Motorsports Unplugged’s Formula One writer, Ralph Colmar.
I have been passionate about cars ever since Dad turned up in our drive way in Larnica, Cyprus with a brand new Austin A40 Countryman.
I remember excitedly running the length of my bedroom veranda which, bordered the drive taking in every last detail, the colour the shape the shiny moon disc hub caps, the slant of the “A” stamped into the caps, and the chrome Austin A40 badge on the back.
Some time later, still aged all of five years old, I sat in my Dad’s lap behind the steering wheel and the deal was he pressed the pedals and I steered the car…. what a feeling!! It is no exaggeration, but sitting in what I now know to be a tiny little car felt like sitting at the controls of a starship.
As I learned to read it was always books about cars that I gravitated towards, Cars Cars Cars Cars by SCH Davis was an early title, about the development of the family car and soon afterwards my teenage years disappeared into a seeming endless selection of books on the history of motor racing and the magazines MotorSport and Autosport ,interspersed with visits to race tracks in Zambia and Europe.
During early adulthood I took a summer job as a car cleaner for a Honda dealership in London, a couple of years later I performed work placement at Volkswagen in Germany as part of my European Business studies degree, after college my first job was driving a Ford P100 pick up truck delivering
With refurbished leaf springs and then as I started to take things more seriously I went into sales and landed at a Volvo Dealership in London turning around a workshop, from the bottom of the quality league to the top.
During this time I additionally assisted a school friend who raced a 2.8i Ford Capri and later string of little Alfa Romeo’s at weekends. I used to take every opportunity to go to the race track when not otherwise engaged which included a weekend at Indianapolis, 10 summers at Le Mans and dozens of lesser race meetings, during which I developed a passion for photography.
After preparing and racing my own Citroen 2CV in a 24 hour race at Mondello Park my passion for photography took over my life and, through the naughties, I made a string of journeys by car through the UK Europe at night recording them in hundreds of long exposure photographs and exhibiting them at over 100 exhibitions.
My interest in photography then developed and expanded into stop frame animation and most recently documentary film making, the subject of my most resent film being The Connew Story about a Grand Prix car designed in a bedroom, built with beer money and run on a wad of French Francs.
I still use every opportunity to get out to motoring related events be it an Avenue Drivers Club meeting at Queen Square here in Bristol, or an International motor race at Silverstone.
One of my greatest simple joys has been to join the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club with whom I love to take part in all manner of low cost events including production car trials,cruises and Navigation exercises.
I guess “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” is all about sharing that passion for being out on the highway, the race track or even muddy field and the stories behind a handfull of the vehicles I and, occasionally my friends come across.