Oliphant (Olly) Biggar Ross was born in Onich, near Fort William, on the 31st December 1944. At the age of nine, Olly moved with his family to Helensburgh, a town that was not unfamiliar to him having visited it many times to see his Grandparents.
Olly’s grandparents were well known within the Helensburgh community, as both sets managed successful businesses within the town. The Ross’s owned and managed the O B Ross & Sons shoe shop on Sinclair Street and the Lomond Footwear shoe factory in Princes Street, whilst his Great Grandparent was Easton the Dentist, also on Sinclair Street. Olly’s parents settled in the town and started the Lennox School of Motoring.
Having completed his education at both Hermitage Primary and Secondary schools (East Argyll St), Olly set out on a journey that was to define his next 50 years and fire his passion for motor cars by running the Lennox Car Services garage in Cardross. In 1968 Olly acquired the Kenway School of Motoring which he still runs to this day.
Olly’s second career as one of Scotland’s motor racing greats commenced in 1964, when, as a young man, he started competing in Speed Hill Climb and Sprint events (against the clock) and then moved on to circuit racing having won most of the speed championships.
Over the past 40 years, Olly has competed in more than 30 different cars; many supplied by his friends and sponsors, ranging from F2 Brabham – Porches – Lotus through to TVRs. Since winning his first title in 1965, Olly has almost become a permanent fixture on the centre of the podium, winning an incredible 200 races and 18 major titles. It is widely believed that Olly is the only man to have won so many major championships in different motor sport classes from saloon cars, sports cars, GT cars and racing cars.
With a support team of local garages such as Alan Scott, SAS and Autotechnique (Olly’s current sponsors), Olly continues to seek competitive series to race in, sticking to his fiercely competitive aim of proving that he, and the team, could win any race in any type of car in which they entered.
Motor racing is by its nature an expensive sport, and Olly has always raced on shoe string budget. He readily admits that his personal success would not have been possible without the support of long term sponsors: Bruno’s Hairdresser, Hart Insurance Co, Helensburgh Tyre services, Alan Scott Tuning and his current racing team sponsor - Autotechnique. Olly has also been fortunate to have enjoyed the support of mechanics Stu Massie and Tim Moriarty, who have been repairing his damaged vehicles since the 1960s.
Affectionately known as the fastest OAP in Scotland, Olly is currently racing a Lotus Europa in the Scottish Classic racing series, a series which he won outright in the 2007 and 2008 seasons, and in which he won the 2 Litre class in 2009. Whilst Olly maintains the natural fitness, dedication and skill to compete at the top level, he will continue to do so. Accidents are an occupational hazard of the sport, and Olly admits that he has been lucky to have suffered only two major accidents throughout his long career, one leaving him with eleven inches of titanium in his right arm and elbow which fortunately does not hinder him in any way.
A modest man, Olly attributes his success to two main factors: the ingenuity and expertise of his friends and sponsors and his ability to be fast and consistent.
He recently stated: “I have been a driving instructor all my life and a qualified motor racing instructor for the past thirty years. The two disciplines are entirely opposite and that’s what keeps life interesting.”
Olly continues to live in Helensburgh.
Olly Ross – Scottish Motor Sport Major Honours
1977 Scottish Sprint Championship Class winner
1979 Scottish Sprint Championship Class winner
1985 Scottish Saloon Car Champion (circuits)
1985 West of Scotland Speed Champion
1989 Scottish Mod Sports Champion (circuits)
1992 Scottish Saloon Car Champion (circuits)
1992 West of Scotland Speed Champion
1993 Scottish Sprint Champion
1993 Scottish Road Car Champion
1994 Scottish Kit Car Champion (circuits)
1995 Runner up Kit Car Championship (circuits)
1996 Scottish Sports Car Champion (circuits)
2001 Scottish Sprint Champion
2001 Scottish Speed Champion
2001 West of Scotland Speed Champion
2003 Scottish Sprint Champion
2007 Scottish Classic Sports and Saloon Car Champion (circuits)
2008 Scottish Classic Sports and Saloon Car Champion (circuits)
2009 Scottish Classic Sports and Saloon Car Champion Class C