JIM Turner looks, in this week’s Racewall interview, at a family affair which sees a prizewinning driver guiding his son into stock cars, with Garry and Ollie Sime under the spotlight.

“I have spent 2020 being a mechanic to my son Ollie,” successful Formula II driver Garry Sime told me.

“He is ten and we bought the ex-Bobby Brandon Micro F2 when he retired last season. Ollie had a couple of outings in the car at the end of that year and he absolutely loves it.

“He has taken to it better than I thought although at times, in a big field of cars, he struggles a bit. Ollie is quite a laid back character – maybe too laid back at times – and instead of him getting ready to race when the others are getting into their cars, he is always last moment.

“I remember when I was in the Minis I was ready to go at least two races before!”

Garry added: “There has literally been no Formula II racing to date in Scotland so we have been taking the Micro F2 down south and Ollie has raced at Birmingham, Skegness, Cowdenbeath and Buxton.

“At the start of October he picked up his first win at Skegness where he won the opening heat. He then added a fourth in heat two and was a close second in the final.

“His confidence is now sky high. Earlier at one Skegness meeting he was almost the length of the straight clear when a yellow flag appeared. On the restart he got shuffled down the order and then got hooked up with another car. However, things changed over the weekend of the October 10/11 and how! Ollie just drove away from the field to win that first heat,

“We travelled back up to the Racewall for the Sunday where he was a close second in his first heat but then in the next he got caught up in an incident and ended up rolling his car. We got the car ready for the other races and even with the damaged wing he ran well.

“Last year he had a couple of races at Crimond which he quite enjoyed. He feels a wee bit intimidated at the Racewall, more so with the car numbers and it being so fast.”

Looking ahead to next season Garry said: “Ollie will get another year in the Micros before he reaches eleven but what he does after that I am not sure.

“At times he seems keen to race a Ministox, which is the next step up, and I think that once he sees his pals getting one he will want one as well. These are a lot faster now than when I did them and I am not all that excited about working on them. However, if he wants to do them he will get one.”

Asked how he got into stock cars Garry commented: “My dad took us down to Cowdenbeath to watch and within three meetings we were hooked.

“I was thirteen and when the Shane Abernethy car came up for sale we bought it. We had absolutely no experience with Minis but we got the car ready to race – that was twenty years ago!

“I remember my first race. I felt scared but managed to survive the race. I thought I was really going fast but then everybody went flying past me! Somehow I managed to get up to blue roof and that one car lasted me until I retired from the Minis.

“My worst experience in the Minis came during one shunt when somehow the roof of my car came into contact with one of the posts above the wall. It pushed my roof down a bit but I was alright – bit scary at the time though!”

He said of how things developed: “When I finished in the Minis I wasn’t sure what I wanted to race. I had a strong fancy for a Saloon but in the end decided on a Formula II.”

Asked about cars he commented: “The Billy Stewart car was up for sale but my brother Steve went out in it. He raced it for a season and it was wrecked by the end of it.

“I got the Richard Kemley Forsyth chassis, which was a really good learning car. You could clatter the car off the wall and not do it too much damage. After that I tried to get the Steve Dakin and then the Davie McBeth cars, but lost out but then we found that the Graham Kelly Higman motor was up for sale, so we managed to get that.

“Changing from Forsyth to a Higman was like night and day. The car seemed to be twice as fast but was so easy to damage.

“I then got the Jock Sievwright Randall which he had only raced a couple of times. He had used a Will Lindsay chassis then decided to get a Randall. We had been thinking of buying a new Randall but when that came along we went for it and also managed to get quite a few spares.

“That turned out to be a really good car. Easy to set up, spares were easy to get and I found the cars were quick. I had three other Randalls after that. I then had a Mitchell car but I struggled to get comfortable in it. It had been built for someone smaller then me but the car was quick and I got a lot of good results with it.

“After that one I bought an RCE which I found was a big step up. The car had to be set up spot on to get the best out of it but certainly a good car. The cars are quite innovated although a lot of his upgrades in the end were used by other builders. With some chassis if you were in a crash you could quickly repair the car and whilst you can get an RCE back out you really need to get the cars on the scales.

“I am racing one at present and am quite pleased with it. I am maybe not getting as much out of the car as I would like due to work commitments.”

Looking at his racing career he went on: “I would say the season 2012 was my best.

“I did a lot of meetings and got up to Superstar which I held for the whole year. The car was running well and I knew exactly what it would do and as a result picked up a lot of good results. I ended up seventh in the National Points but it was a big commitment.

“I have only managed to qualify for two World Finals in all the time that I have raced but never really had a lot of luck. The first was at Mildenhall in 2006. I had only done the qualifying rounds at the Racewall and at Crimond but had scored really well. I got to Mildenhall and managed about a third of a lap before I was introduced to a fence post! “My second World Final came at Bristol in 2018 where I managed a sixth in the last chance qualifier. I didn’t manage a top ten finish in the ‘World’, even though it started to rain and I usually do well when it is wet. In one of the heats afterwards my throttle jammed open and I crashed heavily breaking a bone in my elbow and spent the night in Bristol Hospital. We were a bit worried when there were a couple of bouncers at A&E!

“I have managed a couple of third places in the Scottish Championships but never have really had any luck although I am hopeful that it will happen.

“My best success has come in the Champion of Champions races at the Racewall. I have won it twice, the first coming in 2006, but to win it I had to hold off Gordon Moodie for around ten laps. I had started as pole red but just after the half distance Gordon was giving me a hard time.

“My second came during 2019 when I had to fend of Gregor Turner for most of the time. My car had been going well the night before but wasn’t quite as good as it had been on the Sunday but I managed to keep a couple of car lengths clear.”

Concluding he said: “Over my racing career I have had, like most drivers, a few good and bad times.

“My good times were wins and one that stands out is a World Championship qualifying round in 2013. That night it was very wet, and I went through to win the final by a big margin.

“My worst, and there has been a few, was probably the night that I hit the wall on the turnstile bend and the next thing I knew was waking up on the pit bend after I had pushed Dennis Middler down the straight and then stopping when he was sideways on the pit bend. I still had my foot hard to the floor. It was a bit different to say the least.”

Garry is a Heavy Recovery Engineer in his dad’s business based on the outskirts of Dundee, and can be called out at anytime night and day.

“I am now scheduled to work one weekend each month so will need to see how that goes with Ollie and my racing.

“I get sponsorship from Newtyle Commercials, AW Motors, RGS, McGill Motorsport, JMY Contractors and MY Hair Design.

“I get a lot of help keeping my car up to scratch by Steve and Davie “Big Jock” Maclachlan, James Yule, Frank and Nigel Hosie and Steve Morton. I really appreciate all the help I get and sometimes they are left to it when the dreaded phone rings.”