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17th March 2005


Rickman MetisseThe Rickman Story by Dave Gittins

RC member and TimTam smuggler Melbourne Metisse reviews the Don and Derek Rickman Story...

The Rickman Story by Dave GittinsAnother beautifully produced tome by Nostalgia Books whose limited print runs ensure copies will never reside in the bargain bin of WHSmith! However the first edition sold out very quickly when released in 2001, so I believe a second print run was commissioned and you should still be able to buy the book from the usual suppliers.

The author's name may be familiar to readers of 'Offroad Review', 'TMxNews', 'The Classic Motorcycle' and 'Classic Racer' as he has written columns and features for these and other sporting publications.

The 192-page A4 hardback book uses an easy-to-follow chronological format that basically follows Don and Derek Rickman through 20 years in competition and then 25 years in business.

For me though, the great strength of the book is the magnificent black and white photos that contextually accompany the text. The images are lifted from the contemporary collections of Gordon Francis, Nick Nicholls, Derek Fullack, Cecil Bailey and the inimitable Don Morley.

As regular attendees of the RC Message Board will attest, I am happy to confess more than a little bias towards the subject matter, but other readers will I'm sure, like me, regularly pick up the book to just look longingly at images such as the 1963 MkIII G85 Matchless, a 1966 MkIII 650 Triumph, a 1967 MkIV Victor, Giacomo Agostini's chosen road bike - a 1968 Triumph CR650 café racer, a 1973 Zundapp 125, a 1974 Honda CR750 etc, as well of course as some amazing action shots of Don and Derek as they rode in scrambles, trials (solo and sidecar), grass track and road race in the UK and throughout Europe, as they took on the world's best.

Random Rickman stuff on eBay.co.uk

Dave is perhaps more fortunate than some biographers in that as well as personally following the exploits of Don and Derek during their competition career, he was also able to interview family members, fellow competitors (the names of riders they regularly beat reads like a Who's Who of scrambling in the 50's, 60's and 70's!) and former employees, as well as Don and Derek themselves. The result is a book that is meticulously researched, with incredibly accurate detail, yet one that remains highly readable.

Putting aside my favouritism, I would commend any Real Classic Reader to read this engaging story of two brothers who took on the world's finest riders AND the combined might of the world's motorcycle manufacturers - and soundly beat them all, using bikes they designed and built themselves. Their exploits and achievements will surely never be repeated.

Melbourne Metisse

Read the rest of the RealClassic book reviews...

The Rickman Story by Dave Gittins

The Rickman Story by Dave Gittins

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