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“‘Thanks Mum, I Borrowed your Mini Wheels to Win the Galway Rally’” A Life By The Poole- Book Review

I have been lucky enough to meet, and ideed interview, Alec Poole, on many many occasions. A bit like his late friend Paddy Hopkirk, “The Pooler” as his compemporaries call him, is utterly charming and absolutely hilarious. Also like Paddy, he enjoyed incredible success behind the wheel. The family company was Booth Poole, who assembled MG, Riley and Wolseley cars in Dublin. Alec, who soon turned out to be pretty handy behind the wheel, attended Trinity College in Dublin. After this, the family sent young Poole to BMC in the UK to complete a five year motor engineering apprenticeship. This led to him purchasing an incomplete  ex works MGB, and then the fun started…. Amongst his many achievements are overall victory in the 1968 BTCC Championship at the wheel of a Mini Cooper, but it is probably the famous SZJ 1 Hornet or the ludicrous Complan Turbo Mini that he is best remembered for this side of the pond.

Alec’s book is made up of a collection of short stories, many related to motorsport and some not. There are almost seventy short stories in all, covering 315 pages and accompanied by some super shots of various cars in action, as well as many world-renowned drivers, some no longer with us. I can assure you that each story will make you smile, as Alec seems to have a funny or mischievous view on every event he ever took part in – just some of the titles include, ‘Roy’s Hobby was Stealing World Champion Mike Hawthorn’s Road Car’, ‘Dunboyne Road Races – Thrilling but Dangerous’, Racing for 84 Hours in Fog with Zero Visibility’, ‘Eddie Jordan Gives my Wife Money’, and my favourite, ‘Thanks Mum, I Borrowed your Mini Wheels to Win the Galway Rally’. One particular aspect  about this book is that it mentions so many events that are no longer; the London to Sydney Marathon, FIA 1000Km sports car race, Reims 12-Hour Race, 84-Hour Liege Marathon and the Targa Florio are just some events that Alec recalls, both on a serious note from a competition point of view and a little of the fun outside of competition.

Many of the stories are tongue in cheek, but if you know Alec, you won’t doubt that any of them are true. The book is a hugely entertaining read and is the ultimate Xmas present for the motorsport anorak in your life.

Alec Poole: A book with short stories, mainly about what you might call my varied, colourful and (hard to believe, I know) sometimes mischievous life in motor racing. Unsuprisingly, in this age of political correctness, I had difficulty in finding a publisher either willing or brave enough to take on the task! However, thanks to help from my mates along the way, “A life by the Poole” has made it into print!”

The book is available from Irish Vintage Scene (link HERE) or by calling our office on 091 388805 to order, and costs €25 plus €5 postage. 

Leo, Paddy (RIP) and Alec at the Festival of Speed in Adare a number of years ago


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