Motorsport ace gets into the driving seat with prosthetics

GREEN LIGHT: Ian Shelley, left, and Closewood MD Dean Kirby, right, with the Mini before the race
GREEN LIGHT: Ian Shelley, left, and Closewood MD Dean Kirby, right, with the Mini before the race
From left, University of Portsmouth head of brand strategy and corporate communications Emma Fields, Portsmouth FC commercial director Anna Mitchell, university governor and former Portsmouth FC President David Willan, football club CEO Mark Catlin and university vice chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith

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A motorsport enthusiast with prosthetic knees and feet hit the track in the sixth round of the British retro rallycross challenge with the help of his Havant-based employer.

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 donned the colours of his employer – building services company 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.

He 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.

‘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 included a Porsche 911 and 600 brake horsepower VW Beetle.

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 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 who have worked with Closewood for more than 10 years.