For those of you who aren’t aware, I’m gearing myself up for a new racing season of my own.
My racing career began all the way back when I was a small, snot-nosed kid wandering around the scenic grounds of Beaulieu.
I’d been taken out for the day by my Father, who had clearly enjoyed being surrounded by pieces of Automotive history, and had absolutely loved every single minute of it. Still – although I’d marvelled at all the iconic vehicles and soaked up the heritage, I found my young legs wandering towards the sight and sound of racing cars.
As the go-karts, driven by other young tykes, whizzed around the track. I felt in me a thrill of competitive spirit – something that I had not experienced before. My Father had always commented on my being a rather placid, laid back child. A boy that was always happy just to take part, perfectly content with not winning. That all changed as soon as I stepped into a go-kart for the first time. My foot on the acceleration pedal and the roar of the engines combined with my own fantasies of race car driving to create an experience that was not only thrilling, but also life affirming.
I don’t remember where I placed that day, truth be told I don’t think anyone was even keeping track, but it took a good few hours for the adrenaline rush of that feeling to fade. All the way home in the car, my mind exploded with the possibilities of my future as a race car driver.
In my mind I saw myself lifting my first Juniors trophy, after narrowly edging out a bitter rival that I had met the previous season. After a rocky ride up through the amateur ranks, I would suffer a minor setback and injury, allowing my Italian rival (for some reason, I felt that the bad guys in Motorsports were always Italian – blame my parents!) to surpass me in skills.
The first year, however, racing for the unsung construction legends of Lotus, I would make a miraculous debut, stunning critics and fans alike. What would follow then would be your typical arc of consistent winning, followed by a brief lull in form, then followed by a grand return to the podium that would set the internet on fire and cement myself as a true legend of the sport.
Of course, my world view at the time was woefully limited to my own small successes as a driver. In my young, poorly educated mind – I had all that I needed to become the next Kimi Raikkonen. I was lacking somewhat, however, when it came to the other key ingredients needed to start a successful career as a race-car driver. Things such as good reactions, a decent nearby track to practice on and money. So much money
With three other siblings, all of whom had their own hobbies and fantasies to follow, there was little or no chance of me developing my racing skills further beyond the Go Karting track.
Thankfully, despite years of watching my own personal racing dream fall through my fingers, I finally found a way to race ‘professionally’ when I was much older. Thanks to a stable income (and no kids to support) I finally scratched together the cash for a vehicle of my own. This little Fiesta was a worthy old banger. Just about fit for it’s MOT each time it came round, I was always thankful for the rock solid engine it hid under it’s hood – despite the fact that I was forever being forced to replace the cooling fans inside the vehicle itself on hot sunny days.