Julian's Racing History.
I have raced so far as I can remember since I could walk. Starting with scooters, and push bikes, through to Karts, grass-track and speedway bikes, saloon car racing , and in 2004/05 driving in the Westfield championship.. I have a huge range of very good reasons for my poor performances, (All copyrighted) loads of photographs, and a few cups and trophies.
At sixteen I started racing as a passenger on a grass track outfit in and around the Kent area. For the un-initiated a passengers job is to hang on like a deranged limpet, whilst the driver (normally a psychopath with a death wish) blasts round a bumpy and dusty/muddy field trying his best to get rid of you. After a couple of years, by which time I knew some hospital casualty departments well, I discovered speedway.....
Motorcycle speedway was the most thrilling racing I have ever been involved in, I spent many happy hours limping round on crutches and welding the forks back on to my old Rotax JAP. The problem was I wasn't quite good enough. My own estimation of my abilities exceeded my actual skill level by just enough to make me dangerous to everyone within a few hundred yards of my bike.
Oh well on to Karts.....
Driving a motorised roller skate at 100mph really concentrates the mind. I had two karts in what I like to think of as my 2 stroke period. One was Bultaco powered, and the other a 210 national. This time in life also coincided with a total lack of money, caused by trying to bed every woman I met. (Trying being the word. Please examine the previous paragraph and re-use the last sentence, but substituting another word instead of bike.)
In the early part of the 1980's responsibility took over, and I started my own business, got married, had children, became fat, and racing became a distant memory until I met David Missions. He drove a Lotus Cortina in what has now become the Historic Touring Car series. I went to a number of races with him, without any desire to take part until I made the mistake of standing on the pit-wall, at Brands, at the start.....HOOKED!
I spent the winter building a Mk1 Escort 2000, and in early June 1992 it was ready. The first race was to be at Lydden in an all-comers race. I spent hours rehearsing my victory speech, but somehow qualified well down the grid (Timekeeping error obviously). In the race it was obvious that the other drivers were not showing sufficient respect as they just kept getting further away. On about lap nine I was really mortified to be lapped by an A35.
The next season saw me campaigning in a Rover SD1, the pictures shown elsewhere on this site show the second version after the first was totalled in its first race when a brake caliper sheared at Thruxton. (I said that I was only going to bed it in. not imbed it in the tyre wall)
This car was not regularly raced because of all the normal reasons, i.e. money, family, money, time, money. There have been race and class wins, fastest laps, and a couple of drive of the day awards. It was sold in the middle of 2003 when I bought the Westfield.
It all goes wrong at Pembrey
During the later part of 2003 and 2004 I raced a Westfield SE. Fitted with an 1800cc Zetec engine. Weighing in at about 600kg and with about 140 bhp at the rear wheel this car was seriously quick. I ran it in the BARC Westfield championship. I am not sure whether it was my advancing years but I struggled to understand how it handled. Suffice it to say it goes round corners like it's on rails, but there hung the problem so far as I was concerned. With a saloon car you persuade it in to the corner, and it slides and bucks, and jumps, but the Westfield just sticks. OK it wanders about a tad, but on the whole it just sticks like s##t to a blanket. This obviously meant that I was not going fast enough...as my early race results showed. By the end of 2004 I had managed to promote myself towards the sharp end of the grid, but found myself down on power compared to a number of drivers with engines supplied at huge cost by Dunnell Racing. Additional work on the engine found a few more horse power, but it was becoming obvious that unless I was prepared to spend serious money or cheat I could not compete with the front runners. Feeling slightly disgruntled my hand was forced by an aberration in judgement during a race at the Welsh circuit, Pembury.
A wet practice had nullified the power of the quickest cars and I qualified in third place half a second or so slower than the pole sitter. For the race it looked as if it would be dry and so I made the decision to run on my very elderly dry weather tyres. Unfortunately immediately prior to the race it started to rain. By lap two I was going backwards through the field as I attempted to get an evil handling car through the corners. Eventually my luck ran out and I span off of the circuit backward into the tyre wall knocking myself out, and messing up the car pretty badly. Worse still my wife was watching.....Although the car has been rebuilt I am banned from racing it, so it has been converted into a track day car....but I have my other project.
During February 2004 I was browsing through the for sale ads on a racing web site, I found an interesting little car. Triumph Vitesse racer "Good condition" "ready to race" huge and powerful engine, and quite cheap. The car was stored near Kingston in Surrey, so I went and had a look and although it was a heap it had loads of good bits on it. So the remainder of that year was spent on a total refurb that resulted in the silliest car that I have ever driven.
When finished the engine came out at a tad over 2.7 litre and produced 230 plus bhp at the rear wheels. It weighed about 900 kilos and with a welded in full cage and highly modified suspension promised to handle a bit. The first race at Snetterton saw me qualify third in a wet practice, but a retirement in the race when running fourth ruined my day. Two races at the end of 2005 resulted in two wins...not bad for a forty year old car.....The first race of 2006 took place at Castle Combe in a rain storm and almost total darkness once again I managed to win but decided afterwards to go and play elsewhere and for the remainder of the year have been developing the car to run in two other series.
2007 saw me totally redesigning and adapting the drive train and so races were few but each one was remarkably similar as the power found yet more weak links that needed attention....Oh well there's always 2008.
To learn a bit more about what goes on before the racing starts click here
Call us on 01233 610014