STEALING SPEED BY MAT OXLEY.
A REVIEW FROM DAVE NEWMAN
A while ago a mate gave me a book to read. Ostensibly it is the story of the development of the racing two stroke engine. Not a scintillating subject you may think, as did I. My friend is a bit of an engineeringy, mechanically sort of a guy so I was a little doubtful as to whether I would get into the book. I was wrong to be concerned as it turned out to be a real page turner.
The story begins during the Second World War with the development of German rocket technology and progresses to behind the newly formed Iron Curtain where in the impoverished MZ factory (yes, they of the ring-a-ding, ding utility bike) research was under way that would influence not only racing but motorcycle production throughout the world.
On a shoestring budget and under the permanent gaze of the feared Stasi secret police, the small team at MZ brought their revolutionary designs into race production and started to take on the might of MV Agusta, Honda et al.
Then just as the factory reached the pinnacle of winning world championships their top rider and national hero defected to the West, taking with him all the secrets that the factory had developed. He had been lured by Mr Suzuki who desperately wanted to start winning races.
The description of the atmosphere of that time, the end of the 50’s and beginning of the 60’s in the midst of the Cold War is fascinating. When it goes on to recount the way that the racers had to deal with the early road race circuits, which were mainly street circuits, including the Isle of Man, I was filled with awe and admiration for what they had to cope with.
For a book that features as a primary character the Rotary Disc Valve this is a remarkably engaging and entertaining read with history, deception, morals and high drama. Well worth seeking out.
Thanks Dave sounds very interesting. Any comments email firstname.lastname@example.org
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