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on 7 March 2016
Not just about motorcycle racing, this awesome book puts the Degner episode in the context of the world of the fifties and sixties when the cold war was at its height and the world could erupt in nuclear war at any time. It also tells of the dangers for the riders themselves with stone walls lining street circuits and the bare minimum of safety measures. Ultimately, this is the story of Walter Kaaden's work to unlock the secrets of the two-stroke engine and how he was betrayed. This is one of the best books about motorcycles I have ever read and thoroughly recommended
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on 20 June 2014
I was in my youth when this all happened and I was on the spot. I have attended the TT for many years resand met most of the people in this book

It was a total surprise when the subject featured in the book apparently defected to the West taking secrets of motorcycle engine development to a rival company in Japan....

As a consequence the Japanese engine development took off and with a short time the Japanese motorcycles were beating the rest

But you need to read the background and reasons for this to happen........and there is a twist in the tale !!
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on 20 September 2017
Loved the history and the technical information regarding the humble two stroke engine and how it was transformed into a successful race engine,,
Three cheers for Walter kaaden,he deserved so much more recognition as the father of the modern two stroke than he got when he was alive.
,Malkit
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on 12 January 2014
My wife bought me this as a Christmas present, once I'd picked it up I was enthralled and couldn't put it down until I had finished it, needless to say I didn't watch a lot of TV over Xmas and Boxing Day! It is an excellently written piece of two stroke GP history, what MZ achieved during this period with all the restrictions and lack of finance is a credit to Walter Kaaden, his team and riders like Ernst Degner, Heinz Rosner and Alan Shepard! I have a few Mat Oxley books, this is by far his best so far.
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on 16 May 2012
Ernst Degner was reputedly a 'vain... arrogant daredevil, who looked after number one'. His motivation for defecting from East Germany and selling the secrets of a high-powered two-stroke engine, to Suzuki, was to gain 'freedom (from Communism), a big house, a fancy car and nice clothes'.

The plans of the US for Wernher von Braun (the rocket scientist), who escaped '1,600 tons of high explosives and 300 incendiaries' from the RAF in 1943, were to put him to work on space rockets. A German dictator gave Russia the design specifications for the BMW R-71, under a Non-aggression Pact, in 1939 (hence the Ural clone).

Technology has at times spread widely from the desks of German engineers, for less than sublime reasons. This book is an informed and informative, concise text which covers a segment of motorcycling history, in captivating terms. The 'inner Degner' will best remain somewhat shrouded in the public memory - as will how 100 hp/litre was achieved in a two-stroke engine. However, if you wish to find out about this latter, reading the book will reward you.
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on 28 May 2015
I have always liked Mat Oxley's columns in Bike magazine as they are always interesting and educational. What makes them poignant is that he's been there and done that having won a TT. This book tells the true story of international espionage, defection and what it took to win at all costs . Quite a short book, but it's a real page turner and is a very good read
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on 16 May 2016
An utterly engrossing and mesmerising story. Written in a way that allows you to connect the people within and understand the hardships and attitudes that although not so long ago are completely alien to us now.

A fantastic read on the kindle but i am so pleased Matt has re-published it as i now have a hardback copy which i have started my second read with.

Brilliant.
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on 26 November 2017
Good compilation but painting Degner the villain is not fair on his memory
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on 8 February 2016
Great little story of one of the founding elements of 2 stroke development. I had no idea of the history behind it. Very informative in a story telling spy like way.
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on 27 February 2013
A very good well written true story of Ernst Degners motorcycling life ,Mat Oxley holds your attention on every page with plenty of photographs.I would gladly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a real life action story. Well worth the money.
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