First things first, whether or not this book was any good I would still be suggesting that you buy a copy, for several reasons:
Firstly if you are reading this you are a dailysportscar reader, you like the style of what we do and specifically, the subject matter. The author here Malcolm Cracknell defined all of that, and much more besides, his back story is given in the book too.
Secondly, this is an entirely unique piece, its style screams ‘Malcolm’ and the perhaps odd mix of fact, fiction, racing tales, blindingly obvious remade real people and events speak long and loud about Malc’s preferred way of doing things when sensitivities have to be managed.
Thirdly, it features characters and events, that will be immediately familiar to those of us interested in the sport that are of a certain age.
And finally, Malc has put his heart and soul into this piece, and it deserves to be read.
I don’t though have to make a judgement about whether to ignore the quality of the piece because, like most everything that I can ever recall Malcolm writing, it’s style, rhythm and content make it a thoroughly engaging tale.
The book centres around the semi-fictional events of the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours, the build-up to, and events of, that race told through the experiences of a plucky independent team and their Race Engineer and ‘engine man’.
It features stylised versions of several familiar personalities, not so loosely based around a team with which Malcolm was remarkably familiar within the mid-1990s.
To ease his transition from teaching into full-time sportscar racing journalism, Malcolm took a part-time job assisting Laurence and Fiona Pearce’s Lister Storm Racing squad, travelling the UK picking up parts, and also wrangling the team’s enormous RV.
Much of (but not all) the background story, was formed in those days, liberally sprinkled with other motorsport tales from a variety of other racing mates, all of whom feature in the not-so-very carefully disguised form here too.
Think Andy Wallace, James Weaver, Malc’s much-missed pal Allan Simonsen and several more too.
If you have ever been fortunate enough to be part of a conversation with Malcolm in a paddock, together with the inevitable gathering of racing notables that always congregated at such moments, you’ll be familiar with the style of laugh out loud stuff that inevitably arose, that too is here in abundance.
Many of the actual stories that form the ‘moments’ in the narrative are told in full in an unmissable appendix to the book too, and notably several of the individuals featured both gave their approval for their identities to be mangled, and for their parts in the piece, indeed several were at a joyful launch for the book last month at Brands Hatch.
I picked it up to read over a week away with the family, and got into trouble with the lovely Trudie because I wouldn’t put it down again until I’d finished it! This is NOT going to win the Booker Prize, but then again the last two books I bought that did were all but unreadable, this, for an audience that loves the sport, is a proper page-turner!
This is an enthusiasts tale, a book with enough anorak-type detail to delight a real endurance racing fan whilst entertaining with a tale that we’d all love to think might have happened for real. Buy it, buy one for a friend that you go racing with too, and buy another for someone you think might like to go racing!
Of course, recommended!
Place your £10 orders HERE. Money well spent.