Ton up! – A century of Café Racer Speed and Style

‘Oh great, another book on café racers – just what nobody needs’ I thought, when Classic Bike Guide contributor, Paul D’Orleans sent ‘Ton up!’ in for review. How wrong I was!

It is superb. You will have got halfway through the book before you even hit the 1950s, when most casual onlookers think the road racer phenomenon started. It traces racing, speed and, to a point, style, from the first machines when they were subjects of much question and speed limits were imposed, as no one knew what would happen to the frail human body should it go quicker than it had previously.

The journey through time is illustrated brilliantly, and even those who have no interest in old bikes have shown a sparkle when faced with the old racers.

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There’s a lot in there I didn’t know. There’s yet more in there that made me research further; like Anke-Eve Goldmann, the beautiful six-foot tall German woman, who, though extremely talented and fast, wasn’t allowed to race because she was female.

The book goes from America to Europe, but will then flick to Japan – it’s a well put together and researched book from this experienced author.

Paul has a nice way with words and ‘Ton up!’ is easily read and crucially in this day and age, can be consumed in small segments; so you can pick it up and put it down when you’ve the time.

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If you want more, check out Paul’s website
■ Paul D’Orleans■ £24.99
■ ISBN: 9780760360453

Read more News and Features in the April 2020 issue of Classic Bike Guide – on sale now!

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