A GREENOCK-BORN driver has successfully defended a national motor racing title.

And now Steven Gray is hoping to make it a hat-trick of Scottish Motor Racing Club Ford XR2 Championships.

He was presented with his latest trophy by current British Touring Car Champion Gordon Sheddon at an awards dinner in Edinburgh attended by Olympic champion cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, who is now racing cars instead of bikes. Steven, 37, is one of the few people to win the event twice — and no-one has done it three times.

He said he was ‘really happy’ to clinch the title for the second time.

Steven said: “It was good to know that I could manage to do it again, and that last year I wasn’t just lucky.

“I will be racing in the same class this year defending the title. I’m then hoping to move up a class to the Fiesta STs.

“However, that involves a new car and will depend on my finances at that time.”

Steven said he was also fortunate that, in the last race of the season, he managed to break the Knockhill racing circuit lap record for the ford XR2s class.

He said: “The conditions were perfect for it, as it was a cold day, which means that the engines pull better than normal.

“This helped me to get ahead of the rest of the drivers in the group.

“By this time I had accumulated enough points that, even if I didn’t finish, I had already won the championship.

“With this in mind, I just threw everything at breaking the lap record and, fortunately I was successful. It was the perfect end to the season!”

Steven now lives and works in Aberdeen, but has family in Greenock including his grandfather, George Gray, who is well known through Telegraph stories about campaigning for a medal for veterans of the World War Two Arctic Convoys.

George, 89, is a patient in Inverclyde Royal Hospital, where Steven visited him with both of his trophies.

Steven lived in Ardgowan Street as a youngster, but his family moved to Aberdeen for employment reasons.

His dad, also named George, said: “Steven has been involved in the motor racing scene since he was 19, and took part in a residential driver training course at Silverstone, where he was trained in driving techniques, car set-up and the rules and regulations for going racing.

“After this he scraped together the cash to buy his first car, a Ford Fiesta XR2. He joined the Scottish Motor Racing Club, which allowed him to take part in its races, held mainly at Knockhill with the occasional one in England.

“He works as a project manager with an information technology firm in Aberdeen, and had to take time off driving for eight years when he was based in America, London and Angola.

“During this time, however, he kept his car at Knockhill and managed to give it the occasional run.”