Off-Road Giants, Heroes of 1960s Motorcycle Sport Vol. 1 Review

Off-Road Giants, Heroes of 1960s Motorcycle Sport Vol. 1 | Rider’s LibraryBack in March of this year, we told you about Off-Road Giants, Heroes of 1960s Motorcycle Sport Vol. 3 by veteran moto-journalist, Andy Westlake from Veloce Publishing of the U.K. and in August, we reviewed Vol. 2 of that series. Now we offer you a glimpse of the book that started it all, Vol. 1.

Passions have long run deep in motorcycle sports in Britain and all over Europe. That applies to both road racing and off-road sports like observed trials, scrambles and grass track racing. As a result, some of the greatest names in motorcycle racing came from Britain and the Continent. Much of the legend-building occurred in the late fifties, through the sixties and into the early seventies. It is that period in off-road motorcycle sports Andy Westlake brings to life in his “Off-Road Giants!” series.

The books all capture the feel of the times and action of the events with superb, close-up black and white photographs. Volume 1 includes more than 100 images.

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Westlake takes us up close and personal with the top riders of the day, including Triss Sharp, Bryan Sharp, Bryan Goss, Dave Curtis, John Burton, Ken Kendall, Johnny Giles, Ivor England, Ken Heanes, Mike Jackson—who penned the Foreword for Volume 1—as well as others and, perhaps of special interest to U.S. readers, a chapter on California’s Bud Ekins who did a lot of racing in Europe and Britain.

Westlake details Ekins’ remarkable career as a successful motocrosser, trials rider, enduro and desert racer, Hollywood stunt rider and Triumph dealer. Westlake includes in that chapter Ekins’ own account of the filming of the famous jump over a 12 foot high wire tangle with a stock 1962 Triumph for “The Great Escape.”

That scene shows Steve McQueen’s character making a desperate last-ditch effort to escape his Wehrmacht pursuers by launching the bike over a huge barbed wire barrier, but crashing after the jump.

This volume also highlights some of the great bike builders of the day, such as Eric Cheney renowned for superb motocross bike frames and Robin Rhind-Tutt, developer of the Wasp sidecar racing chassis.

If off-road motorcycle sport is in your blood, and you enjoy reading motorcycle history, you’ll find this entire series a must to have in your library.

Book Data:

  • Title: Off-Road Giants! Heros of 1960s Motorcycle Sport Vol. 1
  • Author: Andy Westlake
  • Published: 2008, 124 pages, softcover.
  • Publisher: Veloce Publishing, Parkway Farm Business Park, Middle Farm Way, Poundbury, Dorchester, DT1 3AR, England
  • ISBN: 978-1-845848-35-4
  • MSRP: U.S. $49.95 U.K. £25.00 $54.95 CAN