My love of cars began at the age of four, when my father adapted an avocado green Mini for me to drive around the family farm.
I had my first car accident at that age too, which must break some sort of record. I was driving towards a bridge that wasn’t there and I ended up driving my Mini into a stream.
My current road car is a four-litre Jaguar XJ8, but I’m not fussy about models, makes or what the number plate says. The main purpose of a road car is for transport, and mine does everything I need it to – it’s fast, comfortable and gets me everywhere I have to be.
It’s a different story when it comes to the Jaguars I build to race, though. That’s my real passion, and it’s a bit of a contrast to the day job as a solicitor. I have no formal mechanical training, but I build the Jaguars from scratch so I know my way round them pretty well. I get a lot of raised eyebrows in the racing paddock when people find out what I do for a living. “Nice car”, they say to me. “You built it yourself? Aren’t you supposed to pay someone to do it for you?”
My racing car is a highly modified 1983 six-cylinder manual car called “Helen,” which I built from the ground up. We have been very successful over the last seven years of racing. Helen comes alive on the track and she’s brilliant at what she does. At Oulton Park in 2008 she became the first car of her class to ever win a race outright, which she repeated at Anglesey in 2009.
To this day, she is the only roadgoing-class car to manage that feat. She won the class championships in 2008, 2009, 2010, had a rest for 2011 and did it again in 2012.
We went on to take the overall title in 2010, with my brother as a close second in the sister car, which was a real high point in my racing career so far. It’s not all about the winning, but it definitely makes the hard work worthwhile.
As a team we have several cars, and they all have women’s names, but Helen is the only one named after a real person. Helen is the only one that is road-legal too - but it’s only occasionally that I dare to take her out. Racing has actually calmed my driving down a lot, I’ve nothing to prove. Open up a car of Helen’s capacity on a public highway and you could lose your licence in five seconds, and your job and liberty in ten.