BOOK REVIEW

The Lost Generation

David Tremayne
Haynes, Hardback, 264 pages
ISBN 1 84425 205 1

This is a book that tells the stories of the tragic lives of three rising British Formula 1 drivers in the 1970s: Roger Williamson, Tony Brise and Tom Pryce, all of whom were killed before the sport could see their true potential. By its nature, it should be a dark book but David Tremayne has done a wonderful job to bring the characters to life, having talked to those who knew them.

The result is a very powerful story. For those who knew the three men this is a work that will bring back the bitterness of the time. In his foreword Tom Wheatcroft, Williamson's patron, admits that it was a book that he could not put down. "I felt as if somehow I had gone back 30 years and relived those times," he wrote. And he admitted that he is still haunted by the anger and despair that followed each of the deaths.

For those who know just the outline of the story this tells the whole awful tale; and for those who know nothing it is a fitting tribute to three extraordinary young men who might have changed raacing history. All three men were as good, if not better, than James Hunt, the survivor, who ended up winning the World Championship in 1976.

Anyone who has watched the film of David Purley's futile attempts to rescue Williamson from his burning car at Zandvoort in 1973 will feel the hairs rise on the back of the neck just thinking about the horror of it. Pryce's death was just as futile, as the Welshman was hit on the head by a fire extinguisher carried by a marshal who was running across the track in Kyalami to fight a fire that did not need fighting. Pryce probably never saw the marshal.

Brise's story is just as heart-rending as he was the victim of another man's ego, a passenger on a plane that he could not control: a life destroyed because the pilot wwas trying to cut corners.

Shocking organisation, misunderstanding, and pure bad luck conspired to take away the trio but in writing their story Tremayne keeps their memory alive - as indeed it should be.

Buy now: The Lost Generation: The brilliant but tragic lives of rising British F1 stars Roger Williamson, Tony Brise and Tom Pryce

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