In the Driving Seat with Closewood |

In the Driving Seat with Closewood

Posted 5 years ago in Company News

A motorsport ace with prosthetic knees and feet hit the track in the sixth round of the British retro rallycross challenge with the help of his employers at a Hampshire building services company.

Ian Shelley got behind the wheel of his two-litre replica Mini in the retro class of the British Rallycross Championship's meeting at Lydden Hill race track near Canterbury in Kent.

The veteran speed king revved up for the penultimate rounds of the championship in the colours of his employer, Havant-based Closewood Ltd.

Ian, 55, who works as a mechanical estimator, was in the driving seat not long after having new prosthetic metal feet fitted at the Royal South Hants Hospital in Southampton as part of a long battle against arthritis.

Ian Shelley with Mini in Closewood colours

Ian Shelley with Mini in Closewood colours

Ian said: "Rallycross is the most exciting sport on four wheels."

"It was a great day at Lydden Hill, especially to be racing in the livery of my employers, Closewood."

"Colleagues also came to cheer me on during the race and have really got behind me. I'm very grateful for all of Closewood's support."

Ian Shelley on the grid

Ian Shelley on the grid

Father of three Ian, who is married to Gay, added: "With my arthritis, driving can be painful but racing is a way of life and once the adrenalin and excitement kicks in during a race I am fine."

Ian just missed out on a podium finish in his class, which also include a Porsche 911 and 600 brake horsepower (bhp) VW Beetle.

Ian started at Closewood just over five months ago. The company, which is based in Downley Road, Havant, employs 25 direct labour employees. They are supplemented by a core group of sub-contract labour whom have worked with Closewood for more than 10 years.

Dean Kirby, Closewood's managing director, said: "We support and encourage our employees as much as possible. "With Ian's dedication and enthusiasm, we were only too pleased to pin Closewood's colours to the mast. "Ian showed the same energy and commitment on track as he does in the workplace and we're extremely proud of his achievements."

Ian Shelley on the track

Ian Shelley on the track

Ian has been racing since he was 17. He appeared on Top Gear in 2000 in a car he built himself as he helped boost the popularity of rallycross and hot hatch racing.

Up to 10,000 spectators watch each heat of the British Rallycross Championship and the race in Lydden was covered by the Eurosport TV channel.

It featured 80 to 90 drivers in different classes during the day as a showcase of British talent.

Ian's Mini is fitted with a two litre, 16 valve Vauxhall engine producing 240bhp. The car can hit 0-60 in five seconds. Prestigious projects completed by Closewood have included the installation of mechanical services within Arundel Castle, the Olympic Village, the National Lottery television studio and the Shard as well as numerous offices refurbishments and high-end residential properties.

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