Racing - what can I say? It is a passion, an experience, an expensive hobby, something that's in the blood - who knows? But it has to be one of my favourite things, from getting the car ready, to sorting out what tools to take with you, wondering whether to buy a tent or just get up early. And not to mention the excitment of the kids. I suppose I've always loved cars which I have Donnie, my Dad, to thank for that. He is a retired shepherd and a mechanical wizard. I think I did my first clutch with him when I was 8 years old on a Morris Minor. It sticks in my mind because we put the drive plate in the wrong way around and it all had to come out again. (A mistake which has never been repeated!) Donnie would build race engines for people and modify cars for them to earn money to support his passion for hill climbing and sprinting a special saloon mini. I just seemed to always be working with him. Sometimes whether I liked it or not, so I suppose that's how it got started.
A sunny Doune hill climb, a dry Ingliston sprint, a wet knockhill race. I was there with him. Knockhill tests were the best. Back in the days before the Health and Safety laws, at the tender age of 12, at the end of a test day Dad would let me do some laps. I was the kiddie. I was fast and it was mega. So why was the Vicar overtaking me on his pushbike going down the back straight? (Good times!)
I did go on to get a bit quicker. I started competing in my Mk I Escort while Dad was competing with the Mini. I did maybe 6 events but the car just wasn't quick enough. Then good old Dad decided to let me double enter with him in the Mini which I think at the time had a 1460 motor in it. A new me was born. It seemed I was quick after all, beating a lot of the good old boys including Dad. We sold the Mini saloon after we simply could not modify it any more. We did a deal for a Maguire space frame Mini (the dogs danglies in its day).
We then decided that we could not go any further with the old girl, and we made the hard decision to sell. (Big mistake). I should have known when I towed it away - the look on Dad's face said it all. Anyway the car went to Japan and we went to a single seater.
We got our hands on an ex-works Lola 86/50, which originally ran with a DFV lump in it. Obviously, due to budget constraints, we were unable to buy the car with that engine. So, it was sold to us with a 12A rotary turbo instead. We had the car for a few years and although we made it look stunning, on our budget we were unable to get the best out of it.