A STOCK car driver is hoping to bring silverware home to South Tyneside.
Chris Chance, of Crawley Avenue, Hebburn, is off to the National Championships Weekend, held at Hednesford Hills Raceway in Cannock, Staffordshire, to compete against drivers from across the UK.
The 27-year-old, who works for the Legal Services Commission, is aiming to race to the finish line before anyone else in the competition, which is the biggest of its kind.
Chris, a former law student, said: “I’ll be going down tomorrow for practice and to get the car all set up, and then Saturday is the qualifying day for grid positions and Sunday is the last of the heats and the main event.
“I’ve done well so far this year, so I’m quite far back in the starting grids, which is good.
“As far as I know, I’m the only North-East lad to ever qualify for these championships.
“Last year, I was the first-ever North-East person to win in the category of stock rods at Cowdenbeath, in Scotland, and that was a huge achievement in itself.” Chris drives a Vauxhall Nova, which he has modified with the help of his dad, Dave, who used to race stock cars in the 1970s.
Dave, a mechanic, was himself born into the hobby after watching his late father, Stephen, race motorbikes.
Chris, who took up stock car racing at the age of 10, said: “The car looks like a Nova but it isn’t really one because we’ve changed it that much. It’s definitely not road-legal in its current state. My dad is chuffed about the competition and all my family are going to be going down. My dad, my mam Evelyn, sister Leanne and brother-in-law Andrew Softley – it’s a right family affair.
“I think my dad would rather be on the other side of the fence taking part himself, but he’ll be chuffed to see me racing and I really couldn’t have done it without him.”
Chris is one of 10 drivers going to the championships from his track, in Cowdenbeath.
Each track from around the UK selects its 10 top drivers to send to the event.
Chris added: “It’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to going. These are the best drivers from all over the UK, so it’s going to be a tough competition. It would be good to being a trophy back home, but it’ll be hard work.
“It’s going to be a real challenge, but just qualifying to go is a big achievement as well.”