Currently competing in: BTRDA Allrounders and Autosolo championships, sprints and hillclimbs, Rallycross.
Career highlights: BTRDA Allrounders Gold Star Champion 2016, 2x BTRDA Autosolo Challenge Champion.
What got you interested in motor sport in the first place?
I used to go and watch my dad compete in Autotests from the age of 3 I think. I had my own little pedal powered go-kart that I used to practice my reverse throws and handbrake turns in…I think there’s some embarrassing footage on a BTRDA anniversary video somewhere…
What car do you use now, and how much does a season cost you?
I’ve had a 1988 Vauxhall Nova 1.3 SR for over 12 years now. We’ve fixed and modified it along the way to keep us competitive, and I still get a lot of pleasure from extracting every last inch of performance out of it! I’ve also got a Renault Clio 172 Cup, and my dad’s Mazda Mx5 Mk1 in the ‘Yapp stable’ – different horses for different courses. An average season in an Autosolo is inexpensive - £30 entry fee per event, plus some new rubber now and again. You could do 10 events per season and see change from £500.
What do you enjoy about your particular form of motorsport?
I actually competed in the first ever AutoSOLO run by Bristol Motor Club, back in 2002, in my Gran’s 1100cc Fiesta. The Nova came along shortly afterwards, and I really enjoyed the incredibly close, fierce, yet friendly rivalry that ensued both within the different class battles, and for overall honours.
What tips would you pass onto someone who wants to start competing?
AutoSOLOs are a great form of motorsport, for both beginners, and so-called experts. They require a great degree of precision and skill to get every last inch out of the car. My biggest tips would be, firstly, to have fun. Everybody is very friendly, and always pleased to welcome newcomers to the sport. It is a good idea to walk each course layout at least twice (there are normally four different layouts per day). Each layout has cones laid out and these are normally numbered, so it is very easy to see where you’re going. However, the walk is good to note key cones in terms of your lines. I always look 3-4 cones ahead when I’m walking and later driving in order to keep my line as smooth and fast as possible. The key to AutoSOLOs is momentum, and the best lines will give you the best momentum. You also want to ensure that you’re always doing something, if you’re not braking, then why aren’t you on the accelerator?! That’s what I keep telling my dad anyway.
Why would you recommend taking up motor sport?
Motor sport has proved to be a welcome distraction from the relative stresses of daily life for me. When you are competing, you are able to channel your efforts into being competitive, and getting the most out of yourself and the car on any given day. It is also enjoyable developing the car as you go along to suit your driving style. When you’re in the car, it’s just you, the car, and the course ahead, and there can be a sense of mastery when you keep improving. It can often then you give you a sense of confidence and accomplishment to take back into the working week.