Lives: Poole, Dorset
DOB: March 1968
Occupation: Director of kitchen appliance refurbishment business.
Currently competing in: Hillclimb and Sprint Association Championship (HSA).
Career highlights: Winning the Bristol Motor Club MX5 championship in 2015, and finishing 2nd in 2016. 2nd in class in 2016 in the HSA championship for road going cars up to 2000cc and 3rd in class in the ACSMC sprint championship in 2016.
What got you interested in motor sport in the first place?
Back in the late 1980s a friend, who I was at college with at the time, was building a 'space framed' Morris Minor hillclimb car. I went to watch him compete at Gurston Down hillclimb in Wiltshire and was immediately hooked by the atmosphere of the event and knew I had to get in to motor sport and hillclimbing in particular.
Where/how did you get started?
My first season was in 1988 when I was 19 years old. I bought a Mk1 Escort Mexico and with the help of my friend modified it to make it potentially competitive for speed events. I booked myself a place at an event at Gurston's renowned hillclimb venue in Wiltshire, in the up to 2000cc road going class. Although I wasn't that successful I thoroughly enjoyed the event and did a couple of seasons mostly at Gurston as it was pretty local to me. Sadly I had to stop competing due to buying a house and getting married. However I always dreamt that one day I would get back to it and about 23 years later in 2013 I got started again!
What car do you use now, and how much does a season cost you?
I now compete in a 1996 Mazda MX5. The Mazda has been steadily developed over the last four years into a very competitive and often class winning car. I tend to compete in around 12 to 14 events a year with entry fees of around £1500 in total over the season. Of course on top of that is travelling to and from venues across the southern part of the UK which I do using my trusty old motor home and trailer which keeps accommodation costs down. Maintenance and development of the car can be expensive, especially if you can't do the work your self. Newcomers with a small budget would be well advised to look at the standard production classes where a stock road car can be used competitively.
What do you enjoy about your particular form of motor sport?
Hillclimbing is a very sociable and friendly form of motor sport where everyone is happy to help or give advice. I have made many new friends over the last few years. Then of course there is the adrenaline buzz of negotiating a narrow tarmac course of about 1200 meters in length as fast and precisely as possible, where every mistake can cost 10ths of seconds and can see you drop back down the class leader board. It certainly blows away the cobwebs after a week at work!
What tips would you pass onto someone who wants to start competing?
There is no need to spend lots of money to get started in hillclimbs. with an initial budget of around £1500 you could buy yourself a cheap sports or saloon car and the safety equipment (helmet, overalls, gloves, etc) and get out there in the standard production class and do a season or two before spending a fortune modifying a car. Also many of the hillclimb venues run hillclimb school days, which is a fantastically cost effective way of learning the art of hillclimbing.
Why would you recommend taking up motor sport?
It's a great way to build confidence in yourself. It's a very disciplined sport with precision being the name of the game, and of course it's incredibly rewarding and exciting. What's not to like!