John Surtees: My Incredible Life on Two and Four Wheels

John Surtees: My Incredible Life on Two and Four Wheels

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) John Surtees, By (author) Mike Nicks

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  • Publisher: Evro Publishing
  • Format: Hardback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 248mm x 302mm x 26mm | 2,040g
  • Publication date: 15 September 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Sherborne
  • ISBN 10: 0992820928
  • ISBN 13: 9780992820923
  • Illustrations note: 275
  • Sales rank: 100,219

Product description

This long-awaited book is a photographic memoir by the only man to have won World Championships on motorcycles and in cars. Containing nearly 300 photographs from Surtees' own collection as well as from the world's finest motorsport picture libraries, this major book presents a complete visual record of Surtees' life accompanied by fascinating commentary written in collaboration with co-author Mike Nicks. Chapters of particular interest are those covering Surtees's formative years and the extraordinary 1960 season in which he raced both motorcycles and cars, winning two World Championships on MV Agusta bikes as well as taking second place for Lotus in the British GP, which was only his second Formula 1 race. Royalties from sales of the book will go to the Henry Surtees Foundation, which was set up to honour the memory of John's son Henry, who was killed in a freak accident at Brands Hatch in 2009.- The early years (up to 1952): a childhood around motorcycle racing, apprenticeship with Vincent, then racing a Vincent Grey Flash.- Getting established (1953-55): Moving on to ride mainly Manx Nortons, he did 86 races in one year, and in 1955 achieved his first grand prix win, in the 250cc Ulster GP on an NSU.- The glory years (1956-60): dominating top-level motorcycle racing for five years with Italian team MV Agusta, taking seven World Championship titles on 500cc and 350cc bikes.- The remarkable year of bikes and cars (1960): overlapping his last year of motorcycle racing with 17 car races, including four F1 World Championship events.- Ferrari driver (1963-66): established in cars, he joined Ferrari, winning his first race a the Sebring 12 Hours for sports cars a and the following year becoming F1 World Champion.- Can-Am champion (1966): after recovery from a huge crash in a Lola T70 sports car and acrimonious departure from Ferrari, he bounced back in North America to win the spectacular Can-Am series.- Turning Japanese (1967-68): Honda invited Surtees to develop and drive its F1 cars for two years, with victory in the Italian GP at Monza the highlight.- Becoming a constructor (1969-78): going into single-seater racing, including F1, with Team Surtees and cars of his own manufacture; Mike Hailwood won the European F2 Championship in 1972.- The latter years (1978 onwards): fully active on the historic scene as a restorer and driver of motorcycles and cars, then nurturing son Henry's career until the tragic accident."Royal Automobile Club shortlist of contenders for Motoring Book of the Year!""

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Author information

Mike Nicks is a prolific journalist and author who has edited the British publications "Bike," "Classic Bike," "Classic Racer," "Motor Cycle News" and "Classic Car Weekly." In the USA he has worked on "Motor Trend," " Motorcyclist" and "Circle Track" magazines. He has also written on cars, motorcycles, languages and business for the "Guardian," "Observer," "Independent," "Times," " Sunday Times" and "Daily""Telegraph" newspapers in London. He has known John Surtees since the 1980s, when their shared passions for matters on both two and four wheels ensured a continuing friendship.Valentino Rossi was born on February 16, 1979, in Urbino, Italy. He won his first motorcycle grand prix race at the age of 17, his first world title at 18, and his first MotoGP championship at 22. He currently rides for Yamaha, and his main residence is in central London.

Customer reviews

By Barry allsop 21 Jun 2014 5

John Surtees, Mike Nicks and the publishers EVRO have done a wonderful job with this publication. It takes the reader on a journey with the Surtees family from a very young Surtees with Dad's borrowed leathers, through his motorcycle racing days, car racing years, car constructor and Team Surtees, to the tragic death of his son Henry in 2009, aged 18. With superb photographs, many from John's own collection, it's like looking through a personal family album. You can hear the sounds of Manx Nortons and four cylinder MVs from the 50s and 60s and there's a smell of Castrol R in the air. All those nostalgic memories from a different era come flooding back with every page turn.

With Royalties from this book going to the Henry Surtees Foundation, which assists people with brain or physical injuries caused by accident, it makes a very worthwhile purchase. An incredible present for any two or four wheel enthusiast.
Barry.

Review quote

"John Surtees is way, way, before my time. He retired from racing nearly before I was born, but his legacy as the only man to have won the 500cc Grand Prix (MotoGP) title and the F1 car world championship ever in history means he remains relevant even today. Maybe more relevant than ever.He's written at least two previous autobiographies, but this one, published by the same people who now do Julian's MotoGP Season Review, is basically a large photo book with in-depth captions written by Surtees. It's fantastic. The photo reproductions--most of them in black and white--are beautiful.I was relieved to see that Surtees' career in bike racing filled nearly half of the book, because my initial fear when seeing the tome was that bikes would be framed as just a series of steps that led him to "real" racing, in F1 and other forms of racing door-slammers. Instead, Surtees gives his life in motorcycle racing full due, and I found the photos and text fascinating. Surtees raced GP when the Norton Manx and those incredible old dustbin-fairing bikes, which looked like two-wheeled jets, filled the grid. When there were no rain tires or even straw bales in places. His memories are pure treasure.Valentino Rossi writes the forward for this Surtees book. Although his short introductory text reads like it was "phoned in," just that it exists is important enough. You see, Valentino doesn't really give away his old helmets and he doesn't really write forwards to books. But he grew up as an F1 junkie so Rossi certainly knows the impact and accomplishment of Mr. John Surtees.For me, this book had 'I didn't know that' moments every few pages. I was glad to add it to my bookshelf." - "SuperbikePlanet.com"