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Thursday, 30 May 2019

Why remember the name Ralphie Reeves?

Ralphie Reeves is a 6 year old boy from Basingstoke with big dreams.

He got his first go in a go kart when he was 3 years old, 3 years later he is already making sure people know who he is.

This year he can be regularly found at BTCC weekends with Team HARD, why you ask? Because Ralphie is the youngest driver signed to the Stilp HARD Academy. I am so glad he is as well because I had the pleasure of meeting him and learning who he is at BTCC Media day and he is the sweetest boy.

His local karting club is Shenington, Banbury. He finished 2nd overall in the UK kart championship at Shenington competing against 6-8 year olds. The youngest in his group so far demonstrating that he has a lot of skill already and we need to keep our eyes out. When he finished 2nd he only ran 80% of the championship and was 4 throughout most of it, only turning 5 with 3 rounds to go. If that isn’t impressive enough he is matching the lap times of others and he is using a 2012 kart whereas everyone else is using 2019 chassis'. Imagine what he could do with a 2019 chassis!

Ralphie trains a lot at a place called izone. Which is in fact run by former BTCC and current WEC driver Andy Priaulx MBE. The trainers that mentor Ralphie there said he was very special. In-fact calling him ‘a young superstar of the future’ after his first experience at the izone!

However, money in motorsport is never far from anyone’s minds, especially a child’s parent. Ralphie’s father Russell told me he always tries to get Ralphie to a track when possible and wants him to achieve the best and believes Ralphie has the talent to deliver this. His fastest time at Shenington on a kart matches the top 5 times which are set by 13 year old's. There is clearly big things to come from the 6 year old! But without sponsors and the money coming in to the help the future maybe sadly limited.

One thing that does work in their favour is Ralphie has already got an ever growing following. You can find him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. With lots of support comes exposure and when that is partnered with results from any races that will help draw in potential sponsors.

If you ask me Ralphie Reeves is a name and face you need to remember!

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Is going to a BTCC day/weekend worth it?

I know this probably seems like a stupid question but hear me out, there are pros and cons to going and staying at home. In my personal opinion, I do enjoy both and I think most people do as well so let’s break it down.

Being trackside allows you to be right in the midst of the action and excitement with the atmosphere. From going ‘oooh’ with everyone else when drivers collide to cheering and clapping when races have finished. There is nothing like that feeling of being there and experiencing it all live and roaming around the paddock and behind the garages seeing what goes on.

Weather: If you are last minute in planning then weather is probably going to be a big factor as you are unlikely to wake up on a Sunday morning, look at heavy rain and think, let’s go sit next to a track for 6 hours! Rain does spice up the races and make them much more interesting to see how drivers manage the tricky and changing conditions. The cold is something I think you acclimatise yourself to if you are a regular to race circuits. You know the chances are it is going to be cold, windy, rain or all three at some point and you will have prepared yourself for every situation. If there’s one piece of advice to give to newbies going trackside for first time, BE PREPARED.

Comfort: Okay so there is a clear winner here, you would rather sit on your sofa all day than a deck chair but it’s all part of the experience and a great bit of exercise! If you wear a fit bit just watch the steps go up and double your daily target! But comfy trainers are a massive help if you plan on going as they stop your feet from hurting, keep them warm and stop feet getting dirty.
Food: Clear winner here, food at home is free and you can cook during breaks or even get someone to cook you food! (or be naughty and have take away). However, it is nice watching a race next to the track eating chips or a naughty treat. Treats are a must track side, almost feels like you’ve earnt it because you’ve got up early and you have walked a lot. I do enjoy a waffle or churros from time to time.

Other things to note are obviously you get a chance to meet drivers whether that’s walking through the paddock or going to the autograph sessions. However, drivers are quite responsive on social media so it is a great place to send a good luck or well done message. A. lso, when you are trackside sometimes you may not be near a screen so you aren’t always aware of what’s going on but most tracks have an app you can download with the timetable and live timings, as well as the BTCC website. Being at home you do see more coverage on races and everything that goes on whereas sometimes at the track you can be quite confused, I know I have been.
Sometimes I wish I lived not far from all the tracks so I could go to every BTCC weekend but after being trackside for Brands Hatch and Donington it was quite nice watching Thruxton from my own home.

Let me know if you have a preference on watching from home or at the circuit!