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Racing driver Rob Collard banned from driving
RACING driver Rob Collard has been banned from driving for breaking the speed limit on motorways on two separate occasions.
The British Touring Car driver clocked 93mph in a Bentley, on the M1 in Buckinghamshire on October 5 last year.
Road traffic officers also spotted him travelling at 96mph in a BMW X6 on the northbound M3 on February 24 this year.
The 43-year-old, of Up Green, Eversley, has competed in the British Touring Car Championship since 2000. He now races for eBay Motors and is currently fifth in this year’s standings.
He appeared at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court for sentence having pleaded guilty to the two speeding offences.
Collard’s driving career was not mentioned during the sentencing hearing, but his solicitor Andrew Storch argued that a lengthy driving ban would cause Collard “exceptional hardship”.
He said that Collard would find it difficult to run his demolition firm R Collard Ltd, to take his two sons Ricky and Jordan to karting events, and to care for his father, whom the court heard is overweight and has diabetes.
From the witness box, Collard admitted that his firm had a turnover of £16million last year, making a profit of £600,000 and that he drew a wage of £80,000.
Asked by prosecutor Dan O’Neill if that meant he could afford a driver, Collard said: “That’s an opinion. You are looking at figures from 12 months ago. We have not had anywhere near as much profit as we had last year.”
Mr Storch said: “Mr Collard drives 25,000 to 30,000 miles a year and taking his licence away would have a massive impact on him. He’s obviously a very good driver but too fast.”
The court heard that Collard had been banned for 56 days in 2010 for a speeding offence. He also received penalty points on two other occasions for speeding and driving while using a mobile phone.
Presiding magistrate David Nattrass said it was not a case of exceptional hardship, and banned Collard from driving for 18 months.
He said: “We have had a look at your previous record and there seems to be a wilful disregard for the law regarding speeding. The main reason for the ban is to protect the public.”
Collard was also ordered to pay a £2,000 fine, with a £15 victim surcharge and £35 costs.
Speaking briefly to The Gazette outside court, Collard said he would consider appealing against the length of the disqualification. A spokesman for the Motor Sports Association, which licenses racing drivers, said drivers did not need standard DVLA driving licences to compete.