Ben Spies: Taking it to the Next Level, by Larry Lawrence, £19.99
Time used: One week
What’s good: Written by American bike journalist Larry Lawrence, with quotes from friends, family, team members, rivals and Spies himself, this coffee table book is for the hardcore fan.
It starts with a glowing foreword by the legendry Kevin Schwantz, then chronologically details Ben’s meteoric rise from his first pocket bike road race when he was nine, through his racing career in the US where he had a horrific 180mph crash at Daytona, found a ruthless rival in Matt Mlladin, then went on to win three AMA titles.
The book also talks about how his Mum, Mary, guided him through his career, his difficult wildcard rides in MotoGP with Suzuki, winning the WSB championship at his first attempt and his first year in MotoGP, riding the Tech 3 Yamaha M1.
There are loads of great archive pictures and lots of insight into the AMA racing scene, which were news to me.
What’s not: I’d like to know a bit more about what makes Spies tick, but then this isn’t an autobiography, more a very good account of his incredible career and how he reached the top.