I started motor racing when my father bought me a kit for an early 200cc gearbox kart in the early 60s. Assembly was mostly meccano stuff and I was soon competing at tracks like Balado, Crail and Larkhall across Scotland alongside my mother. [ Fortunately we raced in different classes so no chance for the embarrassment of mum beating me.] Kart racing taught me the fundamentals of car control and engine tuning and imprinted on me the value of good pre race preparation.
The odd foray into motor cycle scrambling, Min racing and rallying failed to really grab my interest and it was not till I was dragged reluctantly to my local football stadium to see a Speedeworth stock car race meeting that I got excited. There was lots of action and you could design and build the car yourself. Despite having the support of my fathers motor trade business behind me cash was a factor and even in the 60s motor racing was not cheap. I remember driving home after winning my class at Ingliston near Edinburgh.and counting the cost of the day. I had even to pay for my mechanics families entry to the circuit as we got 1 complementary pass. The bit that really hurt was the total of my entry fees to get to the circuit was something like £35 and despite winning my heat and the final the winners cheque was £10 plus a cheap cup and bottle of whisky. In stockcar racing I found that the promoters paid me to turn up ok only £5 and the prizes for winning were good. Some weeks I was trousering £45 which was more than my dad was paying me to work in the family garage business.
So I decided to go stock car racing and the class I chose involved full contact racing with purpose built single seat racing cars based around a simple chassis box steel tube chassis powered by a 1800cc producing around 150 hp. With an all up weight of around 1300lbs this gave pretty exciting performance. I made red top status in my first year and remained a red top till I quit just after I got married designing and building two cars along the way. Fortunately the garage workshop was well equipped and I was able use a large lathe to part wheels to widen them, mechanical hack saws and a serious grindstone to make the component parts. The second car was quite innovative and my choice of steering rack and suspension components gave me a distinct advantage in the hurly burly of full contact racing.
I really enjoyed the 5 years I spent with Spedeworth racing Superstox. The racing was fun as the better drivers started from the back so the racing was exciting unlike Miniracing at Ingliston or karting where the race was usually decided during qualifying and the drag off the start line into the first corner.
It was also satisfying to race something you had designed and built yourself.
The forays to England were exciting although I disliked the shale tracks. Of all the tracks I raced at I liked Foxhall Heath
near Ipswich the best. The track is a 410 metre tarmac oval and is the fastest and largest track that Spedeworth promote. It also was the scene of the most enjoyable race I can remember. It was a 50 lap international final on a hot and sunny afternoon circa 1974. After a good start by lap 15 or so I was in the top ten behind a local driver from a well known stock car racing family. For the next 35 laps we traded places most laps, we pushed each other wide going into corners, leant on each other mid corner trying different lines to block or frustrate the other driver. I lost out on the last corner but nearly split my face in half grinning as I crossed the line. The other driver was Derick Warwick who went on to race in F1.