Fifty years ago, two-stroke grand prix machines began to outperform their four-stroke rivals thanks mostly to the use of expansion chambers. The technology was originally used in German World War II rockets, and then incorporated into motorcycle engines by MZ in East Germany following the war. Stealing Speed: The Biggest Spy Scandal in Motorsport History is the story of Walter Kaaden, who developed two-stroke engines at MZ, and Ernst Degner, the factory MZ rider that defected to the west in 1961, taking MZ’s expansion chamber technology with him to Suzuki at the same time. Author Mat Oxley, longtime motojournalist and author of several racing-related books, obviously went to great lengths researching the topic, interviewing many of the people involved and going into considerable detail covering events before and after Degner’s defection. As such, the book covers a substantial amount of historical material that is quite interesting and most readers will find unfamiliar. And rather than a dry textbook-style presentation, the book is colorfully written and easy to read — although Oxley does get a bit unnecessarily detailed at times, dwelling on some aspects that don’t add to the story. Still, it’s that detail that makes the book so engrossing, providing a sense of Grand Prix racing at the time and evoking empathy with the various characters. The result is a book that is very difficult to put down once you’ve started reading. In paperback form, Stealing Speed is 200 pages including 16 pages of photographs.
Stealing Speed: The Biggest Spy Scandal in Motorsport History
Author: Mat Oxley
Retail: $14.95 (paperback)
This Lithium Iron Phosphate replacement battery is roughly one fifth the weight of a stock lead-acid battery, a huge savings in weight. We’re seeing how it manages day-to-day use in our Yamaha YZF-R1 test bike.
SIDI ST Air
Like their top-dollar counterparts, the Sidi ST Air boots feature an easy entry system and external ankle brace, but new to the boot is the cam-lock buckle system that makes boot removal quick and easy, something most street riders will appreciate.