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Both Sides of the Fence Paperback – 7 Jul 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (7 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750958480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750958486
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Hamilton on 5 Sep 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Both Sides Of The Fence is a wonderful account of the golden days of Speedway, when the riders were household names and Speedway was Britain`s second highest spectator sport. Reg Fearman grew up in the East End of London, almost within earshot of West Ham`s Custom House, one of several speedway stadiums that thrived in London at the time along with Wembley, Harringay, Wimbledon and New Cross. While still a teenager he earned the nickname `Fearless Fearman` when riding for the Hammers and within no time he had become a member of the England team.

Subsequently, Reg became one of Britain`s top speedway promoters following in the footsteps of the flamboyant Johnnie Hoskins. Such was the scale of his success at Halifax that at the end of the meetings he would load the takings in a wheelbarrow and transfer them to the boot of his car. By the time the boot was loaded the car would sit like a speedboat with its rear end lowered by the weight of the money and the front of the car raised up in the air.

The boy from the East End had come a long way and at the height of his success was driving a Rolls Royce and living in a mansion in Henley-on-Thames. I got to know him well when he asked me to do the announcing at Reading. Tilehurst was one of those stadiums, now sadly gone, that was packed to the rafters every week. The atmosphere was electric and the Reading Racers spearheaded by Anders Michanek romped to the league championship in 1973. Reg presided over it, cigar in hand, like the showman he was and loved it when show business personalities came along and hitched a ride on Anders` bike at the end of the meeting. Fearman always had his eye on business, but he enjoyed a laugh as well.

Like anyone who is successful (and wealthy) he made enemies along the way.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Reg Fearman was a formidable and charismatic presence on "both sides of the Speedway fence" for around 60 years - so his was a book waiting to be written. He tells his story in graphic detail, revelling in his many good times but not hiding some moments he was maybe not quite so proud of. Quite a few skeletons come tumbling out of the cupboard as his story unfolds, and he leaves no doubt about who were his allies and who were the enemies he made - perhaps inevitably - along the way. Inevitably, because Reg is basically a Cockney kid who made the most - and then some - of his opportunities. Like his riding, days, he was not afraid, as a promoter and administrator, to "go for it" and ruffle a few feathers where he needed to. Even though the book is brutally honest in places, it's quite likely, from Reg's forthright style, that many juicy items were sent to the cutting room floor by the lawyers. Even so, it's a fascinating read, and well worth a Christmas investment if you want a stocking filler for a speedway fan. Virtually every review on Amazon has been positive, and rightly so. There seems to be only one negative review contribution, and that perhaps from someone with a grudge against Reg. However, in amongst that reviewer's mainly misplaced negativity, there is a valid point that there is probably too little in the book about Reading Racers. Although that era ended in dispute with Bill Dore and Frank Higley, and although Reg had success at many other venues, Reading must surely have been among his finest achievements, if not THE finest.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This is speedway's publishing event of this year - and the past few years as well.

Both Sides of the Fence is a hugely informative, immensely readable, constantly entertaining and almost frighteningly frank and brave account of a life spent within the sport.

Too often books do not deliver what the publisher promises. The opposite is true in this case - it is a wholly satisfying read and highly recommended for anyone with an interest in speedway past, present and future.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating insight into the world of one man and his passion for Speedway racing. Poignant memories in both personal and professional life make this a must read for anyone wishing to learn more on the subject. This book is frank, candid, humourous and also at times "pulls" at the heartstrings". I was totally engrossed from start to finish - did not want it to end - go buy this book!.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By white liner on 28 Aug 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a well told storey of one mans passion, drive and ambition to reach the very top as rider and promoter,his attention to the understanding of the word show business is clear for all to see, his encounters with rivals is a real eye opener and just goes to show that speedway is not all about four riders turning left for four laps. The friendship he has made over his years is quite remarkable with many details of his work with them, So if you want a real life storey of a back street kid making the big time in track racing then its a book you should add to your collection, but if you are looking for the best ride from "stan the skid" in the 1967 season then go buy an old programme Both sides of the fence is just that ,and shows that there is a lot more to speedway than watching on race night, It is a good insight to the sport, It is a good read, and goes to show that there are a lot of highs and lows when you want to reach for the stars.which this man did very well, and helped shape the sport of speedway racing.
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