Photos & Musings: Early Days

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Schoolboy days, 1978

This photo was recently sent to me by the young lad in the photo, Matt Harper. I can't remember where it was taken but it would have been at a Warley Wasps or West Mercia schoolboy race in 1978. That's Matt's father, Don, in the shot and I'm guessing that it was his mum Gloria who took it.

This picture evokes some great memories for me. 1978 was my second year of racing and I had chosen to race mostly in the West Midlands area, where there were many great tracks and equally great people. There were several thriving clubs racing in the same area - Warley Wasps, Sandwell Heathens, West Mercia and Wyre Forest and there was an abundance of tracks. At Heightington, near Bewdley, there were four separate tracks all within sight of each other.

I think if we're being honest there was a little less competition compared to the Severn Valley club, which attracted a lot of the country's top schoolboy racers. But, as a beginner this was quite appealing, and the chance of a little bit of success and a plastic trophy was quite enticing. In fact some of those early trophies still sit in my workshop after all these years and still mean a lot to me.

I really enjoyed the couple of years that I raced in the West Midlands. I made some great friends and so did my parents. It also boosted my confidence and I soon started winning club races from time to time and I suppose that it really set me off on my career.

Great memories and thanks Matt for sending me the photo!

Matt Harper, myself, aged about 15, and Matt's father Enlarge image