Sleigh bells ring for Edinburgh racer

Santa Claus may well be putting the finishing touches to his worldwide delivery plans for Wednesday night, but Edinburgh is guaranteed to have its very own high-flying sleigh.

Hot on the heels of winning the road car class in the Scottish Hill Climb Championship, Edinburgh’s David Sleigh is celebrating not only clinching the Scottish Ford XR2 Championship but also picking up a prestigious award presented by the Scottish Motor Racing Club.

“It’s been a pretty special year,” Sleigh, a production manager in the electronic industry with Edinburgh-based Alpha Data, admitted today. “To win the championship in my first year circuit racing was great, but the SMRC award was the icing on the cake.”

With seven wins, two seconds and two third-place finishes, Sleigh — driving the XR2 which Edinburgh’s Oly Mortimer powered to the championship in 2004 — dominated the series this year.

“I finished on the podium in my first race at Knockhill, then won for the first time in the second round,” he continued. “But I feel my best performance was when I won both races at Croft near Darlington, when I also got my first pole position.”

Sleigh’s switch to circuit racing came after he powered his 350bhp Mitsubishi Evo III to the Scottish Hill Climb Championship in 2007, just 12 months after making his competitive debut.

It’s clear though that racing — and winning — run’s in the Sleigh’s blood. Thirty-seven years ago, in 1971, David’s father Tom won the same road car class in the Scottish Hill Climb Championship driving a Jaguar E-Type. 

And at a time when Formula One teams are slashing millions of pounds from their budgets, Sleigh’s championship-winning XR2 is for sale at just £5500. 

And such is the attraction of racing in Scotland that once you’ve got your car, if you avoid causing any damage to it you can have a season’s racing for just five grand.

Now, Sleigh jnr — who recently received the SMRC’s coveted Hartley Whyte Trophy for the most promising and deserving racing driver in Scottish motorsport — hopes to extend his winning record into 2009 by contesting the Scottish Mini Cooper Championship.

“I’m planning to team up with former karting champion, and 2008 Scottish Mini Cooper Newcomer Cup winner Chris Knox,” Sleigh, backed by Edinburgh company Athena Asset Management, continued.

“Hopefully we can have an exciting and dynamic season which will bring more success.” 


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