Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24MEMBER FEATURE According to my parents I’ve been mesmerised with anything with wheels and an engine since I was aware of such things. May the 4th 1980 at the mature age of 11 years old I accepted an invitation from a neighbour to leave my family for the first time for an eternity (now know as a long weekend), I would go to some faraway strange foreign location called Belgium to watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix at a race track called Zolder. With free reign on the Saturday morning and wondering around the paddock gawping at a new supercar from Japan known as the RX7, I found myself strolling through an open gate into the pit lane to poke around the shiny Essex Lotus I was supporting that year and chatting to a very polite chap who explained how he had raced and did rather well in the orange and white cars a few years before. Our conversation was cut short and was gestured out of the pit lane by a security guy where I got the impression I wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place. It was many years later after watching a documentary on TV about motorsport that I recognised the very polite chap I was chatting with – apparently James Hunt! The moment I turned 17 years old I would live the life of a racing driver. Using all the money my Rolls-Royce apprentice salary would allow I put myself through the Silverstone Racing School to obtain my competition licence. Around the same time I was paid out a massive £1900 in compensation after being hit by a bus and quickly invested this windfall and bought our first Formula Ford and entered the FF1600 championship. During the early weeks the paddock was a pretty friendly place and I made new friends from different countries. Our first race at Thruxton in 1992 saw us finish a respectable 18th out of the grid of 35. My new girlfriend at the time (now my wife, Sasha) was also a young engineer and would stroll around the paddock in the smallest Denim shorts asking the other team mechanics interesting questions about tyre pressures and gear ratios. It wasn’t long before we were regularly finishing in the top 5! Enjoying every minute of the racing life I would regularly accept invitations to other motorsport events. After doing particularly well at a karting event one day and having beaten various drivers from varying motorsport disciplines, I was approached by a chap who was racing saloon cars at the time who gave me his business card and suggested I should come and talk to his boss as they were looking for an additional driver to join their team. I politely declined at that point explaining that I had already received letters of encouragement from 3 teams called Williams, McLaren and Benetton and had no desire to race ‘tin tops’. This turned out to be my single biggest error of judgement and a year later was kicking myself that I had turned down an offer from BMW in the British Touring Car Championship! The BTCC was now really popular so we decided to switch codes and move to saloon racing. In 1996 we purchased Nick Penfold Racing ‘Career’ 1988 – present “Using all the money my Rolls-Royce apprentice salary would allow I put myself through the Silverstone Racing School to obtain my competition licence” 18 Classic Touring Car Racing Club