Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
DVD Review: 70s - A to Z
Your Feedback
Why is it in decline?
Plus Points
Dream Team: Garry Robinson
The Golden Hammer - 1996
Your Feedback
Raking Over Old Coals
The Golden Hammer - 1995
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Ode to Brough Park
The Golden Hammer - 1994
Which Craven?
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Ivan Miller
The Golden Hammer - 1993
Your Feedback
Generator - Prem Pairs
The Golden Hammer - 1992
As The Crow Flies
The Golden Hammer - 1991
Generator - Danish League
The Golden Hammer - 1990
Your Feedback
Oxford's Minor Miracle
The Golden Hammer - 1989
The Golden Hammer - 1986
The Golden Hammer - 1987
The Golden Hammer - 1988
The Golden Hammer - 1983
The Golden Hammer - 1984
The Golden Hammer - 1985
Plus Points
Your Feedback
The Golden Hammer - 1980
The Golden Hammer - 1981
The Golden Hammer - 1982
Plus Points
Your Feedback
The Golden Hammer - 1977
The Golden Hammer - 1978
The Golden Hammer - 1979
Plus Points
Your Feedback
The Speedway Bike
Your Feedback
45 Years a Racer
Your Feedback
DVD: Sheffield Memories
Your Feedback
Ronnie's Newcastle Nightmare
Plus Points
Book Review: Where Eagles Dared
The Cheetahs Are Back!
Your Feedback
King's Lynn - Part Four
Track Pix: Redcar
Your Feedback
DVD Review: Hans Nielsen
Track Pix: Sheffield
Your Feedback
Artem Laguta
Track Pix: Birmingham
Your Feedback
King's Lynn - Part Three
KENT - Central Park
Your Feedback
Book Review: Yearbook 2020
Track Pix: Peterborough
Your Feedback
Ian Hoskins Tribute
Ian Hoskins Tribute
Your Feedback
Speedway's Black Hole
Track Pix: Mildenhall
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Kirky Lane Demolition
Cinder Kings Exhibition
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Aussies at Ipswich - 1
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Steve Langton Strikes Gold
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Book Review: Split Waterman
Your Feedback
King's Lynn - Part 2
Your Feedback
Irish Eyes Were Smiling
Plus Points
Your Feedback
King's Lynn - Part 1
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Speedway in Germany 1933
Dream Team : Kevin Huggett
Plus Points
Your Feedback
The Bill Allen Mystery
Your Feedback
The Ipswich Witches
The Danger of Winning
Your Feedback
Australia 70/71
Canterbury Noise Trials
Your Feedback

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