The time came to start the 2017 BRSCC Mazda Championship for the third year in a row. In all honesty, I was not looking forward to it. To start a season at Brands Hatch is normally a glorious occasion, however when you live in Northumberland it's a not so fabulous 8 + hour drive.
The journey was actually pretty fun, we sang (screamed) some 80's classics and stopped off to take in the beautiful south countryside, until we got to the Dartford crossing. However coming home was slightly different. 8+ hours of driving a van that did not want to go above 40 MPH was another issue. After a day of racing Mike was rather delirious especially after 14 coffees. We did eventuality make it home and after a quick turn around, we tucked Rose in and took the trailer back. I never thought I would say this but trailer surfing at 0030hrs was rather refreshing to say the least (private road obviously 🙄)
Brands welcomed us with a huge smile and tight paddock spaces. We joined the village and unpacked our HQ for the first time this year. It was magical, we had an awning, a space to call home and most importantly, power supply so the mother could straighten her hair!
The Saturday started for myself personally a little rough with a 0600hrs wake up call. I stumbled to the showers with my purple bear onesie on desperately hoping no one would see me. Great I made it! Then the games started; with a forgotten towel. I came out covered in purple fluff. After loading the Make-up gun and a BAD-A-BOOM! I was done - Time to go wake up the Paddock *insert evil grin here*.
"CAN ALL MAZDA MK1, GROUP 1 GO DOWN TO THE ASEMBLY AREA... NOW" - I may be known slightly, just a tad, kind-of as the 'mouth' of the paddock, I think. I may be the youngest member of the BRSCC Co-ordination team but I certainly am not one of the quietest.
In a nut shell, our little race car was race ready and wanting to sparkle in the sun. Oh yeah, i forgot to mention, it was amazingly hot just to put the cherry on top of the already divine cake.
Mike finished qualy and started in 2nd position for race 1B alongside Simon Woods. He got a flying start in Rose and shot out in front. Sadly after a spilt second mistake a door was opened and left him back in second. All to my surprise as I was busy flying around on my bike chasing the Mk3 Supercup's to get to assembly. So when I arrived at race control and seen Mike in the winners car I thought 'WHAT?!' - wait, has he came first? was I finally getting to present him with a winners trophy? How was my hair? But no, by a spilt second we missed out. Overjoyed with the race though we patted mike on the head and sent him packing to do the best pit-stop impression ever as he was going straight back out with the big boys in the A races for the afternoon. By this point biking from assembly, race control AND the paddock every 20 minutes, I had learnt that heart attacks are painful.
Race 2A for the mazda babies of mine left me typically in a mess in race control as I awaited all the naughty boys number, to whom I was going to have to chase after the race. Mike's name, thank the lord, was not one of them, which it most certainly had been before I might add.
On a side note - All the drivers I have ever met, including my own, all say "we are not perfect all the time you know" Trust me..... I know.
It is normally all about the drivers and how they feel at race events, what happens IN the car and on the track, however I would like to bring a different side to you, one of which is more 'Off The Track' for those outside the limelight. The more 'Whats happened, where are you, are you in gravel, am I going to have to get the sponge out, how much work am I going to have to do once we get back home, please do not be hit, win win win, I can't watch this' kind of a story.
For example, I find it very hard being invested in a passion in which I can not even watch; with nerves. Mike occured a DNF (did not finish) for the last race of the weekend due to someone else "lock" up. It happens, shame I only heard about it after the commentator, a good friend of ours came running over to me, swiftly followed by a billion phone calls off the team knowing I was already setting up podium.
Its eventful at these race events and it takes a strong team behind any driver to keep them going on the stright and narrow. No joke, it's called a village for a reason. Myself, I not only deal with my race team; I also deal with every other race team. I see happiness, anger, and pure determinatin all within the blink of an eye. But at the end of it, it still is all about the code 60 (but that's for another time)!
With a lot of help.