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Homepage. This page: Straw bales and cloth caps, how Silverstone transformed from airfield to GP circuit.

Silverstone's First Grand Prix - The Race on the Runways.

Amberley Publishing.

Anthony Meredith & Gordon Blackwell.
ISBN 978 1 4456 1776 3
Published 2014. (Paperback, 160 pages).
Book cover

UK RRP 14.99.

Buy this Book:
Silverstone, home to the British Grand Prix for many a year, has been the subject of many books, and indeed a publication by authors Meredith and Blackwell on the subject has featured on OCC before (Silverstone Through Time). This title, again published by Amberley Publishing and happily printed in the UK rather than some distant land, concentrates on that first Grand Prix, held on October 2nd 1948. At a time when the public were keen to see normality return to their lives following WW2, the appetite for new motor racing venues - despite having to work around petrol rationing still - was high, and now-redundant airfields were being eyed up by many enthusiasts as likely homes for motor racing activity.
1948 would see the creation of the Goodwood motor racing circuit, and also that at Silverstone, the latter continuing to host top-level contemporary motor races to this day, while the former harks back to the "good old days" with its retrospective meeting each September.
The grid for the first Grand Prix to be held at Silverstone was a mixture of newly-built cars and a healthy smattering of 1930s types, dusted down, and brought out of storage to once again line up against their foes on track. The book has a great cross-section of photographs, acquired from many sources, joined in a few cases by more recent colour shots for comparison purposes. Both images captured trackside, and behind the scenes in and around the paddock are included, giving a great insight into the atmosphere that surrounded this inaugural Silverstone GP. The text too tells of the many background stories that relate to the meeting, including the cars and the characters that prepared, entered, and ultimately raced them. As a fan of early post-war motor racing in this country, I found reading through this to be time well spent.
The only slight downside to me is that the layout could, I think, be improved upon. There is no index, so researching a particular driver or entrant isn't as simple as it might be, likewise the Chapters are only numbered, so anyone wishing to jump to a particular time frame during the meeting will need to study the text before hopefully finding the specific information they might want. Equally an appendix listing the entrants, their qualifying times and positions at the end of the race, would have been a welcome addition.
As it is, this is a keenly-priced book that has stacks of interesting tales to tell within its 160 pages, I'd have just preferred it to be a little easier to dip in and out of, when looking for specific facts and figures. In my opinion, a book well worth the cover price despite the aforementioned layout niggles.
RJ
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