with pictures from John Somerville's unrivalled collection of speedway images. The pair regularly contribute to Speedway Star magazine via their "Museum Piece" column, which is the inspiration for this book.

The book features 57 chapters, each on a different speedway subject or rider, with a beautiful epilogue in tribute to Dave Lanning completing the work. The whole book is dedicated to Lanning, who passed away last year and who is described here as "The Voice of Speedway".

The chapters vary in length, some spanning many pages and others just a single page. The format works well, allowing many short (and often humorous) stories to be intertwined with more detailed character studies of some of the sport's biggest names.

Although the focus is primarily on the Pre-British League era, there's plenty of more modern content included also - Dennis Sigalos, Peter Collins and Bruce Penhall rub shoulders with the likes of Smiling Jim Kempster, Ron Johnson and Ken McKinlay.

It's very much a celebration of the sport, picking out great characters and stories from through the years and Chaplin's writing breathes fresh life into some long forgotten tales. One suspects that Chaplin knew many of his subjects personally and was eye-witness to most of the incidents described in the book. This certainly isn't a book that simply regurgitates hoary old anecdotes, it's written from the head and from the heart, probably without any great need to refer to other sources.

The dark side of the sport is touched on with a chapter dedicated to American rider Ernie Roccio who was killed in a track crash at West Ham in 1952.

One of the most interesting chapters actually relates to a rider who didn't make a huge mark on the sport at all - Russell Paine. Russell was a journeyman rider himself but has spent recent years trying to help others to get into the racing side of the sport. This included a determined attempt to open a new track in Spain and the tales he shares of those times are incredible.

Chaplin's prose would make a great book in itself, but mixing it with pictures from the John Somerville Collection lifts this production to another level. Hundreds of beautifully reproduced black and white images fill the pages, generally captioned with some interesting little nugget of information.

There's a good chance your local book shop will have this in stock. If you're not able to find it (or just prefer to have things delivered directly) then it can be ordered from Halsgrove Publishing for £19.99.

Halsgrove Publishing - Speedway at Full Throttle

Or call them on 01823 653 777


This article was first published on 14th November 2017

[ Use Mobile Version ]


Comment on this Article | Contact Us | Go Back to Main Menu

   Please leave your comments on this article or on the site as a whole