Petrol in My Blood
An autobiography by Eric Jackson
Eric Jackson was born in a gypsy caravan in Yorkshire, England in 1924.
From these humble beginnings he embarked upon a career that took him all over the world. When in his late eighties, Eric wrote his autobiography outlining his adventures.
But don't think that this is just a book for petrolheads. Even if you don't know the difference between a manifold and a manicure, you'll still enjoy these adventures!
If you know your rallying history, the name Eric Jackson will be familiar to you. You'll remember those epic drives and the many rally successes.Let me tell you why he's familiar to me - he's my dad.
Petrol in My Blood
As Chris Bentley so rightly says "A thriller masquerading as an autobiography."
The story behind Petrol in My Blood
Of course, as I've explained above, the story began in 1924 when my dad was born. Even that wasn't as straightforward as it seems because his mum was ... ahem ... married to someone else at the time and had run off with my granddad, a travelling man who made a living taking his 'dobbies' (fairground rides for children) around the country to fairs and festivals.
And there would have been no story if my dad hadn't started undertaking his weird and wonderful exploits all over the world. The first was his experiences in the war in Berlin (being shot at by Russian guards, anyone?) and the second being an adventure-packed trip to New York in the fifties that features mobsters and mayhem. And that's before the real adventures begin!
But the story started for me about ten years ago in a seafood restaurant during a family dinner. I asked my dad when he was going to write his autobiography. He waved the suggestion away really - at a mere eighty year of age he was far too busy to be bothered with writing a book! But the seed of the idea was planted.
A few years later I started to receive packages of his handwritten manuscript, chapter by chapter. It seems that I had been given the job as editor. This was rather a marathon undertaking because my dad had left school at the age of fourteen and never claimed to be any good at spelling and grammar. However, five years later - yes, five - the book was ready.I am SO VERY proud of my dad.
In the beginning...
Eric began his career when he left school at the tender age of fourteen.
He found himself working in a small car repair business and learned about mechanics and the basics of the business world.
Twenty five years later, he was in Ethiopia, stranded, hungry and thirsty after surviving a bandit attack that had crippled his car and destroyed his water supply.
What had brought him to this part of the world? How did he survive? And what other adventures took place?
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My dad was one of nineteen championship drivers who took part in this mayhem!
In the background of this photograph, you'll see the car that was driven from London to Cape Town ... although there's a funny story in the book about how it came to be displayed. You can see a few of my dad's rallying trophies in the cabinet on the right. The car we are playing with? I've no idea. I just remember its British Racing Green colour. My little brother and sister and I were just having a lot of fun playing at being racing drivers!