Connect with us


It’s in the family roots – 338 Terry Garrod Interview

Terry Garrod is among one of the most influential figures in our scene. A third-generation driver, Terry takes us through his racing family tree, his racing exploits, and his involvement behind the scenes at Mildenhall.

Terry’s introduction to racing comes through his grandparents. ‘My Grandad 9 Ally ‘Banacek’ and Nan Julie ‘Silver Lady’ Cox raced, and then my uncle 119 Davey Cox. As kids, my mum and dad took us to watch Davey at Swaffham and Mildenhall. He never disappointed; just pure class back then and still is to this day. After a lot of nagging from me, I was finally allowed to have a Ministox at Braintree and I’ve never looked back since – it’s just in the blood!’ 

Terry’s definitely not looked back, that’s for sure! He went on to have an illustrious Ministox career travelling across numerous tracks and promotions. ‘I only got a year at Braintree as unfortunately it closed but I had a win at my first meeting and then had a massive nose to nose roll-over which did put me off for most of that year. My dad decided to make the big jump in to the ORCi Ministox, which I raced the shale of Skegness which was brilliant, however Trackstar got rid of ORCi Ministox whilst I was still within my first year. Dad put me over to RDC which were my better days – just plodding along until dad could afford a good lightweight car and fast engine and we hit the pace. That’s when we started travelling to Spedeworth tracks such as Yarmouth and Swaffham winning races and having some fantastic battles at all the tracks with some of the best drivers out there – the Sampson brothers, Gladiators brothers Phil and Simon Smith, multiple National Hot Rod champion 162 Carl Waller-Barrett, Stock Car man Carl Waterfield; the list is endless. It was brilliant, brilliant racing and a superb learning curve that I would never change.’

Although Terry looks back on his Ministox days with fondness, he was itching to get out of them and move on to his next venture. ‘It was never in my mind to do anything else apart from Bangers,’ Terry reveals. ‘After years and years of watching and travelling the UK with my parents and grandparents watching bangers, I was only ever going to be a banger driver – well, try anyway,’ he jokes. Terry wasn’t shy, starting in at the deep end. ‘My first meeting was at Mildenhall on Supreme Championship night. I had no practice in a RWD and I had a Mk3 Ford Granada hatch with a 2.0 pinto and locked diff. I did the first bend and spun out as you do and everyone hit it and I had no spares. Luckily enough we found bits and Uncle Davey found me 2 front legs which we repaired for the accumulator – after a handful of spins finally the DD started which I went in to the train on 117 Kamikaze and 158 Shane Davies blitzed me. Although most would say it was a bad night, I loved every moment of it.’ 

It’s clear to see from how Terry describes these moments how much passion he has for the racing, something which has always been there throughout his racing career. Terry expands on where racing has taken him since that debut at Mildenhall. ‘I was only 15 at the time, so I had a year and half of only racing when my brothers weren’t racing their Ministox, but dad took me to as many as I could afford and what he could also, but we still done plenty of meetings. I brought my first recovery truck and I’ve never looked back; doing serious amounts of meetings every year supporting all my closest tracks – Milldenhall, Swaffham, Kings Lynn and as many Henham as I could. Then add Ipswich, Arena Essex, Skegness, Hednesford, Coventry and Smallfield; just loving the seat time, whether racing, crashing or getting smashed up, I just wanted to be out there week in week out! If I could; day in day out!’ Terry has won countless titles, one of those being the Supreme Championship in 2017 a few years after his debut at the meeting, as well as taking the Trackstar Points Championship in 2013 and 2014. Another title he had a chokehold on was the 1500 National Championship winning it three years on the bounce; a title that has been won by other members of his family with uncle Davey the current holder of the title. Terry talks us through his accomplishments and what meant the most to him. ‘Honestly there are so many I could pick there really is so many brilliant wins, championships and titles, as well as records that I’ve broken but for me I’ve always listened to what Grandad told me, so winning all 3 of his memorials shields are closest to my heart.’

We’ve concentrated a lot on Terry’s racing exploits up to now, and it’s definitely something we could spend longer delving into, but what can we expect to see from Terry? ‘I’m at that stage now where I’m too involved in Mildenhall and other commitments, so when I can race, I certainly will if possible. The Draft at Kings Lynn, Ipswich Spedeweekend and the head to head are all locked in so let’s hope for more as I’ve way too many cars to clear up! The Stu Brooks meeting is another I plan to do.’

Terry mentions his involvement behind the scenes at Mildenhall, and he’s certainly become an influential figure at the venue in its rejuvenation to get it back up to its reputation of yesteryear; something that potentially goes under the radar from the banger scene. Terry discusses how the opportunity arose. ‘It was very strange but I’m very grateful. I was at a scrapyard for 9 years and I got on really well with Pete Gould at Racequip Swaffham, so I started to help there and Pete offered me a job. Unfortunately after a year and a half, Pete was taken out of his role at the track by people that had no clue in racing – they put the money up and didn’t last 6 months. It’s not just get a track and you think it will work, so unfortunately I was jobless. Pete kindly got in contact with Deane Wood and although I’ve raced at his tracks, I’d never meet the man. Pete got me to meet Deane at Supreme Championship night where he was having problems with the workers anyway. The interview was literally 5 minutes as Deane had a massive task on his hands that night. I’d now class that man as one of the best men I know, and will be forever grateful for the opportunities he has provided me. That leads us to now. Here we are at the start of the 2024 season, buzzing to go with more improvements being made everyday. The team and myself are doing all we can to make it the best day out possible.’

Passion, desire, drive, ambition; all words that you can use to describe Terry and it’s a theme we’ve skirted over a few times during this interview. It’s truly fantastic to see that a driver has had that much passion that he wants to focus that energy back into the sport. Behind the scenes, however, there is more to the venue that just the motorsport, and many changes and developments have gone on over the past few years to ensure all aspects are catered for. ‘There has been loads done before my time. Since I’ve been there has been so many things that I just class as my job. As we speak we are in close season so the big paint up will start in the next coming weeks when this frost stops. Me and Chris have made a new chiller/end of the chip shop and our next project is the toilets and in February we have are yearly training so a lot going on before the Supreme Championship on March 9th.’

The Supreme Championship looks set to be a corker with several of the leading names in the sport booked in for a chance to gain the red, white and blue stripes. 639 Tye Williams is set to defend the title that he has won the last two years, and perhaps become the first person to win it for three years on the bounce. Terry expands on things behind the scene, as well as what we have to look forward to for the upcoming season. ‘There’s always things to do or improvements to be made. A lot don’t know, but the place is always active. If it isn’t racing, it’s speedway, although they’re having this year off. There’s dogs on 5 days a week, so it’s always a hard task. It’s not just me however, Gav and Keefy have put up some brilliant fixtures since I’ve been there and also the Kev Waller is something else! Every year the attitude is brilliant, being the meeting of the year two years running. We are very lucky to have 2 BWS rounds which again are nothing short of epic. I think the 2 Litre World swapping with the British has helped both tracks massively. There are some great fixtures for 2024, but I personally can’t wait for Dave Vincent meeting. The Supreme is shaping up to be a fantastic night. We have all the fireworks and pyro with a parade lap for Tye – winning back to back championships last year in a brutal race, honestly I personally can’t wait for this year!’ Terry is clearly exited for what’s in store, and it seems that the Supreme Championship is gaining the prestigiousness that it once had. Terry goes into more detail, ‘the next 12 months look brilliant –  just sit back and enjoy! Here’s just a few on top of the Supreme Championship. The already fully booked annual Good Friday teams, 2 Litre World Final, Waller Reunion weekend, Mick Lown thank you meeting, the 2 BWS rounds, the aforementioned 22 Dave Vincent meeting and non-banger wise the Saloon Stock Cars British weekend, as well as 2 BRISCA F1 meetings. I could just keep going; honestly if there’s nothing that takes your fancy racing isn’t for you!’ 

One thing that has been a regular occurrence since Spedeworth took over the running at Mildenhall is the continuous comparison to the RDC days. Terry comments on that comparison and how the team behind the scenes are working on creating their own brand. ‘The RDC days were untouchable and can’t be beaten, but we can only try to create our very own special memories each and every meeting which I personally think we are doing a very good job – most importantly it can’t be done without the drivers that represent us: I can’t thank them enough.’

Going back to the racing side of things, Terry mentioned his debut was in a Mk3 Ford Granada on a 2L pinto and he loved how the day went. It would be very rare nowadays to see that out on track, so how does he view racing in the modern climate? ‘Things change all the time from when I started. It was so much easier to buy a car and raced it on the engine it had in it; no fancy stuff at all. Unfortunately now it’s follow the leader – because he said do it, you will be fast instead of doing your own thing. I’ve always been a standard man and been very lucky that in the past people have sponsored me tyres for the big events which I’ve been very grateful for. The head to head just gone (Trackstar v Mildenhall 2023), you’ve only got to look at pictures to see nothing has changed with me – no welding, no fancy stuff; like I always say to anyone it’s a banger, use it as a banger! I managed to compete with the very best of drivers over the years, so can anyone else; it’s all in the mind.’

As is common place with our interviewees, I questioned Terry as to whom would make his dream 6 a side team. ‘Honestly I’ve been very lucky that I have enough brothers, especially Jack. Wes Freestone (340) is my brother-in-law, and there’s nothing stronger in my opinion than family. There’s also some brilliant friends that I class as family. I’ve raced alongside in team events the likes of 9 Bruno Norman, 328 Danny Lathan, 326 Shane Lynn, 404 Luke Brinton and that’s just naming a few that you know would have your back in any thing. I’ve guested for the Aftermath; what a team! I’ve done the ORCi Championship with some of the best Trackstar drivers there was. I’ve raced in both sides for the Trackstar vs Mildenhall teams. The Northern Army twice; Motorbitz – I’ve lost count how many times. The legend himself Michael Allard, and been a guest for the Blue Crew. Team Flatout back in the day – me, 119 Davey Cox, 67 Sparky (Mark Whittaker), Shaun and Kyle. I couldn’t ask for any other better teams in my opinion; I’ve been very lucky. The lads that when I was running Junior Bangers at Swaffham Raceway would be cool to race with, especially how good they all are now – 08 Finlay Damon, 13 Harley McCarthy, 90 Joey Holmes Jnr, 555 Harry Gelsthorp, 608 Lenny Murkin – that’s just a few of them and look at them now, but honestly my home is Team Jackpot and always will be.’ 

Terry would like to conclude the interview with numerous thank-you’s. ‘The list is endless. I’ve had so many people help over the years with my racing and they all know who they are. The main 4 are Bruno, Carl, my brother Jack and my dad. I’d never have won or raced like I have without them. I’d also like to thank the wife Siobhaun and my kids Ellie and Harry for pushing me all the way and to let me do as much as I do. I’ll always be forever grateful for everything everyone has done.’

We thank Terry for taking the time out to speak to us and wish him all the best for the 2024 season both racing wise and behind the scenes at Mildenhall.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Interviews