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Friday, 19 May 2017

Why go to a BTCC race?

BTCC is such an underrated category in my opinion. You cannot fault it at all. I for one make it a mission to go at least once a year now!

Money-wise, you can get a weekend ticket for under £50 and a sunday for less than £35 (don't know prices for each track so forgive me if I am wrong). It is so cheap considering what you get. The paddock for BTCC is nearly always open so you can walk behind the garages, with the exception of Brands Hatch Indy which was closed off. But if you stumble upon a driver they will say hello if they can and chat to you. Depending on when about's you go to the paddock they may have the back doors open so you can have a peak inside. The other categories like British F4 and Ginetta Juniors share one big paddock which is always very accessible, just don't get run over! You can see cars between races and drivers walking around and talking to their team. And you don't have to be scared because everyone is friendly. Also there is a Renault Clio Cup team that are sponsored by Chuppa chupp's and give out free lollies! If you have a favourite driver like Jamie Caroline for example, you can find him and meet him. I got his autograph last year at Snetterton but wasn't confident enough to ask for a photo. That's my mission for this year. But yeah, you have so much freedom in where you can go. Some tracks you pay a little extra for grandstand seating and others you can wonder but I cannot stay in one place.

I love the fact that all categories have more than one race, so one of your favourite drivers may have one bad race and one amazing race and that's incredible to me. I adore supporting all my favourite drivers. For example, I got to watch Ben Green make up some decent places at Brands Hatch before sadly being involved in a collision which was out of his control. Did not help it was in front of me. I could see Ben was disappointed and I was sad too but he was showing incredible skill and talent before hand and he was just unlucky. There's a feeling of seeing something happen with your own eyes rather on TV, makes it raw almost. And you see things other's don't. Like when people come into the pits because commentators don't always pick that up. Which is annoying but its fun to speculate when you can see it for yourself. 

Prices for food and drink aren't that bad and you can always find an ice cream van. However, it is nice to take your own snacks, but that's just to avoid queues and I don't want to take my eyes off the track for longer than I have to. They have everything you need or want. A few fun fair rides, merchandise stands and even a place to leave your phone to charge. I mean cool right?! The charger was just at Brands but I think all tracks should have them. 

I feel so fortunate that even though I am not made of money and I get minimum wage that I am still able to go to BTCC whether its camping for three days or just going for one. It's still not a lot and well worth it. I've met new friends and met some of my favourite drivers like Aiden Moffat. Even if you don't have enough to go to a race a media day is free. I went with a few friends and it was so good, it gave me the opportunity to meet Eurotech's press officer Jo Polley (who is a racer in her own right) and interview Jack Goff and Team HARD's Jake Hill. All of who were incredibly friendly and I am grateful to for giving me their time. 

It is all just so worth it, there's a bit or everything and lots of racing and close racing! But don't just go there for BTCC, go there for all the categories, all either amazing or up and coming drivers. Some may even be in F1 one day or a BTCC champion. For me, something so satisfying is watching a driver as they develop and achieve their goals as they set them. 

I know I say this a lot but my heart is at a race track and I will find any excuse to go and if you love racing then why miss out on going to a track and watching amazingly close racing and meeting the people behind the steering wheel themselves? 

Just go, trust me, there will be something there you'll love.

Monday, 8 May 2017

D2BD Event: 2 hours for advice that will last a lifetime

Dare to be different did a panel in London on Saturday which I was lucky enough to attend. It was two hours long but I can tell you this, that day will stick with me. The panel consisted of Jennie Gow, Rebecca Jackson, Lucy Taylor and Claire Banner, all well respected hard working women in motorsport. I was honoured to be able to listen to all 4 of them tell their story and give us all advice. They all had different things to say as they all did different things. However, there were a few things they repeated which resonated with me as the things I should 100% take away with me.

They all came from different backgrounds and have achieved different things but are arguably at their peak or reaching it. They are all busy women but I am thankful that they are taking time out of their busy schedules to encourage the rest of us. I almost said the ‘younger generation’ but you can change career at any age and I know a couple of people in their late 20’s that want to work in motorsport and are part of Dare to be different and they can make it too. That’s what the community is about, age does not matter, what matters is working hard for what you really want.

A couple of things they all said was parts won’t be easy, you have to work hard and pester (anyone at the event will know). It’s about not giving up and keep going, doing whatever you have to do and putting yourself out there, being consistent, not taking no for an answer. That is some of the things they did to get where they are and anyone can do those things. I want it bad enough and I am ready to get my name/work out there, keep contacting teams and going to events, do whatever it takes.

There was a small Q&A session but that’s because I think we all wanted to speak to them privately and I was straight up to that panel. Made a B line after. Probably looked quite funny from someone else’s perspective. And yes I did feel overwhelmed and cried in front of them. So I must thank them all for being so nice about it and Jennie and Lucy who got up to come stand with me. After speaking to the lovely ladies and telling them what I currently do with my blog and future plans I have in the works they were full of support. I asked them if they thought I was doing the right things to get where I want to be. They said yes and fully believed if I keep working hard and pestering, I can make it. I then found a new reason to be motivated, to not let these women and their support for me down. They all said we are more than welcome to contact them at any time with any questions which I just think is so amazing.

I got to see Sophia and Liz again and meet new friends like Megan, Toni, Josie. It’s brought me closer to people I look up to and interact with on social media. I have people in a similar boat as me to talk about and get advice from. My one regret is not talking to as many people as I would have liked.
I have felt quite demotivated the last couple of weeks but I did tear up listening to all of them (praise the lord for sitting at the back). It brought back all the passion and determination I have and reminded me why I work hard. It was exactly what I needed and it will stay with me.

Thank you to Jennie, Lucy, Rebecca, Claire but most importantly Dare to be different for bringing us together, doing what they do and relighting the spark in me when I need it!