1. When did you start racing and where?
I started racing karts in 1995 in Junior TKM, which at the time was a huge class – I think Jenson Button won the Championship that year! I was pretty successful with a couple of Championships on the bounce in ’99 (Junior), ’00 (Senior) – sadly missed out on the hat-trick in 2001. Then I went to university and racing had to take a back seat – I did another season of Super One in 2007, but quickly realised I wasn’t earning enough money to fund my racing addiction. So racing took a forced break for a few years, until in 2015, on a complete spur of the moment, I bought a 182 and ordered the bits to convert it to a 750mc eligible car…the rest, as they say, is history.
2. Would you consider racing in another formula?
Of course, find me a racing driver that doesn’t have ambitions to develop and stretch themselves. I am however, and always have been, a massive proponent of one make formulas, especially as drivers develop – I think that they allow drivers to focus on getting the best from themselves and those around them. I will probably do a few races in other classes this year – I’ve got the option to drive a Porsche in the 750mc Club Enduro, in the C1 championship…maybe even a Caterham.
3. What’s your most memorable moment in 2017?
Hmmm…So many, I can narrow it down to two!! First was missing out on my first win at Snetterton – we put the car on my first pole position in the Clio’s, 2 tenths ahead of the field, and I led from the lights, fighting with Patch (Patrick Fletcher) and Don (Don De Graff). Don did slip past for one corner, but I wasn’t letting him take this away from me…but three laps after I regained the lead fate intervened…the guys had made a mistake fuelling the car – and coming out of the infield onto the back straight I started to get fuel starvation. First Don and Patch came past, we’d built a big lead so I stayed third until the car starved again at Corrams and the field came through…I limped home in 15th – I was inconsolable – but I knew we were quick. Next round I threw away another win at Croft when I out-braked myself. So third time lucky it was…Brands Hatch I started 7th, and in what has to be one of my best ever starts, I’d managed to get into 2nd by the entry to Druids, the car was rapid in the first 5 laps, I wound in Charlie Turner who led, and in a pass into Paddock that I will always remember, I took the lead, which despite pressure from Charlie (…and plenty from myself) I got myself on the top spot – unforgettable!
4. Tell us a random fact about yourself!
Random…I’m so random it all seems normal…
5. What is your favourite race circuit?
I’m only allowed one…? I love Croft, Donington, Snetterton (300)…but I think I’d have to say I enjoyed Thruxton the most last year.
6. Sum up your 2017 season in 5 words?
Exciting, frustrating, emotional, competitive, rewarding….and my wife has added a sixth, yes you’ve guessed it…expensive!
7. Do you have any pre race superstitions?
I have a routine, not sure if that counts? A trip to the gents 5 minutes before leaving the paddock; then in collecting I like someone else to tighten the belts, and I always leave myself a few minutes to clear my thoughts and do a little visualisation exercise I’ve done since I raced karts – not sure what started it…but it lets me relax and feel prepared.
8. What are your hopes for 2018?
2018 is a bit of a regroup year – 2017 had massive highs and lows, and we spent more money than we intended! 2018 is about loving racing, trying new things and being a better driver
9. Who has been the hardest driver to beat?
The Clio championship has some seriously competitive guys, the top 8/10 guys are all capable of winning and I enjoy racing with everyone - I’ve picked three guys for this. Patrick “Patch” Fletcher – who is always on the pace and is so consistent if you make a single mistake you know he’s going to be there to pounce. (That’s how he beat me to the win at Croft). Don De Graff, because he is just so darn fast – in my opinion the fastest guy on the grid over a single lap. Mark Balmer, he’s an animal on the brakes; I’ve always prided myself on my ability on the brakes, but it’s rare that you will out brake this guy without being physically alongside him.
10. Who are your racing idols?
As a kid I remember being mesmerised by Senna – his ability over a single lap was phenomenal, I loved Cleland in the super tourers too. These days, love him or hate him, I like Hamilton, I watched him grow up through karts and knew from the moment I met him and saw him race knew he’d end up in F1. Also Turkington and Shedden in the Touring Cars and Whincup and Van Gisbergen in the Aussie V8s.
Garner racing is the brainchild of Tom Stroud and Nick Garner, established in 2015 with the intention of providing sponsors with an effective way of using motorsport, and its following, to publicise their business and entertain/reward staff and clients.
At the same time supporting their drivers` developments and financially, their racing endeavours. Garner Racing currently support 3 drivers – two cars in the Clio 182 Championship, run by the 750 Motor Club, and one car in the Gwynnespeed C2 Rally Championship, Max Class.
More information can be found on the drivers, the classes and the team at www.garner.racing.
The team currently have sponsorship opportunities available for the 2018 season, please do get in contact with the guys via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sponsorship prospectus can be found here – Prospectus.
Garner Racing would like to thank the following partners so far this year –
Primate Clothing – provider of fantastic quality personalised garments and merchandise
Tresspass – Networking Services.
Follow Garner Racing in photos via Tom Stroud - Click Here
Photo Credit: Tom Stroud (Garner Racing), Garner Racing and Sam Nudd