<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher is mastering a real-life role as a racing driver

PUBLISHED: 12:05 07 July 2014 | UPDATED: 17:00 24 October 2015

Emmerdale actor, Kelvin Fletcher

Emmerdale actor, Kelvin Fletcher

Archant

TV fans know Kelvin Fletcher as dependable Andy Sugden but the Oldham actor is mastering a real-life role as a racing driver. Paul Taylor reports

Emmerdale actor, Kelvin Fletcher, and Nick Reynolds of RLR Motorsport with students, Jeremy Illman and Daniel Rathmill Emmerdale actor, Kelvin Fletcher, and Nick Reynolds of RLR Motorsport with students, Jeremy Illman and Daniel Rathmill

Life is moving very quickly for actor Kelvin Fletcher. When he is not commuting down the M62 from home in Oldham to Leeds for his day job in TV soap Emmerdale, he is getting behind the wheel of a race car which would leave the average road-going Ferrari for dead.

Little more than two years after chancing his arm at car racing, he is a driver for Bolton-based RLR Msport, competing in the VdeV European Sports Prototype Championship. That means Kelvin and fellow team-members Alex Craven and Robbie Kerr driving, in relay, in endurance races lasting up to nine hours, in a 580kg car producing 250bhp from its 2-litre Honda VTEC engine. A prang and a fuel injection problem hampered the team’s chances in the season’s first two races, but there are several more to go across Europe until November.

‘A prototype is an out and out race car,’ Kelvin explains at RLR Msport’s base in the University of Bolton’s Centre for Advanced Performance Engineering. ‘It’s very physical. Because of the extra downforce and grip, you’re going through corners with such momentum it’s physically exhausting.’

Kelvin is, of course, a fit lad, his well-toned physique being no secret to viewers of Emmerdale. But he adds: ‘There are different types of fitness. I do keep active, whether it be cycling, rowing or weights, but it’s a different fitness. It’s a mental test as well.’

Nick in action on the track at Donington Nick in action on the track at Donington

Kelvin’s first foray into motor racing came after he visited an autosport show with his dad Warren in January 2012.‘There was a little classic Mini with a price list next to it saying: “You can go racing in this car for X amount”. In motorsport terms it was a drop in the ocean, about £3,000 a year.’

So he got a racing licence, weeks later competed in his first race at Oulton Park, Cheshire, and ended his first season winning the championship class in which he had started as a novice.

‘Mid way through this, I got asked to do a celebrity race sponsored by Morgan at Silverstone, with some big names like Jamiroquai and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, and I won that,’ says Kelvin.

Last year, Kelvin stepped up to the Porsche GT3 Cup Championship, coming third at the end of the season. Now the VdeV championship puts him in a dedicated racing car. It’s been a meteoric rise for a 30-year-old who says: ‘I’ve loved cars for as long as I can remember. I’d be crawling under the dining room table at home pretending it was an engine.’

Nick preparing to race at Donington Park Nick preparing to race at Donington Park

Recalling childhood in Oldham, Kelvin says: ‘I was the kind of lad who had ants in his pants. I did every hobby - rugby, cricket, football, badminton...anything.

‘My elder sister Keeley was going to Oldham Theatre Workshop, and it had a real name for itself. It was an amateur dramatic centre but it was turning out some decent people (Anna Friel, Suranne Jones, Sarah Lancashire, Lisa Riley and Natalie Casey to name but a few). I went along not with the ambition to be an actor or to become famous, but it was just another little hobby. And it was great. I loved it from day one.’

Having started acting at seven, Kelvin had several TV roles even before starting secondary school. Early on in his time at North Chadderton School, he landed the part of Andy Sugden in Emmerdale, juggling school work with filming schedules, and 18 years on, is still in the role. ‘It’s a great place to be working,’ he says. ‘I’m doing my hobby as a job.’

Now another hobby, car-racing, is becoming central to Kelvin’s life, and he can’t quite believe how well it is going.

‘I’ve been reluctant to set any major aims because it’s still just two years into something I did as a bit of a weekend thing with my dad,’ he says. ‘I’m still a bit mesmerised and taken aback. I’m lapping it up, enjoying every race, going up against people who’ve been racing for ten years plus in different formulas.’

RLR MSport is based at the University of Bolton’s Centre for Advanced Performance Engineering (CAPE) making it the only fully-fledged racing team to be based on a university campus in the UK.

Dotted around CAPE’s spacious workshops are an intriguing assortment of race cars, modern and historic - some owned by RLR, some belonging to customers with deep pockets. And while RLR puts those cars in peak racing condition, students taking BSc and BEng degrees at CAPE get the chance to work on them with engineers as part of a real race team.

‘We set out to make it a real life experience,’ says Nick Reynolds, head of CAPE and, with long-time colleague Jason Longworth, team principal of RLR. ‘They are getting day-to-day contact with industry. They come in and help us with problems we have, and they come to the tracks and are treated as a normal member of staff when we’re away.’

Nick, aged 39, has been involved in race teams since he was 15, but though he has test-driven many of the cars he has worked on, he has never been tempted to race competitively. ‘Once you start spending the money, racing’s like a drug,’ he says. ‘You won’t stop.’

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

A singing group has been raising money for the RNLI with traditional sea shanties. Jo Skorecki dropped in to the lifeboat station to meet them.

Read more
Lytham
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Lancaster’s popular orchestra has a new man at the conductor’s podium

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Alfie Boe has performed all over the world, but nothing beats a return to his home town

Read more
Fleetwood
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Alison O’Neill has become well-known as The Barefoot Shepherdess but life in the fells would be impossible without her four-legged friends. Emily Rothery met them.

Read more
Dogs
Monday, February 5, 2018

Lancashire has witnessed some of the most important events in the Suffragette movement, we take a look at the places where you can see them first-hand.

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Many of us are frustrated by our inability to swim well. Sarah Hill did something about it and now helps others. She spoke to Roger Borrell.

Read more
Monday, January 22, 2018

Blackpool legend Jimmy Armfield spoke to Lancashire Life in 2008 about fighting cancer, being the county’s busiest pensioner and autograph etiquette. Interview by Paul Mackenzie.

Read more
Monday, January 22, 2018

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA CUFF

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Come rain or shine, this dedicated team of volunteers will be on the roads helping save lives. Rebekka O’Grady reports

Read more
Thursday, January 11, 2018

It’s hard to tell which are the hardier in winter - the farmers or the sheep. Writer and photographer Irene Amiet went to find out

Read more
Thursday, January 4, 2018

Stonyhurst College houses the oldest surviving museum collection in the English speaking world.

Roger Borrell reports

Read more
Stonyhurst
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Just back from the jungle, Jennie McAlpine on missing her family and serving tea fit for a queen. Mairead Mahon reports

Read more
Afternoon Tea Manchester
Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Britain has never produced another hero like Dan Dare. Charlie Connelly pays tribute to a figure with strong Lancashire roots who has shaped our art, literature, science and architecture.

Read more
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It’s been an action packed year in Lancashire, how much of it can you remember?

Read more
Quiz
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search