Posts Tagged ‘Rupert Jeffkins’

Just when i thought my pre-war Oz racing history may get a pass mark, Smailes comes along and bursts that bubble.

The last bloke to do that was John Medley, his list of early Australian international racers in ‘John Snow: Classic Motor Racer’ had me running a long list of fellas to Google.

John Smailes new book is a wonderful, skilfully crafted yarn about ‘Australia and New Zealand’s quest to win the Indy 500’. Some garnish is added to the drivers by inclusion of the likes of Barry Green and Steve Horne who joined teams as mechanics and ended up running the show.

I knew about Jack, Chris and Denny but not really the rest. Indy has not had huge appeal to me. One could argue that Indycars is the toughest of all the elite open-wheeler classes given its unique challenges of road-racing and super-speedways not least Indy.

John has become prolific in recent times with works including the history of CAMS (which is a mighty fine summary of Oz racing since day dot), the ’68 London-Sydney, Allan Moffat, Mount Panorama and now Indy with ‘Speed Kings’.

The book is an eminently readable yarn chockers with heaps of factual material including wonderful contextual stuff about the US auto industries need for, and then embracement of The Brickyard. John interviewed over 50 of his subjects or related parties in 2020. He didn’t lock down his final copy until a couple of days after this years 500 so it is right up to date.

Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme, Chris Amon, Kevin Bartlett, Graham McRae, Vern Schuppan, Geoff Brabham, Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Matt Brabham and James Davison are all here together with tales of their commercial and race (or non-race) challenges interwoven with Indycar politics and evolution. There are others too but i don’t want to spoil those surprises.

Make sure the chief or the kids pop it in your Xmas stocking. It’s a ripper book.

I’ve popped it straight into my Oz Key Reference Collection which lives in my kitchen. There is little point in cook-books if boiling water is a culinary achievement, you are beyond Margie Fulton’s help right? If you can get the ankle-biters under control on the 27th, Boxing Day is a tad optimistic, you should be able to knock it over in a long but enjoyable day. Have the odd frothy after midday to assist.

Rupert Jeffkins is the dude who caused the fail on my Pre-War Oz Racing History exam paper BTW.

Rupert Jeffkins and Ralph de Palma push their wounded Mercedes towards the finish line at Indy in 1912