While Historic Racing is enjoying increasing popularity and professionalism across the world – for most people, like me – it is still purely a hobby. And an expensive and time-consuming hobby, at that!
So, how do you work around those challenges to try and fulfill your ambitions and satisfy a burning passion? For me, the answer was to tap into like-minded people who were equally as fanatical, obsessive and ambitious as I was…AKA my close friends!
It was while we were spectating at the 2016 Silverstone Classic that we realised that in order to compete in the cars we wanted to compete in, at the events we wanted to compete at, that we would have to join forces and work towards a common goal.
And so, Team Eire was born.
Much like the Ecurie Ecosse race team of Scotland in the ’50s and ’60s, we wanted to create a ‘what-if’ Irish team that emanated their national pride and professionalism, while giving a nod to Irishman Joe Kelly who raced under the ‘Eire’ banner at the very first Formula 1 race in 1950 at Silverstone.
Since that eureka moment in 2016, Paul Hickey (of Hickey Race Engineering), Richard Redmond and myself have been building both the Group 1 Tom Pitcher Mini 1275GT and an Irish themed Pre-66 Appendix K Mini Cooper S, both of which will fittingly make their racing debuts at the Mini 60 celebrations at the Mondello Historic Festival in August this year.
As well as the Mondello Historic Festival, we also plan to take both cars to the Oulton Park Gold Cup in August where the 1275GT will compete in the new Dunlop Saloon Car Cup run by the HSCC, and the Cooper S will compete in the Pre-66 Touring Car class among Lotus Cortinas, Hillman Imps and mighty Ford Mustangs.
For now, however, the three of us will continue work on preparing both cars for testing in June/July, so watch this space!