As the title suggests, this is a book about German motorcycles … albeit published in the U.S., printed in China, and written by a couple of Canadians. Well, Laurel is probably a naturalized American by now and I’m not sure about Mark, as he currently lives in California. Still, the connection is there.
Gardiner appeared in the motorcycle journalism thing in 2002 when he popped some sort of gasket, quit his job as a creative director at an ad agency in Toronto and headed off to the Irish Sea to compete in the Isle of Man TT races. Since then, he’s published a torrent of material in magazines around the world, and currently calls SoCal home where he continues to freelance for magazines around the world.
Ms. Allen, on the other hand, comes by her speed needs genetically, as she’s the daughter of Jim Allen, a Whitby, Ontario native who was probably the best Canadian racer of the 1970s and has just retired from a long and highly-successful career as the race tire guy at Dunlop North America, based in Buffalo.
She started out working at Cycle News years ago and is now senior editor of Road Racer X magazine, and for sure her daddy is proud as punch of her (author’s note: I know that because I know Jim, never met Laurel although based on her photo in the book it’s my loss …).
Ahem. Now for a brief bit about the book. While there’s a fair bit of copy, it’s pretty much descriptive and mostly stands in support of the fantastic collection of photographs Allen & Gardiner have managed to collect.
The book traces BMW racing from the original creation of the bikes via technology transfer from the firm’s WWI aircraft engines (ever wonder why the BMW logo is a stylized spinning propeller?) right up to the Moto ST racing in the U.S. in 2007.
There’s lots of space devoted to the remarkable Grand Prix supercharged machines, the brand’s unparalleled sidecar history, superbike racing in the U.S. (did you know BMW won the first-ever superbike title?) and of course the off-road racing successes in the Dakar and related events. There’s even a little teaser about the proposed World Superbike entry in 2009, so you can’t get much more current than that.
At $29.95, this little book is a treat for anyone interested in BMWs or just in racing history. I liked it a lot.
BMW Racing Motorcycles: The Mastery of Speed, by Laurel C. Allen and Mark Gardiner, 175 pp, illustrated (lavishly). Published by Whitehorse Press, Centre Conway, NH, www.WhitehorsePress.com , ISBN 978-1-884313-65-3.