WHEN THE FLAG DROPS by Jack & Elizabeth Hayward Brabham


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When three-time Grand Prix winner Jack Brabham, the ""Quiet Australian,"" was burning up the world's raceways (after 23 years he retired in 1970), he never got the publicity or slavish fan devotion accorded a Graham Hill or Bruce McLaren or Stifling Moss. ""It is not exactly shyness,"" he explains, ""I just don't like the limelight directed straight at me."" Fair enough. But autobiography is a form of cynosure, and if this lackluster book validly represents Brabham's personality, it's understandable why he shunned the spotlight all those years. Auto racing, which took up ""almost every minute of my time"" until retirement, is the only context he knows -- his father was a ""keen motorist,"" wife Betty a ""keen speedway follower,"" etc. At first, when Brabham left Australia to compete internationally, ""I was very much out of my depth"" but before long he was engaged in a ""battle royal"" with Graham Hill and learning that the Indy ""nearly drives you up the wall."" Perhaps Formula 1 freaks won't mind the dust of such cliches or cranky fumes like ""I think that England needs another Churchill.... To have a strong racing team, you need a strong man at the top"" -- for Brabham did have an outstanding professional career. Casual car buffs, however, will find Brock Yates' Sunday Driver (p. 1136) a smoother ride and Jackie Stewart's Faster! (p. 462).

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1972
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan