I then started racing in Formul4 in 1984 and won the British Championship that year, sponsored by Peter Zivvy. I continued in F4 winning the Championship in 1987 driving for Yamaha under Tony Hall. I had a fantastic F4 Burgess Boat and a very good engine, but when we went to World Championship level, we were totally off the pace. Much of the Scandinavian drivers had done some very clever modifications to their engines – no more to be said on this topic !
Another career highlight was winning the Formula 4 class at the Paris 6 hour race, teamed with Andrew Elliot. We drove a very small F4 boat powered by a 60hp Yamaha. We won the index of performance and was only a few laps behind the F1 boats. The French wanted to disqualify us because they felt the boat was not long enough! But it was.
I had a big break in 1990, when I raced the first enclosed cockpit F3 Burgess Boat at Nottingham, finishing in the top ten and sponsored by OMC.
In 1990, I made my first trip to South Africa, racing F1, under the Lindenberg team. I drove in South Africa on 3 more occasions in F1. A lovely place to race and great people. Each year I would always meet up with Craig Baily from Australia who also raced F1.
Back in the UK (1991) I teamed up with Danny Bertels to race World F3, sponsored by Valvoline. I won in Nottingham and finished 3rd in the World Championship. After beating Danny in Nottingham, it was clear my future as his team mate was limited!
I then teamed up with Guido Bolendrine and continued in world F3 – not a good season but still managed to finish in the top ten. I raced with Guido for 2 seasons.
Following this I moved to Chambers & Cook, racing with Paul Blackburn. Again I was now with a team which looked and felt very professional. Paul was that little bit quicker but he had good money behind him to invest in new propellers and engine development. We had around 5 years together before Paul moved to F1. During my time in F3 I also acted as the drivers representative which involved attending many UIM meetings but I managed to make some changes in F3 which helped all drivers.
I continued racing with Chambers & Cook before moving to race with Jamey Stallard. This was a very good partnership, Jamey had just moved into F3 and between us we proved to be very professional and attracted some more sponsorship. I continued with Jamey / JDS Racing until I retired.
In 1998 I won the F3 World Championship – What can I say, this was the best moment in my racing career wining that World Championship. I had been so close in the past but this was the year.
In between racing F4 & F3 I drove in Rouen for Yamaha, OMC and Mercury. I was drafted into these teams to race with French drivers. Never really had much luck racing in Rouen, boats breaking, engine failures or French Drivers barrel rolling within half a lap of starting the race! This was really annoying as Mercury had put a lot of effort into this team. Another early trip back home!
I retired from racing in 2001, just as F3 was starting to finish due to lack of investment into more race venues and the lack of engine’s etc.
In closing, powerboat racing has and always will be a big part of my life. I managed to race all over the world and meet many people on the way, some of whom have become very close friends. I also had to experience some very dark times seeing fellow drivers losing their lives; the hardest one for me being Mick Chick. I will never forget that day, it was so awful. The previous weeks he had raced in Bristol, then he lost his life in a club race. This just proved to me racing at all levels can and still is dangerous but we all knew the risks we took.
For me another part of racing was to be very presentable to my sponsors etc, I always prided myself on the approach I took in always having a boat presented in the best possible way and the way my crew looked in ensuring we always where dressed in a very smart and professional manner. A lot of this way of thinking came from my career with BMW. I still believe a number of drivers would think I had huge amount of sponsorship which was totally not true, I had to watch every penny I spent and most years I would use my own money to support my racing.