Graham's Career

I'll do my bit first, which you will have gathered by now, is a lot less illustrious than Louise's career. Never the less, Louise says go ahead and tell them as it is good for a giggle - if there are any school leavers reading this, they will know to take another route!!

It was probably in 1972, aged thirteen, when Roger Clark/Tony Mason became the first British crew to win the RAC rally in their Mk I RS1600 Escort, that I really got the bug. Thereafter, I endured pain every November until I left school - the pain, you see, was getting the cane from the teachers once they found out I had 'bunked' off school to watch the RAC rally through West Cumbria!! The fantastic sights and sounds of those Ford Escorts, Blomqvists Saab, The Lancia Stratos and the Datsun 240Z made it all worth while.

1st Time on the Otterburn Stages. Seeded 111 finished in top 10.

When the careers advisor came round at Cleator Moor Academy (as I call it) which is basically a secondary school in West Cumbria, they didn't have a section for motorsport, so I did exactly what you would expect at fifteen and became a joiner!!

The first year in joinery was pretty quiet so I still managed to get myself over to Duns in 1975 to see Pentti Airikkala beat Russell Brooks by one second in the Jim Clark Memorial Rally. If you were there, watching, you will probably be like me, and never forget the spectacle on the final Charterhall stage.

Graham navigating on the Lakeland Stages and Malcolm showing how it should be done - he won convincingly. A great day.

What happened next was pure luck on my part; a young man by the name of Malcolm Wilson was starting to do very well near where I lived. I went over and, basically, made a nuisance of myself at nights and weekends helping out, which involved checking tyres and being the general gofor. At nineteen I had finished my apprenticeship as a joiner and had now enrolled on a mechanics course at college in Maryport (the modern term for this is called a career change - back then it was called clutching at straws)!! Within six months Malcolm was doing well and got some sponsorship from Total oil's (remember the MkII Total Escort rolling on the start of Grandstand)? He needed someone full time and an apprentice for his cars, so I embarked on my second apprenticeship with a very experienced engineer - David Nelson from Carlisle.

For the next four years I helped prepare cars for Malcolm before going self employed and worked for the following teams - Ford, Prodrive BMW, Prodrive Porsche 911, Austin Rover, Peugeot 205 and 205 T16.

Of course, when you're working on rally cars, there is only one thing to do with your spare time and that is, build your own rally car ( with some great sponsorship from family and friends). Although I might have been quick enough at some times my ability to keep the car on the road was limited. However, I had a great three years trying! Louise used to say, of my own rallying career, that I could have been a winner if the events were 80% shorter (probably true)!!

Photographs from Graham's Career

Louise's Career