Back in the distant days of summer, we ran an exclusive, subscriber-only competition to win three copies of Frank Melling’s recent publication, Scrambling For Enthusiastic Beginners: How I Survived The 1960s With A Smile.
This 224-page softback is a personal memoir from Frank’s early days when he first took to two wheels and found his forte in dirt bike racing. It’s as much a social history as it is an automotive autobiography, full of entertaining anecdotes about what it was like to be an inexperienced young man, going out into the world in the Swinging Sixties. For instance, Frank recalls how seeing Surtees and the MV Agusta at Creg Ny Baa changed his life forever…
From far behind us over my left shoulder, came a wailing, sonorous howl – not tortured or distressed but a war cry of some unnatural being, the like of which I had never seen, nor could even imagine.
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The noise was from a 350cc, four-cylinder MV Agusta – the legendary Italian fire engine – ridden by the greatest rider of his era, John Surtees. He came down through the gears and the wail rose and fell like the mating call of some mythical beast. I was transfixed and leaned forward. Then, with a clarity still burnt into my mind today, the MV screamed past us with Surtees buried in the fuel tank.
The noise tore into my very soul. This was something magnificent. It sliced through the bonds which tied me to the sepia world of my council house with its paraffin fire, the bus trips into town sitting alongside the ancient women who smelled of age and oldness, and the fights and arguments which were the corrosive liquor of my daily existence.
The sun shone, the red and silver MV gleamed and the noise was a war cry of freedom and joy. That night, I lay in bed and the wail of the MV sang me to sleep.
There’s much more like that inside the book. ‘You get a feel for what was like for an ordinary lad from a modest background, venturing into motorsport for the first time,’ says one reviewer, ‘the highs, the lows, the laughter – and some of the hardships.’
You can buy Scrambling For Enthusiastic Beginners direct from the author for £12.99 including UK delivery (worldwide delivery options also available) at his site. That’s also where you’ll find Frank’s other books and publications – many of them about motorcycling, classic bikes and his life as a riding writer, but also his forays into the world of fiction.
However, three RealClassic magazine readers won’t have to buy their copies of Scrambling… because they correctly answered the question we asked, and have been selected as the winners in our subscriber competition. Without further wossname, congratulations go to:
L Walker of Plympton
GavinL of New Zealand
MikeB of Cheltenham
Your books are on their way! Commiserations to everyone else, and top marks to everyone who managed to follow the complicated instructions correctly (it seems that remembering your own address is a trifle tricky for some…)
This competition is just one of the extra benefits we provide to people who subscribe to the monthly magazine. Subscribers also receive the ‘Members’ Enclosure’ newsletter each month, are welcome to join us in our exclusive Facebook group, and get access to other discounts and giveaways during the year. All that and a cracking magazine to boot! Find out more…