Driver Class: 1A
I’m 46 years of age and work as a signaller for Network Rail. I’ve been on the railway since leaving school, joining British Rail as a YTS trainee in 1987.
The Metro and I go back a long way as I’ve owned G96 SNN since it was a mere 6 months old, and I was a teenager! Starting out from Rover as one of 1800 Advantage special editions, there’s all but a handful left today. For two years my Metro remained a standard car until a 21 year old me, fuelled by the various car magazines of the time got me tinkering…
The fitting of a K&N air filter would inadvertently lead me into competing in sprints and speed hillclimbs when the Metro wouldn’t go up a hill without pulling the choke out! This necessitated a trip to a rolling road to correct the fuelling. The rolling road operators, Aries Motorsport (who were responsible for building some of the Midland Speed Championship winning cars of the 90s) mentioned this place called Curborough, local to me but I’d never heard of it! After a short while spectating at Curborough I’d soon developed the urge to be on the other side of the fence so made my competition debut in 1997, and on my first lap I spun! Undeterred, and becoming deluded with track days I cut my motorsport teeth in the EMAMC Speed Championship.
After attending a Midland Speed Championship promotional open morning, Dave West convinced me and my brother to enter the championship in 1998, and there I stayed until 2002 when an unexpected engine failure at Pembrey curtailed the season. A new 1380cc engine was built for the start of 2003 but after many miles of use in all weathers imaginable as my everyday road car for just over 10 years, the Metro’s bodywork was starting to look a little tired so the decision was made to strip the car down to a rolling shell for a restoration that took a lot longer than first envisaged! Restoration of the body finally took place in 2007, whereupon a rebuild at a fairly sedate pace ensued. Reliability issues were addressed during the rebuild with the fitment of a better clutch along with the move to distributorless ignition, controlled by a DTA ECU whilst further improvements to the chassis were made with parts purchased from that invaluable source that is eBay.
The rejuvenated Metro returned to the road during 2014 and back to its rightful place competing in 2015 when I contested the Curborough Championship to get my eye back in. Last year I re-joined the Midland Speed Championship where once again I’m really enjoying the company and paddock banter, plus the variety of venues that the championship visits. As for the car, much like its driver, it’s going better than ever! But it’s not all about driving as preparation of the car is something I enjoy equally as much. I like the challenge that class 1A brings as it breeds engineering ingenuity to work around what is essentially a road legal competition car that still has to preserve several of the car’s original features that were there on the day it rolled out of a Nottinghamshire showroom back in 1990. Having grown up with the car I could never part with it as not only is it very rewarding to own and drive, it’s the closest I’ll ever come to owning a time machine to rekindle my youth!