Book Review: FWJ

There can’t be a stock car fan out there who hasn’t heard the name Frankie Wainman Junior. He’s won all of the biggest titles in the UK, the Netherlands and New Zealand. Nobody’s won more British or National Points’ titles than him. He was even one of the stars of BBC TV series, ‘Gears and Tears’, which followed the rivalry between the Wainmans and the Smiths during the 2009 season.  Not to mention all the cars he’s built for other drivers that have powered them towards the chequered flag.

Throughout the 30 years he’s been in the sport, he’s definitely shown that he’s the winningest (to borrow a NASCAR-ism) BriSCA F1 driver around the tracks today – and it turns out our reigning World Champion is quite the engaging writer too!

Officially released at the World Final on Saturday, his new book, FWJ: My Life in Formula 1 Stock Cars, is an honest and incredibly charming account of his career to date and his life behind the wheel. Starting with a foreword by former rival and current National Points Shootout Champion, Rob Speak, the book covers the highs and lows of Frankie’s whole life in racing, right up to his British Championship victory at Sheffield back in June.

This is the latest from Chequered Flag Publishing, the company which brought you books about stock car legends John Lund and Paul Harrison, as well as our very own 2016 Season Review. Incidentally, all of these titles are available for just £5 when you buy FWJ from their website.

Each chapter begins with Frankie’s own recollections of different big races throughout his career. If you were there to witness them at the time, reading his accounts will take you straight back to the event. You’ll laugh along with his amusing anecdotes – I wonder how many people in the world can say they’ve cut up an NZ superstox in an attempt to fit it within their flight’s baggage allowance? And you may even get a lump in your throat when he’s describing the tougher times – especially his account of the World Cup victory in 2015.

Throughout the book, Frankie praises the people – family, team, fans, sponsors and other drivers – who’ve helped him get where he is today. In doing so, he seems to capture what’s special about the sport. They might all be rivals on track, but in the pits, it’s a different story.

The book is a credit to Frankie, and to Scott Reeves, who not only published it but, in Frankie’s words, helped put his ‘thoughts and memories on paper’. His dedication to, and love for, racing – whether it be his or that of his children – shines through.

When you start reading this, make sure you’ve got nothing else planned, because you won’t want to put it down. It’s written in a relaxed, friendly tone, as if he’s just turned to face you in the pits to tell you a story – not that Frankie often has the time for that in between getting all those cars ready to race. Come to think of it, when did he find the time to write this?

Before you pick up the book and flick right to the end to check, don’t worry, this book does not signal that Frankie will be throwing the proverbial towel in on racing. Yes, he’s won at lot – well over 1000 races in total – but as he says himself in the final chapter, he has much more winning left to do.

FWJ is a must for stock car fans.

FWJ is available from Chequered Flag Publishing for £14.99, including postage and packing. The book is also available trackside from the Wainman transporter, EdCreations merchandise stall and Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly track shops.

Words: Rhosanna Jenkins

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