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11th May 2016

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Chris Carter At Large

This softback autobiography offers 'stories from a lifetime in motorcycle racing' which encompass the highlights of 1960s and 70s Grand Prix competition...

Imagine that you are sat in the corner of a bar having a quiet drink, and the world famous motorcycle sport journalist and commentator, Chris Carter, sits opposite you and engages you in casual conversation about his life. That is exactly how his autobiography comes across to the reader. When reading, it is as if Chris is sat there speaking to you.

Unlike many other autobiographies, this is not written in a chronological order. It certainly covers the years from Carterís school days to the present day, but it is presented by subject. For instance, when discussing riders past and present Carter remembers stories and incidents involving Geoff Duke, Jarno Saarinen, Phil Read, Giacomo Agostini and Barry Sheene amongst others Ė but not in any chronological order.

The book is full of amusing anecdotes regarding Carterís involvement with on- and off-road motorcycle racing. It covers numerous events and incidents in this country and around the world, either as part of the Continental circus that followed the Grands Prix during the 1960s or when he was part of the Macau Grand Prix and the Daytona 200 week in the USA. Chris gives you a fascinating insight into the Grand Prix circus in the 1960s, and relates experiences and stories that include everyone in the paddock, including the riderís families and mechanics, an element of the paddock that is often ignored.

Carter also has some very forthright opinions and comments to make regarding motorcycle sport organisers over the years, especially the element known as the ĎBlue Blazersí. The Blue Blazers is a euphemism for any over-officious member of the organisational team and it originates from the UKís ACU officials who would always wear their blue blazers at international events.

The book includes lots of stories regarding riders competing internationally in the 1960s and 70s, including the privateers who had to start and finish the Grand Prix in order to win enough prize money to fill their Transit vanís fuel tank so that they could travel to the next Grand Prix race meeting and start the whole process over again. The privateer riders in the 1960s and 70s were not the highly paid competitors that we see today and Chris certainly gives them the long overdue credit that they deserve. There are lots of stories relating to the camaraderie that existed in those days when one rider would loan an engine part to a rival in order that the rival could compete and get paid.

Chris Carter has always been a very large person and this comes over on numerous occasions in the book when he takes the micky out of himself regarding his size. This is a book that is very difficult to put down once you start it, but is very easy to pick up again and not lose the thread.

RC reviewer: Bob Livesey

Chris Carter At Large is published by Veloce in softback with 240 pages, RRP £16.99. ISBN 978 1 845840 914 Buy a copy from Amazon

Chris Carter at Large
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