The latest publication from the excellent London League Publications features British Speedway legend, Dave Jessup. Ian Kerr MBE reviews Dave Jessup – A Speedway Journey.
Once again, penned by Peter Lush, the 200-page softback volume gives you an insight into the life of one of the top British Speedway riders of the 1970s and 1980s. Many will remember Jessup as featuring in the various British and World Championship events. However, he never won the individual title but did win many others in his 20 years in the sport. If one glittering career was not enough, he went onto another in the world of golf representing England in the Senior Amateur team.
The excellently presented book charts his career starting in 1969 when he made his debut for Eastbourne having been a member Kent Young Motorcyclist Association where he met his future wife.
Jessup, of course, went onto ride for the magnificent Wembley Lions, Leicester, Reading, Kings Lynn, Wimbledon and Mildenhall, eventually managing the Kings Lynn team.
Many though will not know he was competent trials rider during this time, crediting the off-road sport teaching him balance and throttle control. Like many others of his ilk he was also highly competent and a competitive grass and long-track rider, as well as a regular abroad in speedway events.
After personally making over 100 appearances as a rider for England, he went onto manage the English team, including two World Team Cup finals during his management stint. Add in the formation of a company supplying parts and accessories to Speedway riders – plus a little bit of engine tuning – and you get the impression that he lived life to the full in every respect.
Included in the glossy pages are some excellent period images and obviously the mention of many of his peers which, to those of us who followed the sport during this period, is just a big trip down memory lane. Besides, it offers an insight into the life of a truly professional sportsman and rider.
Although the author has done extensive research through period books and articles resulting in an excellent set of statistics at the rear of his major races, the book comes alive thanks to Jessup’s collaboration and input into the 21 chapters detailing the various stages of his career.
Speedway fans will love this look back at the sport, but anybody who enjoys reading about motorcycle sport and what it takes to get to the top and stay there will find it an inspiring read about a man who comes across as nice person despite the pressure. Well worth the £14.95 asking price.
Available from all good bookshops or direct from London League Publications: www.llpshop.co.uk