Book Review: The Yorkshire Rallying Mafia

I've recently reviewed several authoritative books recalling the golden 1960s/70s era of road and stage rallying, all written by authors who were active in the sport and Jonathan Pulleyn is no exception. Having joined York Motor Club aged 12 years Jonathan enjoyed his rallying from the tender age of 8 when family friends who competed visited. He also started marshalling too from that early age and first rode in a lightweight Ford Anglia rally car, driven by the late Mad Dan Grewer on Wombleton airfield following marshalling duties one dark night.

Jonathan progressed to buy his first rally car, a Cooper S, and compete in night and stage rallies, before later changing to Escorts. When he gave up driving, he occasionally co-drove for drivers who included Ian Oldfield, Ian Jemison, Yuk Hodgson, and Peter Smith and even won a rally with Dick Rowland. He also serviced, organized events and fulfilled the role of Press Officer, also providing commentary and radio interviews for rallies.

Our author's first book was Yuks Fast Book in 2014. Then, after receiving encouragement from various people and meeting Chris Sclater on a 1970s RAC Rally they together wrote: Chris Sclater - Memories of a Rally Champion, published in 2017. Profits from Yuk's book went to Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Chris Sclater's to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

The dramatis personae of The Yorkshire Rally Mafia are twenty-four of the most successful and well-known stage and road rally stars of the era, household names in the sport during that iconic period of rallying and all proud Yorkshiremen: Tony Fall, Bob Bean, Eric Jackson, John Millington, Phil Short, Ron Beecroft, Jack Tordoff, Tony Drummond, Piggy Thompson, and Yuk Hodgson to name but a few. But these talented guys were also resourceful, versatile, and successful businessmen, including a few multimillionaires!

Arranged in 24 fascinating chapters, each covering a star name, the unabridged stories freely flow as told by the author and protagonists themselves, supported with factual accounts from those involved in a preparation, servicing, or co-driving capacity. Fact is shown to be stranger than fiction with inventiveness and resourcefulness sometimes essential qualities required for our heroes to win, combined with skill behind the wheel or map. But the strong bond of friendship and camaraderie among the close fraternity of Yorkshire crews is a strong thread throughout this informative, well-written and compelling book.

Originally, the idea for The Yorkshire Rallying Mafia volume came after Pulleyn talked to fellow enthusiasts at scrutineering for the 2018 Malton Rally, during which they agreed that many of Yorkshire's great rally drivers and co-drivers were at an age where potentially, unique stories of derring-do from the 1960s, 70s and early 80s would soon be lost forever. Pulleyn was also aware that his final choice of characters would be controversial, so worked on an inclusion criterion based around results from National and International level events and interest value of the available stories, but such a book has to stop somewhere.

Hardback versions of the well-presented book are priced at 50 and 30 paperback, plus 6 P&P. The self-published book has 296 pages containing over 340 great images, many taken professionally and some previously unseen. Forewords by David Richards and Mike Nicholson together with an introduction from Don Barrow add a certain rally-establishment credibility to the tome. Once all costs are covered, profits will go to three chosen charities: Bernardo's Children's Charity, The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, and Ukraine Appeal. To quote the author: "This book is purely a labour of love, for the sport!"

Copies of the limited-edition: The Yorkshire Rallying Mafia: ISBN 978-1-3999-1734-6 are available direct from the author email: j.pulleyn@yahoo.com

10th May, 2022