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Grandad-to-be still has va va voom!

PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:36 01 August 2010

A GRANDFATHER-to-be will once again be revving it up on some of the UK's most prestigious racing circuits after more than 20 years in motorsports retirement.

A GRANDFATHER-to-be will once again be revving it up on some of the UK's most prestigious racing circuits after more than 20 years in motorsports retirement.

Marcus Sheard, of Thurlton, enjoyed a short but sweet racing career back in 1987 when he competed in the Monoposto series at famous circuits such as Brands Hatch and Snetterton.

And now he is all set to put pedal to metal again after buying a Formula Ford Mygale racing car that he will drive in the 2010 competition.

Mr Sheard, 56, bought the £7,500 racing car six weeks ago after his friend tempted him back onto the track.

“I've got a good friend who's still racing and I helped out on a couple of occasions,” said Mr Sheard. “He said 'why don't you give it a go?' It's the old imperial spirit: 'why did you climb Everest?' 'Because it's there!'

“Just because you're getting old it doesn't mean you have to have common sense- this is a case in point!”

His first competitive race will be at Thruxton in Hampshire on Saturday, May 8, and he will also be zooming round the tracks at Snetterton, Oulton Park in Cheshire, and most impressively Silverstone - frequented by world famous drivers such as Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

The family will be there to see his first race, including his daughter Helen and his oldest daughter Sarah, who will shortly be giving birth to Mr Sheard's first grandchild. His son William will be his race engineer for the competition.

“Basically the aim is to have some fun and come back safely with the thing in one piece,” he said. “I remember it was nerve-wracking 20 odd years ago and I'm not more courageous now. It will be scary.

“Things are happening so fast, you've got instruments flashing, there are cars all around you. There's no street traffic. It's a fairly overwhelming experience. Overall you don't want to make a fool of yourself.”

Mr Sheard has taken the car out on the track twice already, both times at Snetterton.

“You're so close to the ground,” he said. “There's a lot of noise and vibrations. It's very light with very sticky tyres that will go really fast around the corners. Around a circuit it would beat any road car.”

His earlier career lasted just six months, as he and his racing partner ran out of funds. It was at Castle Combe race circuit in Wiltshire that he achieved his greatest placing, finishing sixth from 20 drivers.

“I was quite pleased with that,” he said. “I was quick, but I ran out of money too soon to learn if I was going to be a winner.”

The Monoposto series has been going since 1958, and is open to low-cost single-seater racing cars. The cars are either home built, or have an older chassis that is no longer competitive at the highest level.

“Monoposto is very friendly,” he said. “It's all about the camaraderie as much as the competitiveness. You get all ages in the series. Last year there was a winner who was 74 years old. The younger competitors are often female and are very good.”

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