I went to watch my first rally in Penistone when I was 12-years-old and as soon as I passed my driving test I joined Rotherham Motor Club and drove a MK2 Escort in my first event in 1982.
It was a family thing and we were on a tight budget then so couldn’t afford decent tyres or anything, so never did much in those early years. To get a better drive for a while, we hired cars – a better MK2 Escort, a 2.0 litre Vauxhall Astra and then a Lada Riva that handled very much like an Escort but was built like a tank.
I loved it, but then family came along and I concentrated on them and the business. It wasn’t until I saw my landmark 50th birthday looming on the horizon that I returned to competitive driving last year.
I now drive a Prodrive two-litre Subaru Impreza with my son Mathew, aged 21, beside me as navigator. We started competing in national events last year and I think we very quickly got back up to speed. We were thrilled to finish winner of the Motor Sport Association Asphalt National Rally Championship (N group cars). This year, it’s going well too. Our confidence is growing and we most recently won our class at the Manx National Rally on the Isle of Man and have just entered our first European event, the Monteberg Rallysprint, near Brussels in Belgium, where we finished ninth overall.
Amateur rallying is not all about me, Mathew, the car of course and we’ve got a great Yorkshire team behind us. We’re very grateful to our business sponsors DAF, F&G Commercials, Mirage Electronic Cigarettes, Sheffield Rolling Road, Quidbake, Signs Xtra and KHA Business Solutions.
And we wouldn’t be without the expertise of Alex Taylor of Northern Body Shell Prep of Thirsk, who provides our event servicing. The car regularly takes a bashing and needs a lot of maintenance.
My ambition is to keep getting better results and move up to the UK’s premier competition, the British Rally Championship in 2016. Rallying has a massive following and growing TV coverage.
There is nothing like the thrill of flying through the air over a blind crest or driving along a road between cliff face and the sea. It feels great to be back behind the wheel and competing.