Philip’s proudest achievement in life is surviving whilst motor racing – though he’s been set on fire twice – ‘that’s an occupational hazard’ he says.
83-year-old Philip once served as an artillery observer. Starting his racing career in 1956, he began to accumulate track records, being known as a competitive and skilled driver in any car. He believes that if you’re competitive ‘it keeps you on the ball, keeps you sharp’, which is easy to believe considering he is still racing over 61 years later. Philip tells us that his proudest achievement in life is simply surviving whilst motor racing – even though he’s been set on fire twice – ‘that’s an occupational hazard’ he adds.
There was a defining moment for Philip that made him want to start racing. ‘I was stood next to a Formula One racing car, and the ground was vibrating and I thought my God, that’s for me’. When he races, he feels ‘wonderful’, the adrenaline is going and it’s exciting, ‘I feel good in myself’ he tells us. The cars that Philip races have three pedals on the floor and a gear lever, there are no computers or technology involved. Still working at 83 to fund his adrenaline-inducing hobby, Philip jokes that if he didn’t race cars, he might’ve ended up quite rich.
Philip believes that living life on the edge means that you appreciate it more. Losing his wife June some years ago, Philip feels that he owes a major part of his success to her. Racing has always been a family thing for him. He recalls, ‘at the race meetings, there was always my wife and the two babies. It was great fun.’ June could always be seen at the track handing out pit signals, cleaning the cars and cooking for the pit crew. Now to this day, he looks out for his tallest son Adam holding the flag from the side of the track.
‘The best thing about getting old is – you’re old! You’ve made it’.
He explains that people often underestimate just how physical racing cars can be. To obtain a race license, Philip completes a very, very strict medical every year. He keeps fit by regularly cycling through his village, or going to his local gym. Though this isn’t slowing him down, both in life and on the race track. He still runs Woodcote racing at Silverstone and currently races a Mallock 20A. Philip’s home has almost run out of space for trophies, having won 5 track records, nine championships and over 300 podiums. But though he’s won a lot of races throughout his life, it’s the feeling of competing that keeps Philip on the race track.
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