Life in cars
TG’s favourite stunt driver has been pushing the envelope for years, and he still hasn’t become a car anorak...
My very first driving experience was when I was eight years old. I was on the road, and my dad was sitting next to me. It was in a big, old Rover – not sure of the model – and I couldn’t sit on the seat because I wasn’t big enough. So I used to do the steering, and when I changed gear I lifted myself up using the steering wheel, put my foot on the clutch and changed gear, so I was standing all the time. We got stopped by the police, and the policeman couldn’t believe it at first. He told my dad off a lot more than me…
I bought my first actual road car when I was about 13. I saved up all the money, I think it cost me something like £25. It was an Austin 1300, so it was a really old car anyway. It had a broken gearbox so it didn’t actually drive, and it was about a mile and a half from where I lived, so I used to ride my bike there with my mates, then we used to just sit in it and listen to the radio and mess about, then ride back home. Eventually it got taken away for scrap somewhere, but all the time I owned it, it never turned a wheel. It was just a place to go, my man cave. I can’t remember the first car I properly drove around in, it may have been a Ford Escort or something like that. I can’t really remember what it was, to be honest.
It was very easy to pass my test. I’m sure it’s very different now to what it was when I passed it, but it was all about the driving back then. You had to answer a few questions and read a number plate and that was it. And I could already drive, so it wasn’t a problem.
I was in my early twenties when I started [racing cars]. I used to mess about while I was doing it – do a few donuts, a bit of drifting. And those were the days before drifting was even called drifting. I kind of got a bit of a name for myself. So one thing led to another, and I was asked to do a display. And it just went on from there. In the end I just gave up racing, because I was too busy, and now I’ve been doing this for many, many, many years.
Believe it or not, I’m not really into cars. I know it’s what my job is – we counted last week I’ve got 32 cars I use for stunt work, at my house. Then I’ve got my motorhome, my van and my road cars. I have a big car collection, but I’m not into cars. I mean I obviously like cars. But some things go straight over my head. I understand the dynamics and how they work, but if someone goes, “Oh, what engine is that? Is it the one with the variable valve…”, I don’t know!
TVR – back in the heyday – was the first real manufacturer I was [affiliated] with, when it brought out the Tuscan, the Speed 6 and the Tamora. I still have one. Those cars were great. Now I have the new Range Rover Sport SVR. I had the choice of the blue or the orange, so of course I went for the orange. And it actually looks really cool, and I’ve fallen in love with it. Before that I had an F-Type V8 four-wheel-drive. I have a full range of JLR products as stunt cars. I kept the F-Pace that I did the loop in. One’s in a museum in Gaydon, and the other they’ve given to me.