Eight Late Gifts For A Motorcycle Racing Fan

With just one more day to go until Christmas, time is running out to find the perfect gift for the motorcycle racing fan in your life. Fortunately, there are still a few options left open to you. Some, you will be able to present to your loved one on the day itself, others may not arrive in time for Christmas, but you can be certain they will be a massive success for the diehard motorcycle racing fan. Below are eight options for when the shops are shut:

Motocourse Annual

Often referred to in the paddock as the Bible of motorcycle racing, the Motocourse annual is an almost compulsory purchase for any serious motorcycle racing fan. Compiled by veteran Grand Prix reporter Michael Scott, the Motocourse annual contains a race-by-race review of the MotoGP and World Superbike seasons, a technical review of the MotoGP machines, and in-depth articles explaining the background to all of the big events in the world of motorcycle racing. The AMA and BSB series are also covered, as well as the Irish and international road racing scene.

The annual is available at Amazon and other sellers, but anyone buying the book directly from the Motocourse website will also receive a bonus worth the purchase price alone: access to Motocourse's online archive of historic editions, currently featuring the years 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 2010. The online archive is also available as a separate digitial subscription, giving access to the same historic editions.

Price: GBP 35 for the 2012 Motocourse Annual, GBP 25 for the online subscription.

More information: The Motocourse website


MotoGP Season Review by Julian Ryder

For a more in-depth view focusing solely on MotoGP, there is Julian Ryder's MotoGP Season Review 2012. The Season Review, published by leading automotive publisher Haynes, covers MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3, and features 8 pages of in-depth coverage of each race weekend, as well as analysis of the technology and background in the series by top writers such as Peter Clifford and Mat Oxley. One of the nicest features of the book is the statistics and figures page for each race, such as this one for the final round at Valencia.

The MotoGP Season Review 2012 is available on most major book seller sites, as well as directly from Haynes. The nice thing about the Haynes website is that it shows several example pages in PDF, giving you a very good feel for the content of the annual.

Price: GBP 30

More information: The Haynes website


MotoMatters 2013 Motorcycle Racing Calendar

No motorcycle racing fan cave is complete without a MotoMatters Motorcycle Racing Calendar. This year, the calendar is bigger and better, and as always features the very best of Scott Jones' stunning photography from 2012. Below each photo is a short summary of the featured rider's year, and the most essential planning tool for any race fan: the calendar, with a complete listing of MotoGP and World Superbike events for the current month. The calendar also features listings for the birthdays of many of the top riders of both series, as well as the legends of motorcycle racing such as Kevin Schwantz and Giacomo Agostini.

The calendar is available from the MotoMatters.com store, where you can also order older calendars or take out a subscription. Though the calendar is unlikely to reach you in time for Christmas, you can download and print our PDF gift voucher to give, while you wait for the calendar to arrive. The proceeds from the calendar help to support the site, and send David Emmett and Scott Jones around the world to report on MotoGP and World Superbikes. 

Price: $27.95 plus shipping, or $15.95 for readers who support the site through a subscription.

More information:  The MotoMatters.com store


Personalized Autographed Cal Crutchlow Prints From Scott Jones

Scott Jones photo of Cal CrutchlowThough the MotoMatters.com calendar is a beautiful showcase for Scott Jones' outstanding photographic talent, it does make you hungry for more. Fortunately, Scott has plenty more to offer. Alongside the normal fare of superbly produced photographic prints, Scott also offers something very special indeed for the dedicated motorcycle racing fan. Scott has been able to partner with Cal Crutchlow to produce personalized and autographed prints of Scott's photos of the British star. You have the opportunity to select your own favorite shot of Crutchlow from Scott's extensive online archive, and have Crutchlow sign and dedicate it to you personally. This is truly a very unique gift for that special MotoGP fan.

In addition to the special Crutchlow offer, Scott also has two very special signed limited edition prints indeed: one of Casey Stoner, coming over Lukey Heights at Phillip Island, and one of Kenny Roberts, riding the fire-breathing TZ750 dirt track bike, in both 2009 and 1979.

Price: Varies, contact Scott for details

More information: Cal Crutchlow order page on Scott Jones' website


Honda MotoGP Photo Journal

For the hardcore Honda fan, who wants only photos of the riders on his favorite brand, Honda Racing Corporation have produced their own photo review of 2012. The hardcover book features a selection of photographs from all 18 MotoGP race weekends, and being produced by Honda, focuses entirely on the exploits of Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa. Along with stunning photographs of the on-track action, the book also features a host of behind-the-scenes photos taken throughout the 2012 season. It is a history in pictures of how Stoner, Pedrosa and Honda fared throughout 2012, and a great souvenir of Casey Stoner's final year in MotoGP.

Price: $44

More information:  On the HRC MotoGP page on Blurb


Andrew Wheeler Gift Certificate

If the motorcycle racing fan in your life is particularly fussy about who they have hanging on their walls, then the ideal option is a gift certificate. MotoGP photographic genius Andrew Wheeler is offering a range of gift certificates which can be used to buy prints of any of his photos, or some of the especially produced photo books he has produced, on Marco Simoncelli and on Casey Stoner. Wheeler has been shooting for many years now, and has shot MotoGP, World Superbikes and the AMA series, so if you are looking for an iconic shot of Ben Spies or Mat Mladin, a photo of Max Biaggi, or a print of the legendary Rossi/Stoner incident at the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca, Andrew Wheeler has it.

If Wheeler's luxuriant style is not what you are looking for, you could also try one of the many other photographers working in the MotoGP paddock. Apart from our very own Scott Jones, of course, you could try Cormac Ryan Meenan, Martin Heath, or for more intimate portraits, Niki Kovacs.

Price: $125, $250 and $500

More information:  Andrew Wheeler's Automotophoto website

Double Red British Superbike Book

If the Motocourse coverage of BSB is a little too sparse for you, then you have an alternative. Photographic agency Double Red produce their own season review of the British Superbike series, one of the most exciting racing series on the planet. The book features race reports for each round by Larry Carter, as well as extensive photography by Double Red's shooters. With such iconic names as Nori Haga and Shakey Byrne racing in the series, this is a must-have for any BSB fan. Double red also produce a photo review book of the FIM Endurance Championship, featuring photos from every round of the series, including the legendary Le Mans 24 hour race and the Bol D'Or.

Price: GBP 30

More information:  the Double Red online store


MotoGP Season Review DVDs

Want to relive the highlights of the 2012 MotoGP season once again, and go over the races with a fine-tooth comb, to see what really happened? Then the official MotoGP season review DVDs are for you. The MotoGP season review takes an in-depth look at the 2012 MotoGP season, retelling the story of the class once the bikes returned to their full 1000cc glory. There is a separate Moto2 and Moto3 season review, covering the epic battle between Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro in Moto2, motorcycle racing's most exciting class, and the brand new and extremely successful Moto3 class, which quickly established itself in the hearts of racing fans. Along with the main season reviews, Duke have a series of other MotoGP-related products, as well as videos of BSB and roadracing, including the legendary documentary Closer To The Edge, about the 2010 Isle of Man TT.

Price: GBP 14.99 for MotoGP 2012, GBP 12.98 for Moto2/Moto3

More information: The Duke MotoGP DVD website

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So I ordered the 2012 Motocourse. After almost exactly one month, it arrived.

I have to say I'm disappointed: in the past, the photography was its major strength, both on-track action and of the bikes at rest.

First, almost all the major action photos have been poorly prepared for printing: they look dark and the dark tones have merged into black. Whether this is because the gamma was set for web presentation and this wasn't corrected for the contrast range available from ink on paper, or the print process was not up to spec, I don't know, but it's very noticeable. Strangely, portrait and other non-action photos are fine. I know it rained a lot this year, but looking at this book you'd suppose the whole season was raced at twilight in bad weather. I suspect some scrimping on the print quality.

Second, where once we could have hoped for a rich crop of photos of the bikes in the bits, the main illustrations in the presentations of the bikes are now artist impressions. Gone are the days of measuring the swingarm lengths and front end geometry. No doubt this is due to the increasing paranoia of the teams, but they can't expect fans to maintain an interest in their technical advances if they won't reveal anything! It's all the more pathetic if most of the development is electronic... we can't even have access to the crumbs!

I can understand your disappointment. Even in the four years I have been in the paddock, the secrecy surrounding factory bikes has become worse and worse, and taken on rather ridiculous and pathetic proportions. Each garage now even has what look like folding room screens so that nobody can see anything if the team has to remove some of the bodywork.

The best thing about the CRT bikes is you could wander up to them and take a close look, without being shooed away by mechanics. These kind of pictures are normal for a CRT bike, impossible for a factory bike:

(Copyright Ben Davies of Smartfotos.co.uk