Interview: With Lee Fairhurst (#217)

F1 caught up with Derek Fairhurst’s (218) son Lee Fairhurst (217) shortly after his F1 debut at Birmingham Wheels raceway at the 2008 Gala meeting, So over to Lee;

Hi I’m Lee Fairhurst and I am 18 years old, I am born and bred in Bolton and at the moment I’m working at Gordon’s Ford in Bolton as a apprentice technician. I’m in my 2nd year of a four year apprentice scheme and am hoping to do the full four years to get the qualifications and then think about what I want to do next.

Lee you currently (at time of interview) race in the f2 formula, Have you raced before in any other formula?

Yes, my first ever race meeting was in ministox but I used to play football for Bolton Wanderers Academy and had been there since I was 6 up until 15 years old so I never got the chance to race ministox properly. I was trying to make a career out of football so it was always one or the other at the time. When an offer came from Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) about hiring a car for a meeting when I was 13 or 14 I was itching to have a go! So we hired a car off him and I did a meeting at Skeggy. I don’t remember too much about it to be honest but I don’t think I did any good!!

So that’s why we never saw too much of you, I guess your Football coaches were not to happy to let you jump in full contact MiniStox stockcars!

NO, not at all. I got released by Bolton Academy just before I turned 16, so after I had stopped playing football, I got a lot more involved with helping dad Derek (218) with his car which meant I was getting more interested with the racing side of it. I couldn’t race F1’s at the time myself because of the 18 years of age rule unless had some racing experience beforehand.

How did the f2’s come into the fold?

Gary Maynard offered to lend me his F2 shale car for a practice at Buxton during the close season. I started off steady and got quicker as the day went on, by the end I was on the pace of the other three or four f2’s that were there which I was chuffed with. Gary was on about selling the car the following season so he offered to let me race it for that season. We had problems with the engine at first but we eventually sorted it and I began to pick up some decent results and then towards the end of the season I won a final at Birmingham which put me at yellow. Gary then sold the car and the F1 committee granted me a license for the following season as I had gained some racing experience.

But you remained in the f2 formula for another season?

Yes, Our mechanic Alan Bateman had bought an f2 for his lad but then offered it to me if I wanted to race it. So, we got it in the workshop and stripped it completely and then rebuilt it. I had reasonable success with it last year (2008) getting race wins here and there and we managed to make it into the Semi’s at Cowdie, which was a good experience. I came within a couple of points of blue towards the end of the season but then didn’t race for the last two months of the season. I’ve still got the car for this year (2009) so hopefully we’ll get some meetings done with it.

Lee Fairhurst's BriSCA Formula Two. Photo Chris Clark.

Lee Fairhurst's BriSCA Formula Two. Photo Chris Clark.

Lee can you tell us how your F1 Debut went?

I made my debut in the F1 at the 2008 Birmingham gala meeting. I was nervous before the meeting but once I got in the car and got some laps in I felt reasonably happy. There was a few handling problems with the car in practice so we got that sorted for the race. The W+Y race was on first and it was throwing it down! I started at the back of the whites because we were late in curing the handling problems. I got up to 4th or 5th (I think) and went up the inside of Dave Plumbley (393) and my o/s/r tyre got caught on his front bumper which pulled all the axle back and caused a lot of damage…. lesson learnt! I was supposed to be in heat 2 but didn’t make it in time so went into heat 3. I was in about 4th and then the red top train came by which gave me a 9th place finish which I was fairly pleased with. The final was a bit hectic with it still raining but managed to get into 3rd place, I went to pass Tim Warwick (307) on the inside and then Frankie Wainman jnr 9515) gave me a good ‘un which put me into Tim and he spun me around. I couldn’t get the car started again as the starter motor was faulty, so had to retire.

Sounds like you had a full F1 Stockcar racing experience in that meeting Lee, how would you compare racing the F1 to your f2?

I didn’t find the F1 much different to the f2 on the racing side of things…. just the sheer power that was very different! Loved every minute of it and can’t wait for the new season to start!

Lasting memory from your first meeting?

Frankie Wainman jnr (515) on my back bumper!

So your moving up into the F1’s full time?

No, not full time at the moment. With the f2 ready and the F1 tarmac car almost done we have started to build an F1 shale car with all the spare parts knocking around the workshop. We’re spending most of every weekend, bar the odd day or so on the car so hopefully it’ll be ready sooner rather than later. Our website ( will have a few updates on the progress of the car. I am hoping that Dad and I can do a few meetings this season in it at the local shale tracks. So, all being well you’ll see me back out in the F1’s in 2009.

Any favourite drivers?

If I’m not watching Dad then I usually root for Wes Goodwin (295). Him and his dad Geoff have helped us out a lot so whenever we’re not racing we try to help him out.

It must be very handy having Derek and all his F1 racing experience at hand during your transfer over to the F1’s.

Priceless. Dad gives me all my advice and he lets me know what I’m doing wrong and what I’m doing right or if the car isn’t handling right he’ll talk through what he thinks is wrong and explain how to cure it so it’s a big learning curve at the moment. F1 stockcars are so much more technical than they look to get the best out of them.

Is there a Track your looking forward to racing the F1 at ?

My Dad’s always gone around Skeggy in the tarmac car well and he’s had quite a few heat wins there and a final. The car seems to like the track so I suppose I’m looking forward to racing there the most.

Since the interview Lee made his full Racing debut at the Skegness UK Open weekend. Achieveing 3 heat wins, a Final win and 2nd place in the UK Open.

Since the interview Lee made his full Racing debut at the Skegness UK Open weekend. Achieveing 3 heat wins, a Final win and 2nd place in the UK Open.

Stockcar Track to bring back?

I vaguely remember Bradford when I was younger.
After watching videos now it looks like it was an ideal stockcar track. Plus Dad always says how good it was to race on, so I would say bring back Bradford.

The Desert island Q’s. C.D’s, DVD’s and Books you would take?

I don’t buy C.D’s. The radio is good enough, so I’d take a wind up radio!
DVD’s Talladega Nights, Ace Ventura when nature calls, Transformers, King Kong, ……can’t think of anything else.
No, I don’t read books. The newspaper is as much reading as I do, so my desert island would need to be on a paper round.

Do you have time for TV?

My favourite programme is Top Gear or anything with racing in it!!!

Favorite food?

Fav food is Pizza……

Favorite holiday destination?

I’ve been to New Zealand twice and its awesome. Plus the racing out there is good.

Lee what’s your road car?

Currently driving an old shape Corsa, it gets me from A to B…..just! Passed my test 1st time but it took me three times to get past the theory…. (laughs). Dream car? Err a Lamborghini or a Ferrari would be nice…..wouldn’t like to see the insurance quote though!!!!

Any other formula’s would like to race?

I wouldn’t mind having a go in a sprint car as I think it’s the best motorsport around. But realistically I would like to have a go in a formula Ford or something similar.

How much time on average do you spend working on the f2?

Depends on damage really. If there’s damage on the car and I’m racing the following weekend in it then obviously we’ve got to get it ready. If there’s no damage then I just check things over. At the moment its ready to go for the new season.

Lee it’s been great talking to you. Running and racing Stockcars ain’t cheap or easy here’s your opportunity to thank those that make it happen.

I’d like to thank everyone for there help. Mum and Dad for everything they do, Bob and Joan, Alan and Sharon, Ian, Lee, Brian, Jack, Steve, Matthew and Michael. Also Gary and Andy Maynard who have helped us out a lot. Without these people helping, me and Dad wouldn’t be racing so thank you.
BIG thanks to Hil and Cath who maintain the website and as well to Chris Clark for helping promote the team in various ways…………
Also thanks to the sponsors; Go Goodwin’s, Jamie Davidson Scrap Metals, Hi-spec Race Engines, Stevenage Insurance Services, Shaw Tyre and Exhaust, T.R Car Sales, MSL Recovery, Monaco Garage, Tranzparts and Teng Tools.

Cheers Lee, best of luck for your next F1 outing, and looking forward to talking again sometime in the future.

Not a problem, Bye for now.

Lee Fairhurst Talked to F1 just after the '08 Gala meeting.

Lee Fairhurst Talked to F1 just after the '08 Gala meeting.

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