Mike’s first race as a driver was in
1986 in the family’s two-seater Phantom/Mercury VP boat at Chasewater.
Unfortunately this boat was destroyed by fire in 1987 during an offshore race,
and so for the rest of that season Mike switched to circuit club racing in his
father’s old Bristol/Mercury monohull. Mike raced this boat again in 1988 and
finished runner-up in the Iver-based LMBRC Club Championship. The following
year Mike started competing in the T850 National Championship in a
Torenvliet/Yamaha, and raced in the famous Bristol Docks Grand Prix for the
first time, finishing 4 in the National Monohull event.
It was also during 1989 that Mike
started racing for DMN-Westinghouse, a team based in Holland and run by Leo van
Putten. As a result, the following season Mike started competing in the Dutch
T850 series as well as in major UK events, including the 1990 Bristol Docks
Grand Prix, the final year that this famous event was held. Mike continued
racing in both continental events and selected UK races in 1991, also winning
the LMBRC Championship in the same year.
In 1992 Mike raced the DMN-Westinghouse
team’s new Torenvliet ‘wing’ boat. In this boat Mike achieved his first major
victory, at the International Monohull Grand Prix at Lelystad in Holland. Over
the next five seasons, Mike achieved
numerous national and international successes in this boat, including;
Winning the T850 class at the UK
Powerboat Grand Prix (Holme Pierrepont) in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997.
Winning the Monohull Endurance Grand
Prix at Rouen (France) in 1994.
Finishing runner-up at the T850
European Cup in Corfu in 1994.
Finishing runner-up at the T850 World
Championships in 1995.
Breaking the T850 National Speed Record
(72.38mph) at Windermere Records Week in 1996.
During this time, Mike continued to
race his more conventional Torenvliet/Yamaha monohull in club and endurance
events. This included the Windermere Enduro, which he won in 1995 after driving
solo for the entire 2 hour event. In 1997 Mike used this enduro boat to compete
in the 24 Hours of Rouen for the first time. This race is regarded by many as
the toughest powerboat race in the world. Despite suffering engine damage
whilst leading, which required a lengthy pit-stop, Mike finished second in the
T850 class with his team-mate Chris Tricks. Mike returned to the 24 Hours of
Rouen in 1999, this time with Julian Clark sharing the driving, and he went one
better by winning the T850 class.
Sadly, close friend Trevor
Hamilton-Gibbs was killed whilst racing his S850 shortly afterwards, and Mike
made the decision to retire from powerboat racing. After making this difficult
decision, Mike competed in one more event, a National Championship meeting at
Bodymoor Heath, which he won driving a borrowed boat.
Since retiring from powerboat racing,
Mike has continued to compete in a variety of motorsports, including the
strange sport of lawn mower racing. He competes regularly in endurance mower
races, including the annual 12 Hour Lawn Mower Grand Prix!