It was madness: Grand Prix drivers racing flat out from opposite ends of two long runways, only to turn away from each other at the last moment at corners improvised with hay bales. But such was the major part of the first Grand Prix course ever to be devised at Silverstone. Fortunately there were no head-on collisions, and the next year the organisers hit on a more sensible arrangement. But none of the many subsequent Grand Prix at Silverstone, for all the ever-increasing glamour and hype, has quite engendered the same excitement as that very first one in 1948, even though it was held on a long-disused airfield bereft of modern amenities. Silverstone's Grand Prix of 1948 is a vivid recreation of that important day for British motor sport. But it is more than just the description of one historic race. We follow the various leading participants, both drivers and organisers, as fate draws them inexorably to Silverstone from different parts of the world and from very varied experiences, not least in the recent war. And after that one glorious day in early October is over and the RAC's International Grand Prix of 1948 has become part of motor racing history, we learn what fate had further in store for them. The Race on the Runways captures a moment in time when a few brave souls, enthused with a spirit of adventure, were boldly fighting, like knights of old, against the dragon of post-war depression.
Anthony Meredith has written widely on music, the theatre and the arts generally. His most recent books are 'Lords Through Time' (Amberley 2012), 'Stowe Through Time' (Amberley 2011) and 'The Pilot and the Commando', a dual biography of the Second World War. He has also written Silverstone Through Time. He lives in Buckingham.