Author: Alistair McCooke
The Power and the GloryThe road racing season may be over for the year but to keep your interest firing in all things bike, a new paperback The Power and the Glory is just the thing for a winter night when it's too cold for touring. This history of the old favourite, the North West 200 has been updated and published in paperback by Appletree Press on 7th December.
Alastair McCook is one of Ireland's finest road-racing photographers and he first became hooked on road-racing when he watched the North West 200 as a six year old from the safety of Metropole Corner in Portrush in 1967 with his family. If you always wondered what the North West is like and if it is worth going to see it this is the book that will persuade you to join the annual biker pilgrimage to the North coast every May. Always exciting, the North West is one of the most prestigious meetings in the UK and Irish racing calendars and celebrated its 75th anniversary this year.
Packed with photographs this exciting paperback is a unique history of this popular event from the first race in 1929 right up until 2004 when history was made again by Michael Rutter who achieved a straight line speed of more than 200 miles an hour. So what makes the race such a great event? In Alastair's opinion it's the setting itself, "the broad Atlantic Ocean booms against the northern edge of Ireland and with the smell of the rubber and oil hanging on the salty breeze it makes an overpowering blend that is hard to resist. It is the focal point in the lives of the riders and the legions of fans who make their way to the coast every year."
Alastair collected many stories from the riders themselves, the people who knew them and re-discovered the histories of many of the sport's greatest bike makers, some of which were inspirational in their day. But when it comes to inspirational, one family name stands out, Dunlop. Robert and Joey won a phenomenal 27 North West races between them. It's a record that is unlikely to be broken for some time. Alastair was lucky enough to interview Robert for The Power and the Glory but admitted that he would have loved to have been able to speak to Joey himself about his many North West races. Joey was a quiet unassuming hero who could never be replaced and the familiar reassuring sight of the famous yellow helmet is still greatly missed at the North West. Robert Dunlop retired from the sport in 2004 but the name of Dunlop is likely to feature again in the list of North West winners with three young Dunlops, William, Gary and Samuel continuing the family tradition of road-racing.
And what of the future? Alastair believes, "There are plenty more glory days to come in the years that lie ahead on the Triangle circuit that runs between the walls and houses and along the cliff tops above the Atlantic Ocean." He's right you know. We'll see you there next year!
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