Ever since I was brought a Burago model of a Jaguar XJ220 coming home from Germany after visiting in the 6 weeks holiday 1994 my eyes were opened to the world of cars. From that day on my collection of model sportscars grew as Dad would bring me one home every time he had a break from work.
I was taken go karting a few times growing up but was too expensive to do as a hobby so the closest thing I got to race was on the Playstation or Xbox.
My love of cars led me to train to be a mechanic but on heavy diesel vehicles rather than cars. One of the perks of my apprenticeship was that being in Southampton docks we covered the roll on roll off cargo ships. My first day on the job I was driving tuned Japanese vehicles it was great!
There would also be the occasional supercar and decks full of rally cars. I got a written warning for “joyriding” past a director in an Ac Cobra.
Sundays would be spent watching motorsport on the television either up my late Grandad’s house or on a black and white portable at work. Be it formula one or touring cars or even Moto GP (silly 2 wheeled crotch rockets).
At the fresh age of 17 I passed my test and bought my first car for £75 it was a 1.0 litre 4 speed Renault 5 with very skinny wheels. I owned it for all of 14 hours before I wrapped it around a lamp post. Inexperience was the was the reason this happened I thought I was the great Stirling Moss. Clearly, I wasn’t.
Having my license gave me freedom! I started meeting with friends in car parks and we started going on drives and to car meets. Eventually illegal street racing meetings it was all good fun. It was then that I wanted to start modifying my car.
I purchased a mk6 1.4 ford which came with some lowering springs. Being young and naive I fitted them to the car not realising how much it would set the vehicle out of balance. I binned it on a corner in a brick wall after doing a couple of 360-degree spins. The imprint of the wheel is still on that wall today. Lesson well and truly learned.
After that I got my first big boys car that went fast it was MK5 XR3i Cabriolet. it looked like a skip on wheels but was fun to drive until the engine seized. After a period in some boring cars, I ended up owning a Nissan 200sx first and only turbo car I have owned shame I damaged my knee 3 days after buying. But I still managed to learn how to go sideways in it.
From the age of 20 to 30, I stuck to rear wheel drive cars in the form of BMWs. I learned how to really drive in these cars. although I stayed clear of modifying them.
Anyhow, I was still watching racing on the television and was offered a pair of tickets to go to the Goodwood Revival meeting and that really influenced me. Seeing vintage cars going around the great Goodwood circuit. The smell of the fuel in the air and the fact that everything was period. Only Vehicles made before 1972 were allowed to compete, sleeping beasts from way back when roared into life and were being driven like they would have been.
From that moment on I made it a priority to go racing! I was fortunate to be working with a man called Jim Robertson, He worked for formula one teams in the 70’s, he raced minis and other vehicles, travelled the world with formula one circus. He gave me some sound advice regarding motorsport and that was :
- Be in the right place at the right time
- Do not be afraid to ask questions because if you do not ask you not get and in the motorsport world that goes miles.
- If you are clever enough you do not need to pay to watch motorsport.
- It’s always about who you know.
With number 3 I have only paid to watch formula 1, you have to be very special to get into those events for free.
Some time went past and some friends and I started doing indoor kart racing and was looking at getting an outdoors kart between us but I ended up going away to work and had my accident which stopped everything to a halt.
I ended up in a state of depression and Jim would invite me racing as his guest being that he was a manager and photographer for many different events. This helped me out an awful lot as it would get me out of the house and back into the environment.
The three years out of work were really giving me troubles I couldn’t do my craft I felt useless. I told Jim this and with that, he was dragging me to Castle Combe to talk about doing a degree. I was given an interview and started in September 2017.
Even though I’m only a few months into the course it has given me a new life with new career goals and being able to feel my worth again. Just studying at a racing circuit makes you want to get up in the mornings. I have learned so many things about how vehicles work in the short time I have been here.
All I need to do now is to be able to get my degree and then get work with a racing team or manufacturer of vehicles. It’s a long road ahead but I have the opportunity to shape my destiny again and still hopefully be able to travel and work at the same time.