ALLEN Cooper and his friend Ryan Sutcliffe love finding and renovating old Robin Reliants – and then smashing them to smithereens!

Sawtry-based Cooper and his pal are Robin Reliant stock car racers. They tour the country with their three-wheeled mean machines entertaining car enthusiasts and bewildered onlookers alike all over the UK. "You should see their faces when the cars explode into thousands of pieces," the former world champion in the sport told The Hunts Post at his K Cooper Motors family business base in the town. "They are fibreglass so it makes it more fun for the public because when you crash them they explode and there's nothing left of them. I'm often driving around in a roll cage on a chassis at the end of a meet.

"We spend all week building them and painting them and then we go away and smash them up. It's really good fun."

Cooper, 32, began racing the little cars four years ago after a friend introduced him to the sport. At meetings he would often come up against Sutcliffe who hails from Bourne. The pair became friends and now they work the stock car circuit together.

Cooper said: "We race all over the country - recently we have been to Bristol, Hednesford, Mildenhall and Skegness. There are groups that stay close to their tracks, Ryan and I are about the only ones who like to get out and travel."

But the continued destruction of these cars surely doesn't make this a sustainable sport? There can't be many Robin Reliant left, can there? Well, apparently, there are.

"They aren't worth anything for scrap so you find them in farmers' barns and places like that," said Cooper. "They get chucked in the corner of the shed, forgotten about, then word of mouth leads me to them and I pick them up for about £80.

"I'm always on the lookout for them. There are quite a few still hiding around."

Once back at Cooper Motors, the tops are chopped off, a roll cage is inserted, and the lids go back on.

Cooper has won a horde of trophies and has been the world champion - a title he lost when racing in Mildenhall recently.

"I have also been the National Points Champion and Superstar Champion," he said.

Next month the pair will be racing again, this time in King's Lynn. Cooper found his latest model in Sheffield and it is sitting on the forecourt of the garage waiting for its face lift. Then it will get painted up, taken to the track - and absolutely pulverised.

There must be less dangerous ways to spend your weekends, surely?

"That's the excitement of it," said Cooper. "If it wasn't dangerous it would be boring."