How long have you been involved in A Series engines? How did you start?
Why has Swiftune stayed with A Series engines?
What are the Swiftune achievements you are most proud of?
When did you do your first Mini race? How many mini races have you competed in?
Like father, like sonI’ve always known that Swiftune was to be my future. It was a natural progression that I should move into the ‘driving seat’ which I did in 1995.
What is your favourite Mini category?
Most memorable Mini race?
What about some of the Minis you have been invited to drive over the years?
I have been privileged to be asked by numerous customers and associates to drive their cars from 2000 onwards. Here are some of my most memorable ‘guest’ drives. It started with Norman Grimshaw by sharing one of his many Cooper “S” s with Warwick Banks at Silverstone…a great honour! I went on to drive Norman’s cars with Barrie “Whizzo” Williams at Brands and Spa. This has got be one my best races after fighting tooth and nail for 40 minutes ending in a “last of the late brakers” duel at the Bus Stop! (also one of Barrie’s memorable races as quoted in Motorsport magazine’s ‘Hot Seat’ article in 2006) 2001 The 24 hour Nurburgring race with German N&F Mini race team.
This was the craziest race I’ve ever been in, 200 cars started the race! Unfortunately the Gp “A” Mini crashed out when my friend David Wong’s team Petronus Malaysian driver was at the wheel after 20 hours. So near yet so far!! 2002 I did the full FIA European Historic touring car championship with Swedish crack team “Keeper Motorsport”.
Great experience gained on the European circuits. Battled hard with Europe’s finest but missed out on the overall championship title by just 1 point!! 2004 raced with Jason Stanley at the Pau street circuit historic race, fantastic experience darting through the tight Armco circuit. It was the normal one hour race but Jason had managed to damage the car colliding with a Mustang early in the race. At the restart we were dead last and yet managed to come through the field to win. I passed the lead Lotus Cortina by throwing the best dummy I’ve ever done three laps from the end. 2005 I was very privileged to race for Sanwa Trading in their Japanese Mini Cup car.
It was a mind blowing experience racing in Japan, also the hottest race I’ve ever done!! Obviously Tsukuba (two hours’ drive from Tokyo) was a new circuit to me and with only 10 minutes qualifying I was very pleased to be on the front row! The race started well and had the making of a cracker but devastatingly I picked up a front puncture and retired after five laps. Quite a long way to go for such a short run! 2006 The long haul races continued with a once in a life time opportunity to compete in the Monterey historic event at Laguna Seca. The “Cooper” marque was celebrated this year so Mini’s were invited into the “Sedan” race. Don Racine from Mini Mania very kindly invited me over to race his “Monte” replica. Again not much time to learn the demanding track but pleased with 2nd placed Mini after qualifying, Just 0.4 second covering the first three cars. Had a terrific race with plenty of overtaking going on and came home a close second.
The cork screw is just ridiculously steep! Pictures don’t do it justice. Amazing circuit! Great bunch of guys! Rounded off 2006 with the Spa 6 hour’s historic race. A late call in the week before from Jonathan Hartop, one of our Swiss customers, offered me the drive. There is a real “buzzing” atmosphere at this event and 80 plus predominantly sports cars start the race at 4PM. The main aim was to get the Mini to the finish of this notorious car killing event. The Mini run faultlessly the whole race and we finished a credible 39th overall. Spa in the dark is whole new ball game!! Definitely do it again.
Throw in a heap of Top Hat events with pole positions, fastest laps, plenty of podium finishes outright. HSCC racing, historic support for the WTCC at Brands 2nd overall finish and a one off Mini Miglia race finishing 2nd not bad for a historic driver in this super competitive championship!