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  • Barney

Dare to cross the line

Whilst sitting at home and deciding it was well and truly time to sort through the piles of our now redundant DVDs, I stumbled across this. It took 15 minutes to dig out a Play Station so we could actually watch it.

I think the year is 2003 and I think it is my first race win. The circuit is Lydden Hill in Kent and the events were run by The Tunbridge Wells Motor Club in conjunction with South East Motor Sports Enthusiast Club.

It bought back some fantastic memories. My bother, a small group of friends and I all started motor racing here. The club and fellow competitors were the most welcoming and friendly bunch I have ever raced with. It was possible to do three races in one day for £350.

Racing at Lydden, although very competitive also had a very laid back and unbureaucratic feel to it. My Dad who competed in the 60's, said it was like going back in time. Those of you who motor race will know how manic and fraught racing can often be. A rush from start to finish with early sign-on, scrutineering, driver briefing, practice and then finally your race. All these things run to a tight schedule and trying to stand in a paddock listening to announcements calling competitors over the sound of revving race engines is often impossible.

I remember once sitting having a burger with a chum who was entered in the same race as me. We were merrily nattering away when we heard the announcement “last call for competitors in race 3”. I asked my friend “aren’t we in that race”. He replied “yes”. It suddenly dawned on the two of us that neither of us had practised. Regular racers will know that it is mandatory to complete three full laps of practice to be able to then enter the race. I shot down to race control and told them that we had missed practice. A lovely lady in race control looked at me, laughed and told us we were a pair of idiots. Imagine our shame, the race was delayed, the grid was cleared of competitors, allowing my friend and I, embarrassingly in front of all the competitors and spectators to do our three laps of practice. The shame! This could only ever have happened at Lydden. You can imagine how long the two of us were at the centre of all mick taking for.

The car was a fabulous starter racing car. This 325 Sport with its terrifically flexible race, 2.7 litre engine was converted from road car to race car by my brother just after finishing at university.

So, it's thanks to my brother Jody for building such a great race car, with a limited start up budget and allowing me to race it regularly. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to race in so many places including Nurburgring, Spa, and Hockenheim, but it is those early days at the Kent venue, I remember most fondly.

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