Dee Ireland - Racing against time

Article in the Konect Directory, Calders edition, March 2010

Karen Murray speaks to Dee Ireland of Calder Motor Company about his days on the circuit.

Were it not for the time, and of course money, Dee Ireland of Calder Motor Company would no doubt be spending most weekends racing around the country - literally! 

A so-called ‘petrol head’ from a very young age, Dee comes from a family of racing drivers with an uncle and grandfather both racing on a regular basis. 

“My uncle used to take me along to the racetrack when I was wee and I was totally hooked. They used to race stock cars at Newtongrange back then and he took me every Saturday night. I knew I wanted to race myself as soon as I could.”

Dee’s father had a scrap yard at the time and so it wasn’t long before a car had been built and Dee was racing on the Mini Stock circuit, which caters for 9-16 year olds and is the youngest form of racing you can get into.

Dee began racing on the Newtongrange circuit that he had visited but that soon closed and a new circuit in Cowdenbeath opened, still going strong today.  He continued racing until he was 14, winning the mini stock Scottish Championship and going as far as they could go in Scotland, but not heading south.

“I switched to go-karts which is more governed and controlled without the cheating that can go on in stock car racing,” smiles Dee. “This time I did go all over the country.”

Luckily Dee’s family are all as mad into racing as he is, as they were the ones driving him around the country, the irony being that Dee was a highly skilled driver but couldn’t legally drive on the road!  One weekend he’d be in Banff, the next in Dorset so it was pretty full on for a number of years.

He won the Scottish Junior Championships several times and qualified for the British Championships for three years - only the top 40 drivers qualify so this was quite a feat.

It was only a lack of money that put a stop to a successful run as the sport is prohibitively expensive. Dee twiddled his thumbs for a while before establishing his own workshop.

“I then built my own car and got involved in track days at Knockhill, winning most of the races. I also built a drag car and took that racing which was loads of fun. We did really well and won every race we entered,” says Dee proudly, adding that he owned the fastest Japanese car in the UK for three years.  And fast is fast - these cars reach speeds of 200mph in a mile, 180mph in a quarter of a mile! 

These days Dee still has his race car - a Toyota Supra - but it is for sale so if you feel like taking to the racing circuit in style, it could be yours. “It really is a very expensive ornament at the moment as I haven’t the time or the money to race it,” a rather morose Dee concedes. 

He is currently kept busy running the family business Calder Motor Company which sells cars, and unsurprisingly along with ordinary cars they sell cars of a more sporty nature than the norm. “These are the cars we know and it makes sense to stick to this niche market.” Customers come from all over the UK to Calder Motors.

It is clear Dee would love to be racing again although he is not so keen to encourage his two year old daughter to join the sport as she grows up. “I have been working on building a circuit car but it is not quite ready yet.” I’d say watch this space - it won’t be long before Dee is back on the circuit. 

© Lothian Publications 2011