The name of Bill Snelling may be familiar to many as the author of a number of excellent books on various motorcycling topics over the past few years, and now he has compiled his own autobiography. Ian Kerr MBE reviews his autobiography entitled Motorcycle, Mates and Memories.
Thanks to the excellent photographic exhibitions during the Isle of Man TT and Manx races, you may be aware of Bill, or you may have bought photographs from his extensive photographic collection on the FoTTofinders Bikesport Photos website.
What you may not know is that he has an extensive motorcycle history as part of the motorcycle trade, a competitor on and off-road, a motorcycle courier, as well as a journalist for the motorcycle press, to mention just some of his life spent on and associated with motorcycles. Thanks to renowned automotive publishers, Veloce, you can learn at least some of his fascinating life in the real social history of motorcycling over the last 70 years.
Over 200 period images illustrate the text in this soft-bound volume as he guides you through a life spent riding and competing on some often very unsuitable motorcycles on and off-road. It will evoke many similar memories from readers who have been riding and competing over the last seven decades.
Bill takes you through a childhood grounding from a father’s love of Vincents, to a working life with Velocettes, moving through working on the original Motorcycle Sport magazine, writing for the now-defunct Motorcycle Weekly, whilst dispatching, before moving permanently to his beloved Isle of Man from south London. Here, he has established himself as a walking encyclopaedia of the TT and associated IOM races and local historian.
As you work your way through his life you will find, despite his ‘short and portly’ figure (his words not mine), that he has an extensive racing pedigree mainly on Velocettes and also a Ducati in the Manx TT. He also has a very successful off-road history, especially in the classic MCC events where he has won the prestigious ‘Triple’ award several times.
Along the way, he has made numerous friends the world over, and a whole chapter is given over to giving a brief profile of some of them with some humorous anecdotes. In the main body of the text, readers will also find many well-known names and companies that Bill has been associated with during his various exploits, both in the UK and abroad. It will no doubt trigger a lot of memories, as well as his life as a member of a motorcycle club or two.
In fact, when you come to end of the book, you realise that he is the epitome of a life-long motorcycle enthusiast who has had a go at most things on two wheels and gradually adapted his enthusiasm as age and health problems have caught up with him, but never losing the thrill and camaraderie of two wheels!
It is an excellent read from start to finish, written in a humble and self-deprecating style and easily dipped in and out of. It should be at the top of everybody’s reading list! Excellent value at £16.99.
Available from all good bookshops or direct from the publishers Veloce Publishing Ltd. www.veloce.co.uk
#motorcyclesmatesandmemories #motorcyclebookreview #billsnelling #motogusto