May 2017: Hot rods, Harleys and havin’ a ball on the racetrack

My proudest achievement over the past month or two? The publication of the latest issue of RoadSmart. I edit the magazine on behalf of IAM RoadSmart, the charity for advanced drivers and riders, and it goes out to 100,000-plus members three times a year. In the Spring/Summer 2017 issue we feature the organisations’s newest ambassadors, two incredibly talented female motorsport stars who have blazed a trail in their respective fields: FIA European Rally Championship contender Catie Munnings and motorcycle road racer Maria Costello MBE.

Two-wheel adventuress and best-selling author Lois Pryce is another lady who has excelled in her arena, and I was lucky enough to interview her for RoadSmart as well.

Away from RoadSmart, I have had regular stints subbing at Auto Express, and worked with Haymarket’s automotive syndication team to provide daily¬† material for a wide variety of regional and national newspapers. Meanwhile, my preview of the new film about Bruce McLaren appeared as the lead news spread in Octane. It’s available on DVD here.

Last December I visited Yokohama in Japan for the annual Mooneyes Hot Rod and Custom Show, and I was delighted that my words and pictures made up an extensive four-page show report in the latest Classic American magazine.

And talking of hot rods and customs, I’ve been having some fun with my own vehicles, driving my Ford Model A roadster on various road trips as well as at a Castle Combe track day organised by The Guild of Motoring Writers.

Pic: Jeff Bloxham

I’ve also been ready getting my vehicles ready for the summer, with a transmission rebuild on my 1939 Harley-Davidson WL45 being top of the list of tasks. Vintage Harley specialist Toshi Ogawa at London-based Bell45 did a grand job of finding some very rare parts for the bike, as well as re-engineering gearbox components that couldn’t be tracked down.

Talking of motorcycles, a photoshoot for a forthcoming feature in Classic Bike magazine saw my father and I team up to ride his (now mine!) 1952 Sunbeam motorcycle and Steib sidecar combination. That’s automotive photographer extraordinaire Simon Clay working his magic on the day.

Finally, I’ve been busy cataloguing my portfolio from my 25-year-plus writing career – and it’s been quite some task. Top photographer Mike Bailie has been helping me digitise hundreds upon hundreds of pages, and going through all my old articles has turned up plenty of interesting feature cars. Here are just a few of them…