Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Spannerman's Tale

Maybe it's old age but even today's stars seem less interesting than the spannermen of the 1950s. I doubt for example if Button or Hamilton will ever inspire a volume as good as the 1957 autobiography (as told to Peter Lewis) Alf Francis, Racing Mechanic.

Someone who figured prominently in that book was Alf's youthful protege Tony Robinson. Now, getting on for 60 years after he first worked with the Polish-born Francis, we're promised an autobiography of Robinson himself (as told to Ian Wagstaff).

No doubt tales of Stirling Moss will dominate but hopefully Innes Ireland will get a look-in, Robinson was chief mechanic with the BRP team when the Scotsman led them on the track in 1962, 1963 and 1964. You can watch the pair around the 0.54 mark in this rather wonderful footage as Innes explains to a patient Tony how he's just bent the car.

Will it match up to the Francis book? With a promised 160 pages and 120 photographs compared to the dense, 300 plus information packed pages of the 1950s page-turner it's doubtful. But at least it's not another Hamilton bio.

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