Gavin relies on Ford engine to defend his title

Posted on 10 Mar 2009

A Hartlepool man and circuit racing champion is hoping to add to his trophy collection as he prepares to take part in his seventh consecutive championship year in the next couple of months.

By day, 29-year-old, Gavin Lee works as a quality controller within the service department at Jennings Ford’s Yarm Road dealership in Stockton, but by night the circuit racing enthusiast and 2008 champion is spending every spare minute working on his modified Ford Fiesta XR2, in preparation to compete in this year’s Northern Sports and Saloon Car Championship and defend his title.

Organised by Darlington and District Motor Club, the first round is scheduled to take place at Croft Circuit on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th May.

Gavin is feeling confident that the reliable Ford 1.6 Zetec engine fitted in his 1984 Ford Fiesta XR2 will, once again, take him to the finishing line in record time.

“It’s a very expensive hobby and over the years I’ve literally spent thousands of pounds modifying the car. It was after my very first season in 2003 and the original engine blew up that I replaced it with the 1.6 Zetec engine, which has proved to be unfailing ever since.”

The thrills and spills of motorsport all started for Gavin at the tender age of 11 when, on a monthly basis, he accompanied his father, Phil, who was a volunteer safety marshall at Croft Circuit, Croft-on-Tees in North Yorkshire.

The bug soon took hold and after gaining experience as a paddock runner, Gavin soon started helping out with other duties and by the time he was 16, he was assisting the safety marshalls.

For his 18th birthday, his parents treated him to a driving experience day at Croft Circuit, where he experienced the exhilarating and unbridled speed of motor racing with a qualified instructor.

“It was an absolutely fantastic experience. It was then when I realised I wanted to take up circuit racing as a hobby. In early 2003 I travelled to Cambridge to buy the Fiesta XR2, the same car I race in today,” said Gavin.

Within a few weeks, Gavin obtained his competition licence and started taking part in various circuit racing events across the country, with on-going help from his friend, David Williams.

As a result of the car being built for reliability, Gavin has competed in 70 races, successfully completed 66 and has more than 30 ‘class win’ and ‘championship’ trophies which are all proudly on display in his bedroom.

Gavin went on to say; “For as long as I can remember I’ve always had a passion for motorsport, which is why it came as no surprise to my parents when I landed a job in the motor industry 14 years ago!”

At the age of 16, Gavin landed his first job at a motor dealer in Hartlepool and two years later transferred to work at JenningsFord’s Stockton dealership where he has been for the past 12 years.

Bob Humphreys, service manager at Jennings Ford’s branch in Stockton, said; “We would all like to wish Gavin every success in defending his title in the forthcoming championship. He’s a loyal, dedicated and committed member of staff who deserves to succeed.”

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