“I read it in eight hours. I couldn’t put it down! I felt like I was actually on the bike and at the parties! I know nothing about motorbike racing, but now I want to do it!”
--Andrew Edmonson, Director of Vulcan to the Sky, ex-member of the Royal Air Force
There are many stories and some films about motorcycle racing, all of them glamorous and about winning world titles, trophies, and big money. But Deno Chapman had written a much different kind of story, one drawn from what he personally experienced, in his debut novel, The Racers.
Deno is a motorcycle racer who competed in several UK club championships, and the UK National GP250cc Championship between 2003-2009. Now living in Dubai, he continues his passion for racing by writing about it, which in truth, involves much less debt, and far fewer visits to hospital.
“I saw everyday guys who put their lives on the line every weekend they raced,” says Deno. “These were working-class heroes who were paying for it themselves and risking it all just for the thrill of it, then going back to work on a Monday morning to put bread on the table. I wanted the world to see their story, their struggle. In my story there would be no big paydays or world champions; I wanted the world to read about butchers, bakers and engineers who do it just for the thrill, which is the real reason we race. This story was written about amateur racers, so that their story could be told.”
The Racers is a book that only one who has raced could write.
“It is one of the most insanely thrilling things you could ever do,” gushes Deno about racing. “Especially when you are learning the game, it’s a total sensory overload of sound, blurred vision, pumped arms, oily smells and above all, adrenaline by the truckload! If you like riding motorcycles, be careful reading this book, because your race license application will be filled in after reading it. There’s a saying in ‘bike racing, “it’s more expensive than a heroin habit and twice as hard to give up!” That tells you all you need to know.”
Deno started club-level competitive motorcycle racing exactly 20 years ago — and it had a huge impact on his life. He says the people associated with racing all seemed to be larger than life, as though they were real-life characters in a story.
“I knew a guy who raced who had a glass eye and another with a prosthetic leg,” said Deno.
“The guy with the prosthetic leg crashed one afternoon in front of me and his ‘false’ leg came off right in front of the crowd. None of them knew the leg was fake though, so there were ladies feinting and screaming children, left, right and center until the ambulance arrived to tend to him. You can’t write stuff like that! So, the inspiration was the real-life characters, many of whom lend their traits to the characters in the story.”
Readers will feel the adrenaline rush of roaring into the wind, taking high-speed risks, making split-second decisions, and fly-by-the-seat maneuvers.
“If you love suspense, thrill, and laughter – and have never thrown a leg over a bike, “this book is for you,” says Deno. “It’s also for anyone who has ever ridden a motorbike, from a 50cc dirt bike to a 500-pound Harley, who has wondered what it might be like to race. This story gives you insight on what it is really like, from the torn nerves and adrenaline highs, to the lows of the DNF (did not finish) and inevitable crashes.”