Red Dust Racers in Top Three for Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year 2017

The centenary history of Lake Perkolilli, Red Dust Racers, by Graeme Cocks was one of the top three specialist motoring books of the year according to the RAC of the UK.  At an award ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club at Pall Mall in London on 1 November 2017, the award was presented to a book on Delage racing cars.

It was an exciting night with Damon Hill’s autobiography also receiving Book of the Year.

The top three for Red Dust Racers follows up from being recognised as a finalist in the International Historic Motoring Awards Book of the Year 2017 and receiving the Gold Medal in the Transportation category of the International Independent Publisher’s Awards in New York.

Red Dust Racers is now the most internationally-acclaimed Australian motoring book ever published.  Not bad for a book about a dusty claypan near Kalgoorlie!



Red Dust Racers on the Shortlist for the Prestigious RAC UK Motoring Book of the Year 2017

We received some great news over the weekend, embargoed until this morning in London. My book Red Dust Racers, about Lake Perkolilli, has been short-listed for the Royal Automobile Club of the United Kingdom’s Motoring Book of the Year Awards of 2017.  As one of the most prestigious motoring organisations in the world it is very exciting that the book has been acclaimed as one of the club’s top six books of 2017 — not bad for a book about a claypan in the bush near Kalgoorlie!  The announcement is attached. We now keep our fingers-crossed for the final announcement on 1 November.
Red Dust Racers was previously awarded the gold medal in the Transportation category of the Independent Publishers Book Awards at BookExpo America in New York on 30 May 2017 and was shortlisted for Book of the Year at the International Historic Motoring Awards in London.

Royal Automobile Club announces shortlist 
for its 2017 Motoring Book of the Year 

Six superb contenders for the 2017 Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year Award have just been shortlisted by a special panel of independent judges.

The winner, chosen from a rich mixture of masterful new reference works, riveting driver biographies, and extraordinary untold stories, will be announced on Wednesday 1st November at a ceremony to be held at the Club’s Pall Mall clubhouse.

“We never fail to be amazed at the quality and variety of titles our hugely experienced judges propose for the Award,” said Peter Read, the Club’s Motoring Committee Chairman. “This year the stand-out books were clear from the start but, as ever, the debate to choose a winner has been arduous.

“This Club loves books – we have one of the world’s finest motoring libraries, one we add to constantly – and we believe fervently in the written, and printed, word. We want our Award to be an incentive for authors to keep striving for excellence and originality.”

This year’s judging panel includes newcomers Tom Wiltshire, who reviews books for leading weekly magazine Auto Express, and Mark Dixon, the widely respected deputy editor of Octane magazine. They join Christian Whitehead from the motoring department of London bookstore Foyles, leading independent motoring bookseller Ben Horton of Hortons Books, Gordon Cruickshank from Motor Sport magazine, Classic & Sports Car magazine international editor Mick Walsh, and commentator and reviewer Henry Hope-Frost.

As judges who are totally independent of the Royal Automobile Club, they represent the UK’s most informed motoring literary critics.

The six titles now in the running for the Royal Automobile Club’s 2017 Motoring Book of the Year Award are:

• Red Dust Racers by Graeme Cocks, published by Motoring Past Vintage.
“Fantastic photos, memorabilia and anecdotes revive the memory of the Australian Outback racing institution that was Lake Perkolilli” – Mark Dixon.

• Jaguar C-type: The Autobiography of XKC 051 by Chas Parker and Philip Porter, published by Porter Press.
“Duncan Hamilton’s character and the family connection gave it a warmer feel – and the spat over Top Gear enlivened it too” – Gordon Cruickshank.

• Watching The Wheels: My Autobiography by Damon Hill, published by Pan Macmillan.
“Fabulously frank and cerebral account. One of the very finest sports biographies of its generation.” – Henry Hope-Frost.

• Stephen South: The Way It Was by Darren Banks, published by Performance Publishing.
The publisher should be proud of their remarkable first attempt on a driver you haven’t heard of, but soon will” – Christian Whitehead.

• Delage – Champion Du Monde by Daniel Cabart & Christophe Pund, published by Orep Editions.
“Perfectly timed for the 90th anniversary of the Gallic Grand Prix great, vividly covers development, competition, drivers, and individual chassis histories” – Mick Walsh.

• Continental Journeys: The Definitive History of the Bentley R-type and S-type Continental Models From 1952 to 1965 by David Bassoli, published by Nubes Argentea.
“Here is an investment book of the future – if you want a truly excellent example of specialist publishing then this is it” – Ben Horton.

One of these books will receive the coveted Royal Automobile Club 2017 Motoring Book of the Year Award on 1 November. In addition, one other book from the leading six will receive the judges’ accolade of ‘Specialist Book of The Year’ for an impressive feat of research and endeavour.

The evening isn’t all about giving out awards though. Racing legend, Howden Ganley, will be interviewed on stage and announce a fascinating new venture, while expert panellists will debate the pros and cons of book collecting.

“Our Award, and the evening that goes with it, has created a unique focus for motoring book publishing in this country,” added Peter Read. “We feel 2017 will be a vintage year for the event, and once again prove that the best books will ensure this area of publishing remains vibrant and relevant.”

The Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year Awards is one of the one of the most important events during the Club’s annual London Motor Week – a week in which the Club presents an array of functions and events to suit all motoring tastes, which this year includes its annual Art of Motoring exhibition, the Motoring Lectures, a Motoring Forum, a dinner with FIA President Jean Todt and the Dewar and Simms Trophy presentations, awarded for British engineering excellence. The week culminates with the free-to-view Regent Street Motor Show on Saturday 4th November and the world-famous Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox.

For more information on London Motor Week, visit

Notes to Editors:
About The Royal Automobile Club
The Royal Automobile Club was founded in 1897 and its distinguished history mirrors that of motoring itself. In 1907, the Club was awarded its Royal title by King Edward VII, sealing the Club’s status as Britain’s oldest and most influential motoring organisation.

The Club’s early years were focused on promoting the motor car and its place in society, which developed into motoring events such as the 1000 Mile Trial, first held in 1900. In 1905, the Club held the first Tourist Trophy, which remains the oldest continuously competed for motor sports event. The Club promoted the first pre-war and post-war Grands Prix at Brooklands in 1926 and Silverstone in 1948 respectively, whilst continuing to campaign for the rights of the motorist, including introducing the first driving licences.

Today, the Club continues to develop and support automobilism through representation on the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Motor Sport Association (MSA), and RAC Foundation while promoting its own motoring events including London Motor Week, which features the free-to-attend Regent Street Motor Show on Saturday 4th November and the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox, which takes place on Sunday 5th November.

The Royal Automobile Club also awards a series of historic trophies and medals celebrating motoring achievements. These include the Segrave Trophy, the Tourist Trophy, the Simms Medal, the Dewar Trophy and the Torrens Trophy.

Albany’s Racing Revolution 1936-1940 – OUT NOW





Albany cover final AMENDEDBUY NOW AT


Albany’s Racing Revolution 1936~1940 subtitled A Pictorial Celebration of the Around the Houses Races, written by West Australian motoring historian Graeme Cocks and published by Motoring Past Vintage Publishing, tells the story of the first motor races at Albany.

The book features more than 140 photographs collected over many years. Every race from 1936 to 1940 is featured. Many of the pictures have not previously been published.

“The photographs tell the story of the winners and the losers, the cars and the drivers and the spectators who flocked to the south coastal town to see something new to Australia — racing on city streets,” said Graeme Cocks.

“All the local legends of the sport are included: Jack Nelson in his Ballot Special, Ossie Cranston in his Ford V8 Special, Allan Tomlinson in his Australian Grand Prix winning MG and a host of lesser known names from the early races.”

“The Albany Grand Prix was regarded as the ultimate prize in Western Australian motor sport in the 1930s and the pictures vividly illustrate the intensity of the competition. These races were very hard fought,” he said.

“The cars were also unlike the race cars of today. Many were regular cars turned into racers, while others were thoroughbred European racing cars from famous names such as Bugatti.”

The book has been produced in softcover and in limited quantities. Bu your copy now at

Graeme Cocks’ last book, Red Dust Racers, recently won the Gold Medal in the Transportation category of the 21st Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards in New York. The award will be presented on 30 May 2017 at the BookExpo publishing convention in New York which is North America’s largest gathering of book trade professionals attracting an audience from around the globe. The book on motor racing at Lake Perkolilli near Kalgoorlie was also shortlisted at the International Historic Motoring Awards in London in December 2016, making it one of the top eight motoring books worldwide last year. Mr Cocks is the only Australian writer to be shortlisted twice at these awards. He was short-listed in 2015 for his previous book The Mighty MG Magnettes of 33.
Since it was launched in August last year, the book Red Dust Racers has taken the story of a forgotten motor racing track near an abandoned ghost town to a world audience. The limited edition book has found customers in Europe, USA, Asia and Africa as well as in every Australian state.

Motoring Past Vintage Publishing also has other great West Australian motoring books including Albany motor racing identity Phil Shephard’s new book The World’s Fastest E-Type Jaguar – The Quest for the Record. The book is the story of Team Shephard and their quest for speed on the dry salt of Lake Gairdner in South Australia. Every year, Phil and his team took their E-Type across the Nullarbor to find out just how fast an E-Type could go. It’s a great story of how a knockabout bunch of West Aussie’s accomplished what hadn’t been achieved before.

Other books for sale include Red Dust Racers, The Mighty MG Magnettes of 33 about the greatest era of MG racing in the 1930s, Chassis 141 – the Story of the First Le Mans Bentley, and Albany A Go Go about motor racing in Albany after the war.




Graeme Cocks has always had a passion for stinking, noisy, dirty and uncomfortable early motor racing cars.

Trained as a journalist at the Western Australian Institute of Technology, he worked briefly in journalism before giving away the journo’s life and backpacking around the world. Returning to Perth, he began a career in travel writing before being drawn to the world of public relations at communications manager at the WA Tourism Commission.

A chance opportunity to represent the tourism body in the Genevieve 500 Race in 1992 re-kindled his interest in old cars and then he saw the old bangers racing around Midland at the Gull Speed Classic in 1994. He had to have one. His search for a suitable car led him to re-create a Chrysler called Silverwings which raced at Lake Perkolilli in 1927. He had to know more about this place he’d never heard of but he was distracted by sailing ships.

His passion for historic ships which began with a stint working for the HM Bark Endeavour Foundation in Fremantle and South Africa, led to him taking a leading role in the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation which began constructing a replica of Duyfken, the first ship recorded in history to visit Australia. He accepted the challenge of a new role as Project Director of the Foundation. He supervised the completion of the ship and arranged the first reenactment voyage of Duyfken to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Golf of Carpentaria in 2000. He then arranged the longest reenactment voyage ever conducted by an Age of Discovery replica ship before or since, from Sydney to Amsterdam via Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, South Africa and the Azores in 2001-2002 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Dutch East India Company.

He was enticed back to Fremantle to be the first general manager of the Fremantle Motor Museum, at the time, the largest private museum in Australia. The new job rekindled his long standing interest in historic motor racing and he produced a number of publications on Western Australian motoring history.

In 2007 he was awarded the unusual and esoteric honour of “Member of the Order of the Knights Templar” in Australia for services to motoring and maritime history.

In 2015, his major work The Mighty MG Magnettes of 33 about the remarkable MG racing cars and their drivers from 1933 was shortlisted for the London-based International Historic Motoring Awards.

For 20 years, in between arranging international sea voyages for a sailing ship, managing museums and writing other books, he was beavering away on the story of Lake Perkolilli, intent on bringing this unknown part of Australian motoring history to a wide audience. The centenary of motor racing at Perko in 2014 provided the spur to complete the book, and Red Dust Racers is the result.