Profile of Classic Hot Rod Driver 172 Colin Hitch 48 year old Colin, a motor trader from Royston in Hertfordshire first got in to Hot Rod racing by way of his father being a grey hound trainer. Wimbledon Stadium was their track for grey hound racing and young Colin, in helping his dad, literally stumbled across the motorsport that the Plough Lane Stadium had to offer. Colin initially saw Spedeworth F1 and Bangers at Wimbledon, which he thought was ok....as anything appealed to him as a car buff, but to be honest they didn’t particularly turn him on. “Each to their own.” Colin admits. But what really switched Colin on was when he saw Hot Rod racing for the first time, particularly the 1600cc Hot Rod World Final that was staged at Wimbledon in the early nineties. To see the likes of Dave Longhurst, Geoff Simpson and Davy McCall absolutely flat out, door to door, and the fastest line literally inches from that lethal wire and post fence....well, THAT was racing! The bug bitten, Colin first got into competing at club level at the Angermin track near Worthing Sussex. Hitch took to the track in a Hot Rod Club class Mini, A series engine bored out to 1400cc, and round the big 500 yard oval of concrete straights and dirt corners, Hitchy really flew. Until one day he quite literally flew and ended up rolling and writing the Mini off. Unperturbed a new Mini was built and he raced this time on the dirt at Tongham to success. Colin’s first taste of stadium racing was in 1998 when he moved into the new rising formula of 2 litre Hot Rod racing piloting a Starlet that Kevin Randal had built for him. He raced continuously up till 2003 and then returned in 2005 and again in 2010. Colin admits that he was aware of the Classic Hot Rods arriving on the scene in 2005, but at the time he was so wrapped up in the world of 2 litre Hot Rod racing, he didn’t pay the new class that much notice. Hitchy loves his Hot Rods and believes that 2 litre Hot Rods are probably the toughest and most competitive class out there. He believes that they outshine the Nationals, a class which he considers to have lost its shine to an extent as so many drivers throw astronomical sums at the formula just to stand still. It’s so competitive but there is little opportunity for passing. The 2 litre class in contrast still has that opportunity. But Hitch had to pull away from the class in 2010 because he just couldn’t put the time in on the car to keep that ultra competitive edge. Then thirty cars are out there going flat out the cars do get a lot of damage. Colin wants to win when racing, he enjoyed it, but wasn’t getting the results he wanted, even in a full space framed spec Mk2 Fiesta that he had at the time. Being almost in the right place at the right time brought Colin Hitch into the Classic Hot Rod scene for 2011. He had just sold a 2 litre Corsa that he’d raced at Arena for a season, when the Ford Escort Mk2 CHR that he has today came up for sale. The car originated in Ireland which had an embryonic Classic Hot Rod scene of its own for a season or two. The Irish drivers however seemed to give and receive more damage than what was healthy for the formula and the Classics died away regretfully. This is how the Escort made its way back across the Irish Sea, as has one or two other CHRs that race in England today. It was there and Colin thought he’d give Classics ago. Since then he hasn’t looked back. One thing he particularly enjoys in racing on the slick A10 Avon tyres which Classic are shod in to replicate the way Nationals where shod in the seventies and eighties. Compared to the grip which Colin was used to in 2 litre Hot Rods “Crappy Hoosiers back then with no bloody grip!” the Classic Hot Rods grip is an absolute revelation. The grip with Colin enjoys now racing a Classic is phenomenal and he would recommend any Hot Rod driver to give the class a go to enjoy the thrill that having such grip at high speed gives. The other aspect to racing a Classic that Colin enjoys is the banter between the drivers off the track and the closeness of racing intertwined with the respect that each driver has to afford in racing these old girls! “I did have one or two accidents last season that resulted in new panels. Yes the parts and panels are available, but they are not cheap. Racing a Classic Hot Rod can sometimes be a bit of an expensive formula.” Hitchy’s very much a one man band in racing is CHR. No mechanics, just himself, and everything is on a budget. He prepares his race parts himself as much as he can and has a 2 litre Kevin Randal prepared Pinto race engine, which touch wood (as he slaps himself on the forehead!) has given him no trouble. Into the bargain Colin is delighted in how the Escort handles. One aspect to his budgeting is his choice of colour scheme for 2013. Colin has gone from being the good guy in the old fashioned Western in the white cowboy hat to the bad guy with the black hat! Colin has decked the ‘Bitch’ out in black! Why? Because black is an easy colour to repair and cheap to obtain! Also, when he was white he reckons the opposition to see him coming to easy! Now he’s black he can sneak up and blast past by stealth! As for a favourite track? Colin enjoys Hednesford (of course) and Birmingham. His final win at the opening Brum testifies that. His all time favourite though has to be the home of Hot Rod racing – Ipswich. Admittedly at Ipswich there is only one true racing line, “Bit when you’re on it, you’re ON IT!” Hitchy reckons there is no better feeling than racing flat out at Ippy. In contrast, Colin does not like Aldershot. “It’s a stockcar track but not a Hot Rod track.” He maintains. So into his second full season of Classic Hot Rod racing now, Colin is looking forward to the keen completion the class gives. He feels he’s learnt enough about the top guys in the sport and how to beat them on the day, and how to give ground to them on the day that they may have the edge. He considers Daz Owen an excellent driver with these attributes and as for three times CHR Points Champion Dave Fry, what he doesn’t know about reading a race just isn’t worth knowing. “He’s a wily old fox is Dave Fry!” says Colin. As for the newer guys like Tim Foxlow and Stu Donald, experienced men themselves from down the years in Super Rods, their contribution to the formula has helped raise the bar and enhance the competition. Even though “Foxlow does like the middle of the track sometimes, but I’m sure I’ll have the measure of 144 before the season’s out!” (laughter!) Certainly Colin Hitch is quite a character and the class of Classic Hot Rod racing benefits from having him competing. He’s quite interested in winning the CHR Points this year himself so Donald, Foxlow, Smith and Fry had better what out!