Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Racing In The Rain - John Horsman

I have resolved to spend more time reading, and in some cases re-reading, lots of books on motorsport history.  One which I never tire of is the wonderful Racing In The Rain, by John Horsman.

The book colourfully but informatively chronicles Horsman's involvement with the motorsport projects of Aston Martin, Ford and Porsche, mainly through his role with John Wyer's organisation.

The early stages of the book evoke a real sense of post-war and 1950s Britain, its optimism and its relative simplicity.  It moves up a gear when we move into the Aston Martin years, and there are some great anecdotes from this era.  It is safe to say that technology had a way to go, and improvisation was often the order of the day!

Horsman's enthusiasm for his work and his subject comes through in every word.  One thing which gives the book some bite is the author's willingness to be frank in his appraisal of mistakes made, and particularly in apportioning responsibility.  There is some exasperation with the politics of the GT40 project, and also with the vagaries of the subsequent relationship with Porsche.  Although the descriptions of these things are candid, they never detract from the book's overall charm.

The early stages of the book in particular are greatly enhanced by the author's own wonderfully evocative and atmospheric photographs.

John Horsman's own detailed technical recollections and data mean that this book should appeal both on a human level, and also for those whose interest is more of a mechanical nature. Some of the descriptions of frantic pre-race preparations and test sessions induce a real sense of "being there".

I would recommend this book to any motorsport enthusiast.  A real gem.

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