Top Dead Center: The Best of Kevin Cameron from Cycle World Magazine

Top Dead Center: The Best of Kevin Cameron from Cycle World Magazine


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780760327272
Publisher: Motorbooks
Publication date: 07/15/2007
Edition description: First
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.81(d)

About the Author

Kevin Cameron is one of the premier motorcycle writers. His feature stories and monthly column have been appearing in the industry's largest-circulation magazine, Cycle World, for more than 20 years. Kevin lives in Gill, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



            Kevin Cameron’s Racing Diary, February 1973

            Sneaking Through the Pits, June 1974

            There is Only One First Place, August 1976

            Daytona ’78: Pitside Fear and Loathing, June 1978

            TDC: Pile With Style, October 1983

            TDC: Come, Daytona, April 1987

            TDC: Diseases of Enthusiasm, October 1987

            TDC: Racer Rx, November 1987

            TDC: Grub, April 1989

            TDC: Fall From Grace, August 1989

            TDC: Sleeping in Vans, April 1990

            Once Warriors, February 1997

            TDC: The Trouble with Teamwork, February 1998

            TDC: Backmen, August 1999


            An American Champion, March 1977

            Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright, April 1979

            In the Eye of the Storm, March 1981

            Flat-Track Crucible, April 1984

            Sole Proprietor, November 1995

            Johnny Be Good, October 1997

            Max to the Front, January 1998

            Uncommon Grace, April 2000

            Being Ben Bostrom, October 2000

            Will to Win, December 2002

            The Best, February 2005


            Leoni: The Italian Connection, January 1983

            Louder Than Money, May 1983

            Soichiro's Ladder, September 1985

            Championship Moto Guzzi, March 1988

            Fast By Ferracci, October 1988

            American Dreamer, April 1989

            Renaissance Man, July 1991

            Forever Young, November 1992

            TDC: John Britten, 1950–1995, December 1995

            The Outsider, May 1997

            TDC: Gordon Jennings, February 2001

            Rocket Science, March 2001


            Rally ‘Round Over There, February 1981

            TDC: Hot Air Engine, February 1982

            TDC: Phobias, January 1984

            TDC: Old World Craftsmanship, October 1984

            TDC: Crooked Style, August 1986

            TDC: Progress, October 1986

            TDC: Fall, Winter, and Spring, January 1987

            TDC: Waterskiing, September 1987

            TDC: The Basement, March 1994

            TDC: Illusion, Disillusion, September 1995

            TDC: Reasons to Romp, February 1997

            TDC: The Home Workshop, November 1997

            TDC: Monastery, January 2000

            TDC: Bound to Burnout?, March 2000

            TDC: Fixing Things, October 2004

            TDC: Faraway, December 2006


What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher June 23, 2007

(from message board) “Hot and tired from my motorcycle-habit-supporting-day job, I figured that I'd check it out for a few minutes, and then grab a much needed shower. I was still at the kitchen table reading, when my wife arrived an hour later. For anyone who has ever twisted a wrench, fired up a torch, or wondered what really happens behind the scenes at the bike races, this is for you. TDC is a collection of Kevin's writings and columns dating back to 71, each with an introduction (all insightful and tinged with a true motorcyclist's humor), and filled with history.”

Cycle World, September 2007

“Clear your schedule, tune up your brain and get ready for a major trip through motorcycle racing and technical history … is compendium of his best work.”

RoadRacing World, January 2008

“Anyone who has ever road raced, is racing, intends to race, goes to or watches the races, in any serious area of the sport at any level, must absorb TDC. You will learn more in this book than in decades at the track.”


Kevin Cameron, two friends, and my wife and I were sitting around a table in the depths of the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, seeking charm among the various piles of food we had gathered for lunch. It was January 2007, and we were at the Javits for Cycle World magazine's massive International Motorcycle Show (IMS) presentation, from which we'd taken temporary refuge in the basement. I can't recall the precise trajectory of the conversation, but Kevin's pursuit of a particular tendril led us to a discussion of the capacity of the on-board pumps needed to convey propellant to the Space Shuttle's motors-one thousand gallons per second-and how exactly those pumps are powered.

I was fascinated. We all were.

Later on, back upstairs on the motorcycle show's main floor, we spent a few more hours patrolling the displays with Kevin, listening in as he conferred perception, humor, and gentle enlightenment on hundreds of displays. I'll never forget a conversation he had with Denis Manning, who was there with Chris Carr and their Land-Speed Record-holding (350.884 miles per hour) streamliner. I had spent a fair amount of time with Denis several months before on the occasion of his induction into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Denis had given several of us a stem-to-stern presentation of the inner workings of his beautiful missile-yet, the brief questions Kevin asked him at the Javits, and Manning's answers, exponentially increased my understanding of Denis' accomplishment.

It has always been like that with Kevin, the finest technical writer the internal combustion press has ever known. I have been privileged to know him for 35 years-Cycle magazine published his firstpiece in an early 1973 issue. Despite his astonishing ability to clarify the physical and chemical and mechanical, it's the way he melds these things into a complete and human environment that yields the magic.

Kevin is the most intensely curious person I've ever known. But curiosity without wisdom is hollow, and wisdom without humanity is cold. If anything, he understands people even better than he understands the miraculous things they conjure, build, and refine. He admires the Lanchester Damper, for example, but has genuine affection for the Lanchester brothers, about whom he knows a great deal.

Like many of us, Kevin is intrigued by the talent and speed of Moto GP's Valentino Rossi, but his discussions of Rossi inevitably lead to the interface between Rossi and Jeremy Burgess, Valentino's crew chief and guru. Ask Kevin about the hierarchical arrangement of a modern European (or American) racing team and he'll take you to the chafing that exists between knowledge and authority-knowledge being the purview of the guys with the laptops while authority is held by the team managers.

Kenny Roberts, perhaps the greatest motorcycle racer who ever lived, was perceived as a gutty little lump of muscle with a gyroscope early in his career. Kevin was one of the first to recognize that Kenny's success was due equally to his intellect. Kevin understood that Kenny's capacity for assimilating vast amounts of information coming at him at the speed of light combined with his creativity, will, and rock-hard self-discipline were what made him a great motorcycle racer.

What is laid out for you here is a banquet of Kevin's finest work. The years go by and the topics change, but through it all you'll discover a unifying theme: understanding of the physical at a molecular level warmed and leavened by Kevin's radiant affection for our sport and the people who have defined, energized, and moved it forward. Kevin would never say it, but I will: he is himself one of those people.

-Cook Neilson
March 27, 2007

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