It's Race Season!

Yay!

 

I can’t believe it is race season either, even if it did technically start last weekend, so I’m late to the game celebrating but I was so excited that I spent my whole time watching it not talking about it. However now I have had my first fix I think I am slowly returning from cloud nine.

We kicked it off by attending our little Mazda’s first group outing at Brands Hatch. It was amazing to go and see everyone again, it was like a movie scene when the cast get reunited. However, there were so many new faces it was hard to keep up. Now, I am not going to pretend I have already learnt everyone’s names but a trick to the trade is learning the cars livery. Down side, you tend to only recognise the drivers with their helmets on.

It was a good weekend, but it did come with a few typical ‘first weekend’ outcomes. There was damage, there were defiantly lessons learned and of course I got my workout in running after drivers as usual.

BTCC are also kicking off their year with a wee trip to Brands Hatch. TSL is constantly on the radio in the garage back home, and AJKTV re-runs are blasting Andy McEwan voice around the office.

All this excitement has Mike running from the race car to the TV and back again (good, it makes up for him skipping the gym this week).

This is being kept short and sweet as we can hear the sound of rumbling engines outside.

 

Till next time,

CR Team

Blowing out the cobwebs.

So as most of you (hopefully) may know by now we race our little Mazda mx5 with the BRSCC, but an opportunity to do something a little different came up. I was working my way through the various social media platforms and spotted a team looking for drivers for an endurance race, seems interesting, not only that but it was at my local circuit; Croft. I couldn’t miss out on this really as I have been wanting to try my hand at endurance racing for ages. Now the idea of a shared drive might be a nightmare for some people, but putting your faith in somebody else to bring it home for you is truly exciting for me. It’s like watching your favourite football team (other sports are available) and once it gets to half time you and your mates don your shirts and take over.

I got in contact with Jo who runs JDC Racing and expressed my interest, we covered the details of cost, liability, blah, blah, blah and that was it, I signed up to take the seat and suddenly I had entered my first endurance race!

We drove to Croft after a long day at work counting down the hours until race time. Finally after a full year of sitting track side I was getting back on the black stuff. Saturday morning came and we met for the first time. For those of you that have followed us for a while you may know we don’t test, not through choice! we just don’t. My first time sitting in the car was when I was shoe horned in for the last 20 minutes of qualifying.

Or so we thought.

Instantly this felt so different to our little Mazda, the throw on the gears was long and numb, I was really struggling to find gears. It had ABS and traction control still active. Ooo I didn’t  like this one little bit. But I slowly built up some speed taking in the track more than anything else. I should say at this point that it was wet, very wet, even for Croft. I head around the hairpin ready to start my first flying lap and I see…the f**king chequered flag!!!! WHAT?! Qualifying had been cut short. I wasn’t a happy bunny to say the least, but I wasn’t going to spit my dummy out. It would get me nowhere so what’s the point.

We can skip some of the details of what happens next but we can just say everything got resolved.

Race One:

With endurance racing it was a rolling start and one of the other drivers, Nick, got us going. Very shortly after the safety car was back out on track. I was next with Gary our other driver putting in the 3rd stint. Race 1 closed out with us in 13th. It didn’t set the world on fire but in all fairness overtaking opportunities are hard to come by when, I think, the safety car put in the more laps that race than any of the race cars.  Honestly cars where falling off left, right, and centre. I couldn’t believe it. On the bright side though we could chalk it off as a dress rehearsal.

Even though we were the only championship there time was short, race 1 finished and we had enough time to swap the tires, dump some fuel in and send the car and Nick on their way to form up for race 2.

Race 2:

Our starting position was dictated by our finishing position in race 1, so we were 13th on the grid. Nick got a good start and was making his way through the pack, with pit stops and Nick pushing on, at one point we were actually leading the race. When Nick’s stint ended we were 5th, but by the time a driver swap was done and I headed out onto track we were sitting pretty in 22nd. My only instruction was “give it some b***ocks!” After all the pit stops were complete and a few overtakes I was sitting in 17th. This was not where we wanted to be. Jo had said previously that if we could make it into the top 5 he would be over the moon, so lets get it done...

I came out of the pit lane after scanning my tag to be greeted immediately by the safety car board. This was my opportunity to catch the pack and get straight into the race once the green flags are out. A few laps passed and we were finally set free. A quick check of the mirrors and all I could see were head lights, first task; shake them off. Meanwhile ahead of me I could see the spray from the red and yellow 461 car getting closer. I threw it up the inside on the exit of the Jim Clark Esses and that gave me the breathing room from my pursuer that I needed to get my head down. No sooner had I passed 461, I caught up with a 3 car battle going through sunny in, probably not the best place to just surprise someone given the antics of today so far. It seemed that nearly every time I came through Barcroft somebody was in the grass at the sunny's, I killed a bit speed and lined up my run through sunny out. I came out faster than the battling 3 and had the run up the inside toward the complex, I was off the normal line heading toward the braking point but this was a wet race; advantage Mike. Unfortunately 484's driver was brave and stuck it out around the outside of me but we both lived to fight another lap. On the entrance to Clervaux I seen my chance and took a dive up the inside only to be greeted by them ever so familiar yellow flags. I gave the place back. Finally a dive up the inside at tower saw me through; giving me a good run through the Esses gaining me another place before sunny in. This turned out to be 'my move' as over the next 3 laps it gained me a further handful of places and put me right on the back of the blue and orange 445, but no matter how hard Each of us tried; I couldn't pass and they couldn't shake me. Lap after lap passed each lap at least one car on average was passed, but no matter how many times Simon from SJS vehicle movements pointed that car out as my next target 445 just teased me by staying around a second ahead.

I chased 445 for the rest of my stint each time pushing a little harder, braking a little later, and a few times running a little wider than I would like, even back markers (at least that’s what I thought) didn't bring us much closer together. By the time my stint finished I was feeling it. I pulled in for the driver change only to have a phone shoved in my face displaying a TSL timing screen, I was 7th. I couldn't believe it, they weren't back markers, they were overtakes for position, I went out for an hour lapping a little over 2 minutes a lap in the wet, and passed 14 cars excluding safety car periods and abandoned overtakes due to yellow flags I averaged an over take every other lap, not bad going considering I hadn’t drove this car before this morning and hadn't drove a car in anger at all for over 18 months. These "back markers" were the racers I read about before coming here, LMP3 drivers, historic formula 1 drivers, Ginetta champions, I tell you it; it was a great feeling.

As I get out Jo warns me to take on some water and get some energy, I'm going back out to take the flag for 20 minutes when Gary comes in. Bless Gary had an issue I doubt any of the drivers in the glitz and glamour of motor sport have, he couldn't do a long stint because it would make him late for night shift. As soon as he was out of the car he dived into his road car and was on his way to work. I jump back in for the final stint of the day (Nick had left) and got the hammer down. Just before I jumped in the car I heard a car 'lock up' heading into the hairpin, that tire screech let me know one thing, there's a dry line. Car fuelled, man hood squashed, I'm ready to go. When Gary came in we were 5th but due to the driver change I tagged out in 7th. Using the dry line I could push the car harder than before, within 2 laps the lap timer on the dash board was lit up in those beautiful green LED's, I was beating our fasted lap every time I passed the timing beacon, but yet I still felt like there was more in the car. Toward the end of the race cars began dropping off the track and the only explanation was the dry line was allowing drivers to push harder for longer meaning the original fuel calculations were off, Thankfully Jo insisted we throw some in before I go out.

Finally, after a long day, I round the hairpin for the last time and see the chequered flag but more importantly the pit wall full of my team holding a pit board reading P3. P3? P3! I could not believe it this little car in its first round of the C1 endurance club brought it home onto the podium.

What a day!

Mike

Pushing Limits

I am currently sat at the gym… okay were going to be honest in this one… laid down on the floor at the gym. Out of breath.  It is now officially the month were race season is kicking off and I have procrastinated and distracted myself to the point where I woke up this morning and realised that I am roughly 3 months too late, to get back in shape. A moment I am sure at least most of us will have come across in our time.

I have not even started yet but I feel like I am out of time. Yep, sounds about right. So, I am here, laying down at the gym trying to remember that once upon a time I could do this. Its making me contemplate this up and coming season. How on earth did I do this? It is not rhetorical, I really want to know.

Race season is no joke, it can take its toll on you both mentally and physically. Everyone I know says they understand what is included in the race weekends but its also the prep work to get there, the aftermath of arriving home. But okay, yes the weekends at the circuits are some of the hardest I have ever had. Physically you walk around 20,000 steps a day on average, you eat nothing and drink… gin, damn this honesty. Its rough, so this year I am making a conscious effort to be prepared as much as I can before we go racing. Food, working out, actually reading a map before leaving home, and I think I might give the gin a miss…might! I think it will go towards my mental health. It is very stressful at race weekends and it is not all parties and fun like it is perceived.

Mental health is a big issue at the moment and I don’t think it is addressed enough within the Motorsports world. But why not? That is my mantra in life, why not? So lets talk.

My fear in motorsports has nothing to do with getting hurt, it is mostly about messing up. I am someone who tries very hard in everything that I do, so messing up is my worse nightmare. I worry it will affect how I am perceived by others and effect the whole team. If I do something wrong, where does the domino trail end? Sounds silly?… most likely. But if you have ever been lucky enough to become apart of a paddock where people know you, you come to realise the pressure you build up in your head, doesn’t exist. I learnt the hard way to pop the bubble of dread and concern, and realise that there are others out there that think the same way.

I don’t race, but I have enough going on that I understand the extreme pressure the drivers go through. I feel like I am in the car with them at times I swear. When something goes awry it is hard not to retreat into yourself, but one good thing is the paddock. No matter what championship you’re in, it always feels like a family. The team mates you have will be there, more than some of your real family. I found a coping mechanism in talking to people. Even if it is not about what your brain won’t shut up about, it still helps to feel like there is open communication. If you don’t know where you are, what your doing, or what went wrong, go get some lunch and have a chat to the person in the next awing.

As I say I don’t race, but I have never seen so many people bond over a mutual interest.

I am however a very competitive person, but I don’t think the ‘Winning is Life’ culture belongs in the paddock. Winning is fun but it is all you concentrate on it builds a bad atmosphere and it is all consuming. The way forward should be ‘Racing is Life’, it promotes racing and family and teams, not all about one person. It can take the pressure off you. I have walked around enough paddocks to notice the people chatting are not always on about who won, its more about taking part.

So, I am going to get off this floor, go home and come back tomorrow as one thing I have come to remember is that it doesn’t ever end. I will take it one step at a time. Fingers crossed this will turn into me running, but for now I just hope that there are more people that can take these racing weekends as a way of escaping the stress, not adding to it.

L

30 years of magnificent Miata’s

There was a big birthday for the Mazda family this week and a lot of people across the world got involved. It was the celebration of Mazda MX-5, it has been a long journey but shockingly it still only 30 years young!

To celebrate Mazda threw a big party – as we all would – there was plenty of Mazda MX-5’s to go round, with the colour scheme sporting the new racing orange created for all the new limited editions. It was nice to hear that even after all this time that the Mazda MX5 Miata is showing to have a bright future. Obviously, this celebration was to look at the road car mostly but that’s not how we kick it round here. We take things to the track.

A little roadster once upon a time had big dreams of living life to the max. The saying in the Mazda HQ is ‘Jinba lttai’ – A feeling of oneness that makes driving something to fall in love with. We feel this every time that ‘ON’ switch is flicked up and a little roar vibrates through the car right into our fingertips gripped around the worn out steering wheel. Being in our little MK1 we can feel the passion given to these little beauties back in the 90’s. We walked passed a nut and bolt the other day and instantly new that came off a front bumper of an MX5. We love these little roadsters. they’re unmistakably timeless, the sweeping lines and above all else, the simplicity of what is just metal essentially.

But its not though is it? For those seen on the road, those gone down the mad-max route or like us, those who took the MX5 and given it a new lease of life as a race car, everyone loves them. A Million sales and four generations later we are still turning our heads when one goes past. Mazda describes that this edition of the family belongs to the fans and no one else.

Mazda sees a future for these. The racing orange colour will be splashed across all the new limited edition, a new colour that is to show the breaking of dawn on the next chapter. What will come of it we don’t know. But what we are sure is that the Mazda Race Cars like ours will not be going anywhere.

Now lets Zoom Zoom to the race season ahead.

CR Team

Survival Guide To Being A Racer's Girlfriend

I have thought long and hard about making this blog and after far too many bad hair days and being freezing cold in a tent in April. I thought my knowledge of how to survive, it would be rude not to share.

I had what can only be described as a baptism of fire when Mike first said he wanted to go racing. Two hours into what turned out to be a 11 hour drive from Northumberland to Brands Hatch was where I remember being hit with the realisation that this was not going to be all fun and games. Four years on and the games of I spy and ‘who can make the funniest word from the licence plates’ games are still going strong, and I think I have a pretty fool-proof system to surviving your boyfriend, husband, partner’s addiction to racing.

RULE NO. 1

Wet Wipes - sounds obvious but you would be surprised how few people bring them. Trust me when I say THERE IS NO WHERE TO WASH. Sorry, that might have been to much. But it is true. I can list around 3 maybe 4 race tracks I have been to in the UK which have decent washing facilities. I should explain when I say ‘washing facilities’ I mean everything from a tap on the wall and bucket right through to private showers. These also come in handy beyond washing yourself. They are great for getting that spilled petrol off your hands.

RULE NO.2

Eye mask - You would think the next bit would be ‘ear plugs’ but lets just be honest, these never work. On the flip side your most likely not going to get any sleep anyway, your at a race track! You ARE going to wake up to the sound of car’s popping and banging right next to your head in the next awning. I don’t get it but after four years I am still paying to go to these events and be sleep deprived. An eye mask - trust me. Actually, I once drove an entire day to a track in the middle of no where (Castle Combe), I arrived on the hottest day of 2018 and I opened my boot to realise I had forgotten my tent pegs. I ended up crashing on a air mattress in the middle of the paddock, totally on display, lucky I have great people in my Mazda paddock who didn’t draw on me.

RULE NO. 3

Extra Fluffy Socks - Okay, they do not have to be fluffy. The race track is a place where on one day you can get sunburn and then the next see the paddock practically float away. plus putting them on after a long day of being on your feet just makes me have a spilt second moment of being back home all comfy and cosy. On the bonus side, you know your feet are going to be warm and looked after. The most important lesson at track side is if you look after your feet, your feet will look after you.

RULE NO. 4

Trainers - Not flat shoes, trainers. I will be honest here, I am one of those girls that giggle when I see girlfriends running through the paddock in 6 inch heels and short skirts. I understand pit girls, sure they have a job to do and most of the time they then take those off and put on Ugg boots, that is when they are not in front of the camera. However I know their pain. I can giggle now as I was one of those girlfriends way back when, when I used to turn up in my best jeans and high heeled boots. After a full race weekend or two you learn to not bother. NO ONE has sympathy for your sore feet. Plus when it starts raining, and it will, you want to be able to move fast. I have learnt the hard way so you dont have to.

RULE NO. 5

Battery Pack - Whether it is for yourself when your phone died through boredom, or through the more likely option of, following your partner round like a professional documenting everything. I had to follow Mike around getting photos of him working on the car, racing the car, packing up, talking to people, posting it on all of the social sites. It becomes quite overwhelming after a while. On the bonus side you can ensure that his device are all charged and score extra brownie points to cash in later. Maybe even on a new pair of heels for when he takes you to dinner. 

BONUS POINT:

Not something I would say is a rule but more of a tip. Try and carry a compact powder foundation around with you in your jacket coat. Sounds over kill at a race track, I know. I don’t even do this in normal life however all the fumes and dirty around at the track can make your face sweat more, you will be exposed to the elements more, all moving your make up. Not the mention all the hat wearing you will be doing and that rain that suddenly comes from nowhere. Just carry it around, when you pop to the loos just take a tissue and wipe away the excess oils or build up and reapply. Keeps you looking fresh even when you have slept on an airbed in a field and wake up to car fumes in your face.

That is it for now but just know I am wishing you the power of thinking of excuses quick enough to get out of even going.

I’m still annoyed at myself that I said I was washing my hair.

L

How To Get Started?

Preparation is Key. 7 P’s is life (if you don’t know what this is you’re not cool enough). While technically yes it is, I seamed to get by so far by being completely and utterly unorganised. With everything going on it is quite difficult to remember to post a picture and create a witty tagline, oh and dont forget the hashtags to generate new leads. But that is all everyone is going on about now isn’t it?

To be successful these days apparently all the websites state you need win every round, be totally unique in how you did it (so maybe backwards while eating a sandwich?), be a social media god, a great public speaker, and be a complete business genius. I dont know about you but I’m pretty tired just trying to figure out where to start.

So starting. Where do you start? For most people, go get a Facebook page, and Instagram, and I suppose Twitter. You’re a driver, go make it a ‘sports personality page’, you want to be more like a team, put it up as a team name. If you want both, go business name and make your driver a feature. Same on Instagram and again, if you want to be down with the kids, Twitter (I hate Twitter).

Now don’t get wrapped up in the hype of being told to posting every 15 minutes and pay a fortune to have the best editing software. I’m sure in the middle of all of this your having a mild meltdown down. Don’t sweat it, so was I. Good News, and NO IT IS NOT THE DACIA SANDERO MIKE… it is that everyone is in the same position. Unless your a 19 y/o computer genius with no job, no responsibilities and the ability of turning pretty much every day routine activities into a huge hitting YouTube Vlog, then we all will struggle at first to make an impression on social media.

Next step, just post every now and then. Don’t put the pressure on yourself. Yes okay posting more will probably increase the chances of being seen more and getting more followers. The most important thing in my eyes is to stay true to who you actually are, if you stay with your own character, people who will like you for you will start to find you. Then your following will grow, and actually mean something. You will have and actual audience who trust what you say then BOOM! A sponsor (the dream), you’re instantly able to quite the day job by flipping a table and tell the boss everything you really think. Maybe not, but post when you can, preferably with a photo or video. Algorithms blah blah blah technically favour photos/ videos, but if nothing else you can scroll past a block of text but a photo tends to grab more attention in-between all the dog, baby, and food pictures.

Quick tip, check the video for what people are saying in the background. You dont want to be caught out. 

Make sure to post outside of a race weekend. Do not just make it all about your races, wins and yo’self. That’s right. I said yo’self. It does help if you know the lingo of the cool kids. Even if you did not win, put up a great photo of the car back in one piece and let the audience know that it was tough. What are you going to do differently? Nothing, that’s cool, maybe just change it to how awesome it was that you managed to make a move and gain a place. Lost all the places? Even easier, time to throw out the funny one. Post a photo of the car with a ‘requires anyone else to drive’ sign and a disapproving driver by it side, along side a funny post about how it might of gone to plan. Remember if all people see is positive then you will become hard to relate to. BUT! don’t be a negative nanny either, that S**t is depressing.

There is so much that the power of social media can bring. Plus social media business pages means you don’t have to jump in with a website straight away. Because it’s free, it’s ‘mo’money’ for the race car! Okay, I’ll stop.

There is so many things that you can do without being sucked in to the hype. Just do it your way.

We have and in-between holding down full time jobs and everything else, our numbers have grown naturally and the best thing is, they’ve stayed there. That is what really matters between you and your audience. This will get you sponsorship in the long run. Business’ want people that people actually like.

Shocking I know. Now go forth my young padowan's.

Guru Lyndsay

Getting lost at the Autosport International

So I am not sure if you all went to the Autosport Show International this year, but those of you that did will have noticed that it was a different set up from normal. Personally I found it a little “all over the place” and struggled to find anything I wanted.

It was almost as if the brilliant minds at Downforce Radio had predicted this, and off the back of a challenge from no other than our very own Lyndsay, they arranged a scavenger hunt.

So with the challenge laid down, we set off. Some of the tasks were pretty simple you know, find a gearbox, get a selfie in a racecar (by the way is that one or two words?). But then there were some that made it a bit more difficult, like where am I supposed to find a football (soccer ball for those of you across the pond). But seriously a football?! come on! this is motor sports, it requires more than one ball.

In all fairness though it worked by the time we had finished I knew where most things were, and despite being a bit sweaty and the blood sugar running a little low, I felt a lot better about navigating the show, plus it was fun rubbing it in Lyndsay’s face that I could find sunglasses and she couldn’t. OH! did I not mention that she abandoned me to go on Jake’s team. Traitor!

Anyways if you want to find out what Lyndsay thought of the Autosport Show head over to ‘ASI19 - Is it actually worth it?’ and it we have put the photos from the scavenger hunt below for any of you who didn’t see the live Facebook video as it went out.

 

Mike

   

ASI19 - Is it actually worth it?

Autosport International show 2019 was alive and kicking as per usual this year but my love of the show was just not there. The buzz and thrill that I usually have never appeared so I was unsure what I was going to be walking into when I arrived. Would I suddenly become overwhelmed or would I just be walking round with my head in the clouds? Let’s go through what I honestly thought.

I always find that most reviews come from car-mad fans and talk so technical about the wonders of engineering and advances in this and that, so you don’t really get a true reflection of what it is like to just walk around being in one of the most amazing car shows on earth.

There were a lot more cars on display than I remember in previous years, so that is the first check in the box. Not even just the sports cars, race cars, etc. It was more peoples own road cars, street scene cars, or as they are referred to in my neck of the woods, ‘boy racers’. The setup of the show this year really played to the advantage of this, as there was almost a whole hall just dedicated to these amazing display cars.

The auction house was also located at the furthest end of show instead of in the middle. When we eventually found it, it had already started but there was a smaller crowd than we expected. Normally most of the show goers gather round to see what these spectacular finds are being sold for. Plus it is always a great way to see vehicles that you would just never normally get to see in real life. Saying that I also expected to see more cars on display. Previous years it was such a giant part of the show, but this year in my opinion, it flopped. No stock, no audience, no atmosphere.

IMAGE.JPG

The street car section defiantly brought the biggest crowd. I found it difficult moving through this section but when you did fight your way to the front, it was worth it. These cars were amazing to see and showed how the industry’s creativeness has just gotten stronger year on year. Everyone and their nan were there with their phones, cameras, full media set up to make sure they got the best photos. I have never seen so many gimbals in one place! It was amazing to see so many people wanting to see these impressive customizations. But I do feel it was more showing off than getting the customers who have paid and travelled along way, involved. It just felt cold of the brands. To me, it was as if they were saying ‘you can’t afford this, so I’m not wasting my time’. If it was me, get the customer involved by getting staff members to walk round talking about who they are, what their company does, how they come up with these designs. Instead it was like this, they had the VIP sitting area at the back of all the stands and most of the staff were just gathered there talking among themselves. So even if I wanted to ask a question or make a purchase I wouldn’t be able to. I know that most of the time it’s worthless questions that they are asked over and over but that is why they are there aren’t they? All that money paid to put your vehicle on display for thousands of people, yet you make no sales? Hmm… Over the years it has been nice seeing brands like Liberty Walk come from one or two cars to one of the main attractions. But again, I felt my interest was cut short by the staff not being interested. Maybe I’m too harsh, but then again I was a paying customer.

There were a lot of charity stands which were great to see, along with stands that you would not normally think would be there. For example, the camper conversions. They show that there is so much more out there than just the car you race. They were in fact very inspiring and how the staff let you get in and use the items so you can get a true feel of the craftsmanship.

Boats – Yes, there was also boats??!! …

Motorsport section. My favourite section. F1 cars, real race cars from Caterham’s to fiestas and every kind of mini you can think of. We even started playing spot the Mazda MX-5! It was wonderful to see as the drivers and owners of the cars where there and a tip for next year, if you ask nicely enough, they let you get in them! Always makes for a good selfie.

There is a big stage where some big names get to speak about their honest thoughts. However, every year this becomes more and more difficult to find out who is on the stage. But I did manage to find it and see a few names form the F1 sense. I preferred the stage this year with it being away from the F1 stand and in one of the quieter sections, this did effect the crowd numbers though.

Crowds were okay this year, everyone seemed to disappear after 14:30 every day. No idea why but it was nice to be able to walk around later on in the day and purchase a few cheeky items.

So the show was good, the crowd was large, the show was bigger than ever, but I still wasn’t smitten. I found there was enough stands to keep me entertained for around an hour or two but after that it was filled with too many gimmick shops. Stands that had no relevance to the Autosport world.  The talk shop stage was good, but not enough people leading these presentations. I would have loved more. Let’s get more cars and items on show and less of the repeats. I did find myself feeling trapped in a Scooby-Do corridor where every 5 stands just repeated.

So my verdict, next year I’ll probably pass, it was like a German car, it was so perfect it almost has no soul. It was nice to go and catch up with friends but I could just as easily pick up the phone. Autosport Show need to step up their game I reckon but I would be interested to know what your opinion is? Did I miss a huge area or presentation of fun?

Fingers crossed you all had fun.

L

Survival Guide to ASI 19

I have been attending the autosport show for the past three years, and every year I leave feeling exhausted, battered, brusied, emotionally drained and worse of all, like I never want to stand up ever again. In fact last year I refused to leave my hotel bed. In fact I’ve lived in mine since last year. 

 

My train of thought was if I could prepare myself for this year then maybe, just maybe it wont be as bad. Which then of course I thought, for those of you that are as unprepared as myself, or who have never attended, you may like to know what’s in my survival guide. Here is the key items I will certainly be taking with me over our two days. I will also be throwing in some key advice as well, so make sure to grab a cuppa and a notepad as you may want to remember these;

1. Comfey shoes - that is a given. But if your like me and cant resist a pair of heels then make sure to take a pair of flats as spare. As even the comfiest of trainers have failed me in the past. There is coat and bag check in points HOWEVER as we found out - do NOT leave these to the last minute to collect as they move everything that is not collected before the closing hour to a room soooooo far away it might as well be in the next town. And don’t think there is nice big arrows on the floor to leading you to where this room is.

That was the last thing you want after walking/standing for the past 10 hours straight.  

2. Water - make sure you take as much water you can stuff in you bag as possible. Oh! Plus anything sugary. You dont want to have to wait in line, pay an extortionate amount for something you can get from tesco’s on the way in for half the price, and you will need the ‘pick me up’.  

We usually try and hit up a small Asda or Tesco express from Birmingham City Centre before getting the train to the NEC. 

TIP:  Try and stay in the city centre and get the train across. It is normally half the price of hotels and parking at the NEC direct. The trains cost us about £5 for a return per day and run regularly so we can pick and chose when we leave. The train station is direct from the city centre and is less than a 10 minute walk into the entrance of the AutoSport Show. 

3. Live Show - honestly we used this for the past few years as a way of making sure we had a scheduled sit down in. It is very hard to find somewhere out of the way and quiet to take half an hour to eat. The show’s stage just is not big enough in my opinion. The show is good but once you have seen it one year it doesn’t change to the next. See once then Skip. 

4. Know your timetable - the show is huge. There are three main parts and if you are wanting to catch a audience with a driver or an award show at a certain time then make sure you keep an eye on it. It is quite hard to get from point A to point B in another segment at the show if your running late. Trust us - WE KNOW. 

TIP: the crowds are dense and people are unpredictable. Someone somewhere will just stop all of a sudden and people will just come out of no where. If you have small kids try get them a balloon so you can spot them in the crowd if they slip away.

5. Take video, not photos - I know there will be hundreds if not thousands of photos online or social media but there is not nothing like getting to relive the sound and experience again later. Last year I seen so much that then never appeared online. Plus it is always nice to then go over things and show friends that didn’t make it to the show. 

6. Don’t be afraid - go up and talk to that person on that stand, even if it is intimidating . It is their job to speak to you. Even if you dont know what to say they will be mostly happy to chat, they wont be stuck to a stand looking like a lemon, bored. Take it from someone who used to be that person. It makes their day when someone shows an interest, even if it is a “hey, what is going on here on your stand?”. 

Plus you’ll probably seem more confident doing it and may even make a contact. 

TIP - As I said previously there are three segments to the show and these change from Trade to Public days. Trade days are Thursday & Friday where as Public is Saturday & Sunday.

The right section around the corner is all cars, show cars, modified cars, large scale items on show. Normally there is the occasional secret quiet seating area and race simulator round here. 

Middle section is where most of the fun happens and is defiantly the most lively. This is where most of the stages, live acution (you pay to go in and view these cars, you cant just walk in. But you can gather round and listen to what these cars go for), motorsport clubs and smaller products for consumers are avaible to buy.  

Left hand side is where some of the food trucks and sitting areas are. This section always houses the most readily avaible items for sale, and random selection of vehicles and people. Last year we seen the rally cross cars and grass root racers next to the now revived Bloodhound. Amazing place to see things you didn’t expect. This section on the public days also houses the younger children play areas, car clubs, and most importantly though, it has the bar.  

 

Hopefully these tips will be useful and give you an insight in to the Autosport Show. 

Any questions contact us over social media on our Instagram @CloseRacing or Facebook @CloseRacing. 

 

We will be in attendance through out the Friday (Trade Only Days) and Saturday (Public Day).

We hope to see you there, 

Lyndsay  

 

Fruit’s not free

I’m currently sat here on a train from Newcastle to Kings cross on my way to do a task for my day job and can’t help but sit and think about whats’s next for Close Racing LTD? What can I do in this spare time to help my racing career, and my business grow (I know it is both ours, but these are my thoughts)? That’s the thing with chasing something you’re passionate about, it gets into your blood, your every thought is “how can I twist this to benefit my goals?” 

Well, my trip today is down to a technology expo, quite an easy one to twist my way to be honest, there is going to be a lot of companies who have a passion in engineering looking for exposure and one hungry racing driver looking at how he can help. The hard part is convincing them how I can help and why they should give the time of day let alone support my racing in one way or another. That’s just it really, most of racing is done off track either in a suit trying to gain support or in some coveralls trying to keep the car going. But if you are reading this then it is more than likely that you are into Motorsport and this is not news to you. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to reiterate what this whole blog is about for us, it is about following our day to day life trying to get our racing team up and running, this can come across as slightly negative because currently we have had a year out from actual racing and therefore our time is spent working out kinks and slogging away laying foundations, so it may sound bad but planting trees isn’t easy but the fruits don’t come for free. 

Till next time,

Mike