Bringing someone’s memoirs to print is a huge undertaking for any author but imagine the pressure should the subject be your parent.
Words and photographs: Tim Britton
The task facing Richard Bourne, assisted by his brother Robert, was daunting – bringing to publication the memoir of their father, who also happened to be editor of the biggest selling motorcycling publication in the formative years of the British industry and had written the manuscript himself.
Additionally, when said parent, thanks to his involvement with the ACU, could count and call on most if not all of the industry leaders as friends, contemporaries and even equals, the editing of these memoirs had to be a careful enterprise. In this task Richard, aided by Robert, has admirably kept the flavour of his late father Arthur ‘Torrens’ Bourne flowing through the self-published book Behind the scenes in the vintage years.
It helps of course that Richard is a journalist and used to dealing with words, and the final publication is a reflection on more than just the motorcycling scene but can be viewed as a social commentary of the period, too.
Within its pages are revealed the reasons for pseudonyms used by writers and the names behind the names which reflect a bygone and pre-celebrity obsessed era when who the writer was mattered less than the machines being written about. It is fitting, given ‘Torrens’ encouragement of new young talent in the motorcycling world that the ‘Torrens Trophy’ is awarded to those deemed to have made significant contributions to furthering motorcycling, and it is equally fitting the book was launched in the RAC Club in Pall Mall, where Torrens would have worked during his ACU time. So, Richard Bourne, if you don’t mind me asking you a few questions…
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