MotoGP is enjoying a period of unprecedented popularity and Ring of Fire details the acclaim, the heroism and the pressures of riding motorbikes at speeds of more than 200mph. This is a world where manufacturers invest millions and the world champion celebrates by staging mock jail breaks and giving pillion rides to a blow-up doll. One rider warms up for major races by singing Hank Marvin songs on his karaoke machine and a rising Italian star sees the world in terms of black and white energy tubes. Another sees nothing strange in racing with two broken ankles.
Ring of Fire covers the recent history of MotoGP, from American Nicky Hayden spectacularly overturning established champion Valentino Rossi in 2006, through the emergence of wild young Australian Casey Stoner as the new champion in 2007, to the fierce rivalry between them and Spaniards Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo in what would prove to be one of the most closely-contested years of racing in 2008. It gives a behind the scenes look at World Superbike Champion James Toseland's attempts to break into this elite, and looks back at the tradition of reprobates, romance and debauchery in the paddock dating back to the 60s and stars like Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostino.
Rick Broadbent introduces us not just to the stars and the multi-million pound contracts, but also to the officals, mechanics, doctors, team owners and fans who make up this white-knuckle ride of a sport. By turns funny, sad, shocking and uplifting, Ring of Fire brings us face to face with those who battle to emerge unscathed, or who just ignore the pain and ride to win against all odds.
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This is a stunning book. It is history but reads like a 'can't put it down' novel - hardly surprising considering it grippingly features the two greatest motor cyclists of all time, Mike Hailwood and Valentino Rossi. Rick Broadbent tells the enthralling story of a thrilling and dangerous sport like never before and it had me by the throat -
It was an odd decision to alternate a celebration of the brilliance of Valentino Rossi, today's Italian motorcycling superstar, with a reconstruction of episodes from the life and times of Mike Hailwood, the biking ace of the 1960s and 1970s, but it succeeds brilliantly. The technology is quite different, and so are the rewards, but the requirements of a true racer - courage and skill - are unchanging. In this hymn of praise to those who live closest to the edge, you can smell the grease and burning rubber - The Sunday Times
Peppered with anecdotes and insight... a fantastic, page turning read which presents a window into the personalities which are normally only seen on the track or in a press conference - MotoGPBlog
A fantastic new book... well worth getting - MotoGP World
Impressive - Leicester Mercury
Extraordinary... Rick Broadbent's ability to sweep you along at speeds of 200 mph leaves you quite breathless... a very satisfying and enthralling read - BFKbooks
Fascinating... This is not your average motorcycle book, it almost reads like a novel, but it is history, it is fact written by someone who has been close to and part of it. Because of the style it is one of those books you cannot put down and a must for every racing fan - inter-bike.co.uk
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About the Author
Rick Broadbent is a sports writer for the Times, for whom he covers MotoGP, among other things. He has previously witten books on football, boxing and athletics as well as, most recently, collaborating with motorcycle legend Ron Haslam on his autobiography Rocket Men, published by Bantam Press in July 2008.