Where: Wordsley near Kingswinford/Stourbidge in the Black Country (part of the English West Midlands).
Family: Wife Julie and children Rebekah, Rebekah, Daniel & James.
Occupation: Director of L.A. Commercials Ltd. in Wolverhampton in partnership with brother Andrew.
Lee’s Journey of Speed
My passion for speed started when I was very young and my Mom and Dad Gina and Les used to take me to our local air shows when they could and I think that’s where I got my first taste of the awesome power and speed of the jet engine. I can vividly remember seeing and hearing the Vulcan bomber and the fantastic Red Arrows screaming overhead.
I first started my own speed obsession when I had my first motor bike, a Yamaha FS1E. I used to tune and fit bigger pistons and try and see if we could hit the magic 60mph on the local mile flat – mine reached a heady speed of 64mph! I then progressed onto my next bike which was a box of bits, a Yamaha RD250LC. I did the same to this by rebuilding it and tuning it to run with racing exhaust pipes and carbs. This would reach speeds in excess of 110mph. Bigger and faster bikes followed but you can see the pattern emerging regarding my love of speed.
Taking speed and engineering to the next level
1997 is when I experienced my first drag race which was on the Isle of Man. My brother and I had gone over on our road bikes to watch and ride on the famous TT road course. On the Sunday we ended up at the Ramsey seafront taking part in our first RWYB bike race which was over the measured 1/8 mile course set up by the Straightliners Racing Club. I raced on a ZZR1100cc Kawasaki and my brother was on his GSXR1100 Suzuki. We had a great time and got the drag racing bug right there and then. We built and raced our road bikes so we then both built our own drag bikes, mine being a 1216cc nitrous oxide injected Suzuki GSXR and my brother built a bike that I sold him, a Suzuki Katana which was turbo nitrous injected. Both bikes were very fast and ran the 1/4 mile in 9 seconds at 160 mph.
From drag bikes I then went onto drag racing cars but these were not street based cars they were built just for 1/4 mile racing and they were very specialized. My first car was a front-engined V8 petrol powered slingshot dragster. This car was as fast as my bike and a lot of fun and I ran it for maybe a season when the car I currently race came up for sale. After seeing the car run at the track I agreed to buy it. This was also a front-engined dragster but from the fuel-altered class which in the United States used to be a banned class for its well-known uncontrollable runs down the 1/4 mile!
I named the car Red Mist and this was a very fast car – faster than anything I had ever ridden or driven before. This car was alive, a real beast to control and drive. I can honestly say it took me four years to get to grips with it and to get the car to run consistently down the 1/4 mile. If I told you the spec and speed that that car can do and still does you might understand why!
I’ve just completed my 8th season racing Red Mist in the Supercharged Outlaws Drag Racing Club UK. I helped start and run the club from when it started back in 2007 and have won the series title three times over the eight seasons 2007, 2013 and joint champion in 2014. In 2015 I was lucky enough to be invited along with our race class to race one of the biggest drag racing shows in the world. The show was raced at the F1 track at the Hockenheim race circuit in Germany. We raced in front of 80,000 race fans. I have to say we had a blast.
I also raced my car in the Chris Evans CarFest show at Oulton Park in 2013 for Children in Need and then from this show I was invited to race in the Top Gear Live show out in the sunny island of Barbados. I raced demo runs alongside the greats – Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes F1 car and Ken Block and his global rally team cars and also many other famous cars and drivers. Another blast!
I’m currently prepping Red Mist for my 9th season of racing with power upgrades, this year in a new race-prepped supercharger which will increase the power range of the engine to 1350bhp for the new season and hopefully my first 6-second 1/4 mile pass at 200 mph. I race the car at Shakespeare County Raceway in Stratford-upon-Avon and Santa Pod Raceway in the UK.
So, with regards to my racing exploits, for me my next step of racing is to go as fast as I can and this is where my childhood connection comes with combining the power of jet engines into a car. This is what I see as the ultimate in power and speed for a car and for me the ultimate challenge to design, build and drive. It’s a massive challenge and one I can only achieve with the help of experts, friends, fellow drag racers and hot-rodders and with the support of people here in the Black Country and all across the UK. If you can help in any way with my British Land Speed Record attempt don’t hesitate to get in touch. And wish me luck!