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Speed Kings

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Paperback
Published: November 2020
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Author: John Smailes
Category: /
BIC Subject: Motor sports
Published By: Allen & Unwin
 
Published: 03-Nov-2020
Format: Paperback, 368 pages, 153x234mm
ISBN: 9781760529390
Stock Code: 0529390
Product Description
 
Winning the Indianapolis 500, the greatest spectacle in motorsport, has been a quest for Australians and New Zealanders since the first race in 1911. Seventeen have tried and two have succeeded, New Zealand's Scott Dixon in 2008 and Australia's Will Power in 2018. More than a century before, Rupert Jeffkins, Australia's original speed king, entered the first 500 and on his second attempt in 1912 came within five kilometres of victory. He and Italian Ralph de Palma created legend when they pushed their car to the finish line when it blew up while leading. Speed Kings tells Jeffkins' full story for the first time.

The lure of the Brickyard, paved with 3.2 million bricks, all now covered except for a ceremonial 'Yard of Bricks' at the finish line, has drawn champions from both sides of the Tasman. Three-time world champion Sir Jack Brabham, his son Geoffrey and grandson Matthew have each tried to win. So have the 'big three' of New Zealand motor racing: Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon. Brabham was instrumental in changing the face of the Indianapolis race when he raced his rear-engine Cooper Climax against the monstrous front-engine Indy roadsters of the time.

Blinding speed - nudging 380 km/h and averaging 280 km/h over 500 miles - makes the Brickyard one of the most precarious racetracks in the world. Forty-two drivers have died attempting the 500.

Indy doesn't offer up victory lightly. It's taken Dixon and Power, who've dedicated their careers to IndyCar racing, to win it. Now Australian Supercar champion Scott McLaughlin, a New Zealander, looks set to become the next driver from down under to chase American motor racing's greatest prize.

Speed Kings tells the story of the drivers, team owners, engineers, even commentators who've made The Brickyard their quest.Winning the Indianapolis 500, the greatest spectacle in motorsport, has been a quest for Australians and New Zealanders since the first race in 1911. Seventeen have tried and two have succeeded, New Zealand's Scott Dixon in 2008 and Australia's Will Power in 2018. More than a century before, Rupert Jeffkins, Australia's original speed king, entered the first 500 and on his second attempt in 1912 came within five kilometres of victory. He and Italian Ralph de Palma created legend when they pushed their car to the finish line when it blew up while leading. Speed Kings tells Jeffkins' full story for the first time.

The lure of the Brickyard, paved with 3.2 million bricks, all now covered except for a ceremonial 'Yard of Bricks' at the finish line, has drawn champions from both sides of the Tasman. Three-time world champion Sir Jack Brabham, his son Geoffrey and grandson Matthew have each tried to win. So have the 'big three' of New Zealand motor racing: Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon. Brabham was instrumental in changing the face of the Indianapolis race when he raced his rear-engine Cooper Climax against the monstrous front-engine Indy roadsters of the time.

Blinding speed - nudging 380 km/h and averaging 280 km/h over 500 miles - makes the Brickyard one of the most precarious racetracks in the world. Forty-two drivers have died attempting the 500.

Indy doesn't offer up victory lightly. It's taken Dixon and Power, who've dedicated their careers to IndyCar racing, to win it. Now Australian Supercar champion Scott McLaughlin, a New Zealander, looks set to become the next driver from down under to chase American motor racing's greatest prize.

Speed Kings tells the story of the drivers, team owners, engineers, even commentators who've made The Brickyard their quest.
John Smailes has worked as a motor racing journalist and PR consultant for more than four decades. As a young reporter he covered the London-Sydney Marathon and has a substantial library of photographs as well as contemporary interviews and records. His most recent books are Race Across the World (A&U 2018) and Mount Panorama (A&U 2019).