As this is my first blog of 2012 I want to start off by wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year, a bit late I know!
Since my last blog there has been a few motorsport related events for me but really in the off season everything is focussed on next year, now this year! Also around this time every year I have my birthday, all the more special this year as it was my 18th.
About a week after that was the Autosport show, the show that really kicks things into gear for the forthcoming season. This year was the busiest I have ever been at the Autosport show, I never seemed to stop. On Thursday and Friday I was driving in the live action arena so I set off early Thursday morning to arrive for some practice sessions. I was driving a Ginetta G40 car and was racing against some of the names from both last year and this year. The driving was great fun, a different surface completely changed the way the car handled and produced some really close racing. Our brief was simply “don't crash”, the racing and swapping of places was left to us. By the final practice session on Thursday we got it spot on, we were close in the arena and battling all the time, even in that little space we were managing to get three abreast. One slight problem was that the van racing had dropped some diesel making the outside of the track very greasy. If we went wide we either under steered continuously or had big sideways moments. It did make the racing fun and I enjoyed it very much.
I had a quick look in the show for about half an hour to have a quick chat to sponsor before popping back over to the live action arena for the main performance. I spent about half an hour in the show after that at the Ginetta and MSA stands before dashing off to race in the second Ginetta team in the Celebrity Karting Challenge. I was joined by Tom Ingram, Mike Simpson and Adam Morgan as well as two members of the public, one of which was an old friend from my Karting days. We each got a couple of laps of practice and I felt good in the Kart. I did seem to lose a little to the others on the straights and our first Kart broke down at the hands of Mike Simpson. On changing to our second Kart we realised it was even worse, when we went to full throttle it braked and the engine bogged so much on corners, also it stalled when we came in the pits and when we started it up again the throttle was jammed open.
Everyone seemed to “have a bad kart” but we certainly did. We qualified in mid pack and sent out a public driver to start the race. He spun in avoidance to one of the crashes and at the end of the first stint we were right at the back. Adam Morgan took the kart for the second part of the race who pulled back a few positions. Then our second public driver hopped in before handing over to me. I jumped in and pulled back another position or so before handing over to Tom Ingram and then Mike to finish off. We clawed back a few places from where we started but couldn't quite beat the other Ginetta team, however it was a great event to do and I am very grateful to Race Drivers Inc for organising my place in the team and also to Ginetta for sponsoring the event and having me on their team.
Friday was another busy day, I was representing the MSA Academy on the MSA stand on Friday morning, our job was to man the Batak wall and run the reaction race for the MSA. We had a successful show with many participants throughout the four days. After being on the stand in the morning I went back to the live action arena for the live show on Friday afternoon. With my Dad and many friends watching in the 5000 strong crowd I was eager to put on a good show. The race went well and after that I went back in the show and spent the afternoon meeting various people and buying some new boots and gloves for this year's campaign.
On that Friday night was the annual Ginetta Awards evening held in the Hilton hotel at the NEC, it was a great night surrounded by friends from the season, I was very pleased to win “the RSPCA cruelty to animal's award” as a result of the pigeon incident at Brands Hatch.
Saturday was my last day at the show; I started with a few meetings finishing off form Friday before another stint on the MSA stand in the afternoon.
The week after the Autosport show was manic with follow ups from the weekend before, A level exams and a training day at the Porsche Human Performance centre at Silverstone with Mark Webber.
The day compromised of four sessions, the first was Yoga. I found it very relaxing and it is something I would like to incorporate into my training in the future. The next session was based on Nutrition, every time I have a talk, 1:1, conversation about nutrition I seem to learn something new. After lunch we had a 'Q and A' session with Mark. In the afternoon we went over to iZone for a neck training session. Having a strong neck is obviously very important in motorsport with the 'G forces' involved. The final session was on the iZone simulator, the fastest lap would win a signed Mark Webber cap. After my session I was fastest, but was piped to the post by a couple of tenths of a second. The whole day was a great experience and the knowledge gained will no doubt help me with my off track preparation this year.
Since the Mark Webber day I have sat an A level exam, I was hoping to be able to confirm that I would race in a BTCC support race this last week but unfortunately things haven't come to fruition as early as I'd hoped. Hopefully I will have some good news soon.
Until next month,