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John Surtees


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Valentino Rossi was born on February 16, 1979, in Urbino, Italy. He won his first motorcycle grand prix race at the age of 17, his first world title at 18, and his first MotoGP championship at 22. He currently rides for Yamaha, and his main residence is in central London. Mike Nicks is a prolific journalist and author who has edited the British publications Bike, Classic Bike, Classic Racer, Motor Cycle News and Classic Car Weekly. In the USA he has worked on Motor Trend, Motorcyclist and Circle Track magazines. He has also written on cars, motorcycles, languages and business for the Guardian, Observer, Independent, Times, Sunday Times and DailyTelegraph newspapers in London. He has known John Surtees since the 1980s, when their shared passions for matters on both two and four wheels ensured a continuing friendship.


"John Surtees is way, way, before my time. He retired from racing nearly before I was born, but his legacy as the only man to have won the 500cc Grand Prix (MotoGP) title and the F1 car world championship ever in history means he remains relevant even today. Maybe more relevant than ever.He's written at least two previous autobiographies, but this one, published by the same people who now do Julian's MotoGP Season Review, is basically a large photo book with in-depth captions written by Surtees. It's fantastic. The photo reproductions--most of them in black and white--are beautiful.I was relieved to see that Surtees' career in bike racing filled nearly half of the book, because my initial fear when seeing the tome was that bikes would be framed as just a series of steps that led him to "real" racing, in F1 and other forms of racing door-slammers. Instead, Surtees gives his life in motorcycle racing full due, and I found the photos and text fascinating. Surtees raced GP when the Norton Manx and those incredible old dustbin-fairing bikes, which looked like two-wheeled jets, filled the grid. When there were no rain tires or even straw bales in places. His memories are pure treasure.Valentino Rossi writes the forward for this Surtees book. Although his short introductory text reads like it was "phoned in", just that it exists is important enough. You see, Valentino doesn't really give away his old helmets and he doesn't really write forwards to books. But he grew up as an F1 junkie so Rossi certainly knows the impact and accomplishment of Mr. John Surtees.For me, this book had 'I didn't know that' moments every few pages. I was glad to add it to my bookshelf." - SuperbikePlanet.com

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