Born in Shropshire soon after the end of the First World War, venerable motoring writer W de Forte has driven everything from his grandfather's first Daimler, to modern-day supercars ... ridden everything from vertiginous Victorian penny farthings, to high velocity twenty-first century superbikes ... travelled everywhere from the permafrost of the Arctic Circle to the baking sands of the Baja Peninsula ... and met everyone from Tazio Nuvolari to Valentino Rossi.
W de Forte enjoyed an eventful career as a top-level journalist, spanning 75 years, during which time he tested many thousands of cars and reported on countless automotive events around the world. This made him uniquely qualified to comment on all aspects of classic and vintage motoring and motorcycling.
Relatively undimmed by age and ague, even in his mid-90s, de Forte had no plans to retire, but, in late 2014, a high-speed prang while testing a wayward Rudge Ulster at a racing circuit in Belgium brought him up with a jolt, both literally and metaphorically. After recuperating in hospital, he settled down to write his long-awaited and much requested auto-biography.
This unique and insightful book is the result. Packed with fascinating stories about classic cars and motorcycles, A Life Awheel - the 'Auto' Biography of W de Forte is an account of an extraordinary motoring life, and the story of motoring in the 20th century.
Richard Skelton has been a motorcyclist since first taking to the road on a Yamaha FS1-E on his 16th birthday in 1976, and his first book, Funky Mopeds, was about the 1970s sports moped phenomenon in which he played an active part.
After 30 years working in the television industry as a sound editor, and time spent working as a newspaper reporter, as well as a writer for BikeSport News and other racing publications, he now combines writing books about motorcycles and classic cars with running a small B&B in the Yorkshire Pennines.
Wilberforce de Forte was born shortly after the end of the First World War, in the village of Bales, Shropshire, where he still lives. He is the son of Gordon Bennett Cup car racer Basil de Forte, and the grandson of Sir Cecil de Forte, a gentleman farmer who owned the first car in the county.
As a young man, de Forte established himself as a successful independent motoring writer, working for a number of specialist automotive periodicals. During the Second World War, de Forte served with distinction throughout Europe in the Army Transport Corps, and he continued to write whenever his duties allowed.
Subsequently, de Forte travelled the world as a motoring journalist, and his outpourings continued unabated until a high speed prang while testing a wayward Rudge Ulster, in the autumn of 2014, brought him up with a jolt.
Once back home in Bales, he removed himself to his study on a semi-permanent basis, wherein he started work on an autobiographical memoir, a work much requested over very many years, and now eagerly anticipated by friends and motoring historians alike.
"quite impossible to put aside ... the perfect book to take on holiday ... treat yourself"
"this is a novel way of providing information on a very eclectic collection of vehicles which will appeal to those who normally find non-fiction a little dry, while at the same time those who are historians may find this volume equally entertaining."
"It's beautifully written and very funny, making it a great, inexpensive read for motoring enthusiasts of any age."
"sure, it's a work of fiction but an amusing one all the same"