“I’m a Motorsport commentator and currently cover the FIA World Rally Championships and get to travel around the world following the action.”
“I studied Graphic Design at, what was then, Hastings College between 1995 and 1996, so I’m a qualified graphic designer!
I studied A-Levels at another college first of all but didn’t do very well. I failed. So I moved to Hastings College and signed up for an engineering course, but within three days of starting that, I realised that I didn’t like that much either. I transferred to the art course, which was really lucky because the course was super popular, so I kind of just sneaked on to it.
The progression I made on the course was great and over the two years I realised that art wasn’t as literal as I first thought. It was a lot more creative and it taught me to think outside of the box and that has been fantastic help in my television career.
I loved motor sport and used to watch it a lot as a kid. My dad loved F1 and Rally, and we went to watch a few of the RAC rally events. Then I decided that I wanted to compete, so my parents bought me a day at a rally school for my 19th birthday and I went on to compete right up to national level. However, money is a big part of Motorsport, so when I ran out of money I moved into teaching Motorsport and spent 10 years working as a Motorsport instructor before moving into television.
I didn’t twig that it was a skill I had at first
I worked at Brands Hatch as an instructor and when the TV came to the track, which was quite a lot, they would always ask me to do it. I didn’t twig that it was a skill I had at first. We had a lot of good drivers and instructors working there at the time, but I was perhaps better at talking than some of the others.
…this TV malarkey looks like good fun
I remember doing a piece with ITV’s Good Morning Television and the GMTV Doctor, Doctor Hilary, came down. Two-hours work and then they took me out for lunch, and I thought that this TV malarkey looks like good fun. But little did I know that a few years later I would be doing 18-hour days. We work incredibly hard and it’s not quite as easy as I thought it was going to be when I first started.
I enjoyed what I did at Brands Hatch but I put my TV bits together on a DVD and went out and actively looked for more TV work. Originally I wanted to be a TV presenter but I found that some of the roles would go to more famous people, or ex-models. (Laughing) Not being a model myself, I thought that there must be another way into this. I quickly discovered that I was an expert in Motorsport and that I have expertise in rally driving and that was how I got my first opportunity at Eurosport Television.
There are lots of things that are great about my job, but there are also some things that aren’t so great. Working in television isn’t always as glamourous as people think. For instance, there was one occasion where I was working in the studio covering a racing series in Asia. It was 5am and it was just me and the cleaner in the building, not that glamourous.
But aside from the long-haul flights in economy, I love the fact that I get to visit all these different amazing places. In Motorsport it is usually airports, motorway, racetrack, hotel, but we get a taste of different countries. In the evenings I try to go out and experience these places and have a beer, eat locally and meet some of the local fans, I love all of that.
“As the front man, it is a huge amount of pressure, but that pressure is so rewarding when you nail it!”
The other thing I suppose, I wanted to be a rally driver and I’ve ended up being a commentator. I’m pretty lucky because some of the guys that I now commentate on, whose phone numbers I have, and I have a laugh with, some of those guys were my hero’s, and I’m now working alongside my hero’s.
I’m part of a huge team that put this programme together and I’m the guy at the front who gets to commentate on the action. If I do it badly, then the whole thing looks bad and I feel bad for everyone who has made the show. As the front man, it is a huge amount of pressure, but that pressure is so rewarding when you nail it. I love it. It’s a real adrenaline rush.