Slow Burn – The growth of superbikes and superbike racing 1970 to 1988
By Bob Guntrip
ISBN: 978 1 787113 16 9
Veloce Publishing – www.veloce.co.uk
There have been convenient parallel lives worked in the post-hippie period between supercars and superbikes. Both speciality fields grew off the back of serious technological advancements in metallurgy, lubricants and engineering. While the cars can be epitomised by the likes of the outrageous 12-cylinder Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari’s Berlinetta Boxer, let alone the flat-six blart of a Porsche 911 Turbo, the unforgettable sound of a Ducati vee-twin, or Laverda’s parallel-twin alternative, with both Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta chiming in accompaniment, became the head turners of an era. Bob Guntrip, the author, has been writing about motorbike racing for over three decades, with a fascination and passion that elevates from the pages carrying his reportage. If the name sounds familiar, you may recall it from Bob’s 2015 book, ‘Racing Line’. Across 256pp, peppered lightly with around 100 colour and a smattering of monochrome pictures, the story of superbike development, from a racing viewpoint, is explored in superior detail. Naturally, it would not be much of a memory jerker did it not include the superstars of the same era, from Barry Sheene and Mike Hailwood to Kenny Roberts and Eddie Lawson, complete with their magnificent machines, of course. Its content underscores the immense team rivalries, the fast-track developments of the Japanese bike-makers and the importance of the 750cc category. It is no surprise that even avid armchair car racing fans also became superbike critics during that period and ever since. The author does not ignore the epic races of the era, applying particular attention to the Isle of Man TT, the Bol d’Or, the Suzuka 8-Hours and the inimitable Daytona 200. Written most engagingly and enthusiastically, hardly a stone is left unturned of the Superbike racing era of the 1970s and 1980s, its glory years in almost every respect.