"Growing up in Lincolnshire, there weren't many cool cars - but there was one Fiesta Zetec S Mk5 in deep Imperial Blue, which we saw from the window of our school bus. Compared to all the silver and grey cars, it really stood out. Later, my friend's brother had one, and I went out in it a few times."
Were there other performance Fords that you dreamed of owning?
"In my first job, the boss's son had a brand-new Focus RS Mk 2 in Ultimate Green. I'd seen it in magazines, but never in the flesh. It made a real impression. I used to wash it twice a week after work for extra money, dreaming of being able to afford one."
"My first car was a Volkswagen Polo, but I soon bought a Fiesta Zetec S Mk5. I'd never ventured far in the Polo, and when I got the Fiesta it was a totally different experience. At the age of 18, it felt quick. It only had 100bhp, but it was very playful and it taught me a lot about how to enjoy driving. I was going on long trips to see friends at university - any excuse to drive, really. I ended up owning it for two years."
How did you make your way into your next performance Ford?
"I was doing a lot of commuting, and the Fiesta was a bit noisy as it had an aftermarket exhaust. I changed to a Renault Megane Sport dCi, which was rarer and more interesting than a Golf TDi. It served me well, but you had to push it for it to impress you. I had a chance encounter at a Ford dealership when I was getting an MOT. They had the 2013 Fiesta ST with the 1.6-litre turbo as a demo car. I took it out for a test drive, and knew I had to have one."
"Yes. I really cherished that car. I drove it everywhere, and I was a member of the owners' club - going to meets and forming friendships. It got plenty of miles on the road, and it saw a few track days. I traded it in for a Focus RS Mk2 last year, and I've never looked back, but that Fiesta ST was incredible. It's a car that Ford fans still rave about, and I'd have another in a heartbeat."
So, tell me about how you got your current Focus RS Mk 2...
"The Focus RS was always on my 'to-own' wish-list. I'd seen one in a local dealership and it re-ignited memories of the Focus RS Mk2 I'd loved as a teenager. I'd recently changed jobs, and after a bit of optimistic man math, it became an option. I had to go for it."
What makes the Focus RS Mk 2 such a special car for you?
"It's the pure drama of it all. It's definitely not understated or subtle. The way you can see the rear wheel arches in the door mirrors. That aggressive rear diffuser, and the gorgeous Performance Blue paint - perhaps the subtlest choice. The five-cylinder noise - the pops and cracks on the gearshift and throttle-off - always make you feel like you're in some animalistic Group B rally car. Add to that the chirps, chuffs, whistles and flutters from the intake, and it makes every journey worthwhile."
"It's the accessibility. The Fiesta ST and Focus RS are genuine performance cars, but they're more affordable and reliable than their rivals, which means more people can buy them and enjoy them. I regularly drive mine to the south of France for family holidays. On the motorways it's comfortable and efficient. In the mountains, the roads get twisty, and you get all the exhaust pops and bangs bouncing off the hills. By the time you reach your destination, you're grinning from ear-to-ear. Far better than sitting on a budget airline."
What's your most memorable road trip in a performance Ford?
"Probably a road trip in Wales in the Fiesta ST with 10 petrolhead friends - all with different hot hatches. We went to Anglesey for a track day, and did a lot of driving on Welsh B-roads. At the start, the Fiesta ST was treated like a bit of an underdog, but it held its own. By the end, my friends were impressed with how it performed. I'd like to repeat that trip with my Focus RS."
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