Luke started competing as a 14 years old back in 1998 in the Junior White Rose Autograss Championship and it was soon apparent that he had somewhat of a special talent,
“When we started we had an old Mini that was at least 10 bhp down on the rest of the field, but despite that he still managed to win the championship in his first full season!
Luke then managed to surpass that achievement by winning the Senior Championship the following year in the same car, despite being up against teams that had many years of experience.
The turn of the millennium saw Luke pass his driving test and compete in his first rally in a Peugeot 205 GTI. Gaining experience and getting some of the big accidents out of the way by the start of the 2005 season Luke was ready to move up a step into the Peugeot 206 1400 challenge which ran alongside the ANCRO National Rally Championship. This year was the turning point, winning every rally that he completed and taking the prestigious Championship title, the Junior title along and an overall class win in the ANCRO championship.
Over the years Luke has forged a fantastic reputation both on and off events, with a number of top teams recognising Luke’s technical development qualities that have seen him contribute significantly to the development of a variety of leading rally cars. Luke has also forged an excellent reputation in the media with him regularly contributing to a number of newspapers, magazines, websites and TV.
2006 started well, Luke won a scholarship to attend the legendary Norwegian Ice Driving school of John Haugland. Luke left the school with a glowing recommendation from Haugland and the fastest ever time on the frozen lake in a 2 wheel drive car. John Haugland invited Luke to Rally Bohemia to assist in gravel noting for the Norwegian crews and to develop his own pace note technique. Luke was also invited back to Norway to Drive the Peugeot Norway celebrity car later in the year. In domestic rallies Luke had a quiet season with only a couple of class wins mainly due to spending time helping to develop the new (at the time) Citroen C2R2
2007 was another outstanding year for Luke, having been crowned Silverstone Tyres Stars 1400 Rally Champion (with Co-Driver Martyn Taylor). Driving a Chris Birkbeck prepared development Ford KA, Luke overcame problems in the earlier rounds of the Championship to finish strongly and clinch victory in the final event of the season. Their prize was a works drive for MG on Wales Rally GB Luke and Martyn had their first class in at World Championship level and made light of the fact that it was their first outing in the 1400cc MGZR and despite driving the lowest powered car in the event they finished comfortably ahead of many of their more powerful rivals.
2008 saw Luke build on his highly successful partnership with Chris Birkbeck, this time in a development 1400cc Ford Puma. For most of the year he led the highly competitive British Rally Championship R2 class and the BRC Junior class culminating in his nomination for the 2008 Pirelli Star Driver Award.
2009 has been another outstanding year for Luke who has been crowned Swift Sport Cup Champion, BRC R1 Class Winner and for the second successive year is a finalist for the 2009 Pirelli Star Driver Award.
2010 saw another (aborted) attempt at the BRC R2 Championship. Early mechanical issues meant that Luke was not in contention for the overall and by May the championship class was no longer winnable. So with a heavy heart he withdrew from the battle.
2012 brought another development car deal with Chris Birkbeck. This time a clubman specification Fiesta ST. Between them Luke and Chris Birkbeck developed a kit of parts to make the Fiesta a competitive car outside of its FIA homologation. The car was developed over 2012 / 2013 and by the end of 2013 was seen to be capable of overall rally wins.
2014 saw a massive change in direction. The British Rally Championship was in disarray and another year of club level rallying did not appeal. So we went circuit racing. Monster Sport Europe the company responsible for the Swift Sport Cup back in 2009 had become involved with Renault to develop an entry level car for circuit racing. On the way home from the initial meeting in January Luke sourced a Clio 197 ordered the kit and built a car in time for the first round in April. Without any testing and a car set up as a tarmac rally car Luke led both races at the first meeting at Rockingham, finally settling for 4th place in the first race and a last lap retirement when in 3rd position in the second race. Encouraged, Luke ended the season with 2 wins and podiums on every other race that he completed.
For 2015 the mission was to win the series outright and this was achieved after 9 wins and a 3rd out of the 10 races completed. Along the way Luke established new lap records at every circuit visited and sealed the “Road series championship” at the final round at Silverstone.
So onto 2016 The ambition for the year was to be competitive within the race car class of the Michelin Clio Cup Series. Pre-season testing revealed a number of problems with the 2015 championship winning car which had been purchased over the winter. This culminated in a “nut and bolt” rebuild and involved replacing numerous parts. Unfortunately, this distracted us from our planned testing program and before we knew it the first race of the season was upon us in mid-March at Oulton Park in Cheshire and we were on the back foot. Further problems running up to Oulton Park required us to Borrow a gear box because our own box was in need of significant investment. Undaunted Luke came away with a 4th and a 3rd place in his first meeting after almost zero testing.
Rounds 3, 4 and 5 were at the 2nd meeting of the year at Pembrey in South Wales. Because there were 3 round it was important that Luke had a competitive showing in all of the races. Again in the run up to the event our planned testing was disrupted because of further gearbox issues, the newly rebuilt gearbox developed some new problems and again precious budget and time was spent resolving the problem. Round 3 saw Luke in 4th position. He actually led the second race and eventually finished second before salvaging 5th place in round 5 with severely worn tyres.
The run up to rounds 6 and 7 at Rockingham finally looked to be going his way. A good test 2 weeks before the meeting gave us the confidence that finally the car was sorted. That was proved with a very good pair of qualifying results just 1 hundredth of a second off of pole position for both races. In round 6 a poor start put paid to any ambitions of winning, but Luke drove extremely well to defend his 3rd place all the way to the checkered flag. Race 7 saw Luke’s best performance so far this year. After a brilliant start Luke led the race for 10 of the 12 laps and defended the position until whilst lapping the much slower “Road” category cars one of them caused Luke to slow down whilst on the high speed Rockingham banking, by the time it was all sorted Luke had lost a couple of places and held on to 3rd at the flag.
Round 8 and 9 are to be held at Brands Hatch in Kent on 25th and 26th of June. This is a track that Luke has won at previously and expects to be “there or there abouts” this time.