“Motor Racing’s Strangest Races” (Geoff Tibballs, 2001)

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What’s the weirdest race you’ve ever seen, or heard of?

I would have to nominate the round of the F3000 championship at Enna-Pergusa that was abandoned when the cars happened across a knot of frogs with predictable and gruesome results for the poor amphibians…

Although that particular anecdote is sadly missing from “Motor Racing’s Strangest Races” it’s exactly the kind of tale you’ll find in it.

It’s a somewhat motley collection of tales that runs the gamut from whimsical to truly remarkable.

In fact the book’s chronological spread of stories is remarkable – from the infancy of motor racing in the 1890s right up the to 21dt century.

If the stories are diverse and varied the presentation is decidedly uninspiring. The book is one of a series (“Football’s Strangest Matches”, etc…) and the decidedly drab narrative feels as if it’s been churned out.

Dates, facts, times, statistics are all present and largely correct, but the passages lack any feel for the periods they relate. What they do have going in their favour, however, is that they’re quite brief.

Trumping all that though is the fact that, unless you have an encyclopaedic knowledge of motor sport including and beyond Formula 1, there’ll be some fascinating tales in here you’ve not come across before.

Some are amazing, some comical. Others are utterly baffling – such as the gentleman who, in a 130mph Leyland-Thomas took on a Greenbat luggage hauler capable of six (yes, six) miles per hour tops in a handicap race.

The luggage trolley won of course…

Robson Books

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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