Des & Karen

Karen and I met at the dragstrip, It was love at first sight, she loved my car's bodywork and I loved hers.

I've always been a romantic. Mark Flavell was chief marshal at Melbourne, York, at that time and he'd persuaded his wife Ann and her sister Karen to be marshals too. I asked Karen if she fancied going along to the dragracing with me and she said 'yes'. If she had known I meant for the next 20 years she might have said 'no'. If she had known we would only have two weeks holiday in the next 20 years she would definitely have said 'no'. Come to think of it, if I'd have known that, I would have quit drag racing and done something less expensive and addictive, like gambling in Las Vegas maybe. Anyway, we were married in style in a early Hot Rod wedding that caused quite a stir at Ossett chuch.

The vicar was so impressed with the Pop he spent 20 minutes out side asking Karen all about it. Inside, everyone thought I'd been jilted.

Racers at York Raceway today may recognise the young man holding the flowers in the picture as Michael Murty, York's scrutineer and event co-ordinator. We honeymooned at Karen's mums in Middlesborough and toured the North Yorkshire coast on my 750 Kawasaki LTD, in a Indian summer that made Saltburn look like southern California. If you have seen the t.v. series 'Heartbeat' you will know how beautiful it is. We had nowhere to live, but I met a lad in a pub who had a Ford Mustang and a spare back bedroom, we moved in until we found a flat of our own.

Today we live high on a moor above Huddersfield. It's a cross between Wuthering Heights and Last of the Summer Wine.

Our daughter Jade was born in September 1987. It was a bit inconvenient because I was racing at the World Finals, but I managed to drive down for practice, drive back and be there when she was born, drive down for qualifying, visit Karen and Jade, and drive back in time for eliminations. The commentator announced the birth of my daughter to the crowd saying that 'Mother and baby were fine but Dad was absolutely knackered!'.