Speedy quotes

I have another bad case of writers block, fuelled partially, by a bit too much rose – not excessive but maybe a tad more than would be deemed suitable for a Sunday evening.

For inspiration I scanned through various social media accounts and came across Paul Walker’s charity ‘Reach Out Worldwide’ and their countdown to Fast & Furious 7 hitting cinemas next year. Since PW died, I have noticed fellow petrolheads have paid tribute to the car star through one of the lines from the first movie ‘Dude, I almost had you’, stickered across the rear of their car.

That got me thinking about other cool quotes on speed and here are some of my favourites:

“When in doubt, flat out” – Colin McRae

“It is useless to put on your brakes when you are upside down” – Paul Newman

“Racing is life, anything before or after is just waiting” – Steve McQueen

“You should never feel comfortable, there is something wrong if you are” – Damon Hill

“The more precisely I drive, the more I enjoy myself” – Michael Schumacher

“In motorsport we work in the grey areas a lot, you are trying to find the holes in the rule book” – Danica Patrick

“What’s behind you doesn’t matter” -Enzo Ferrari

“Speed has never killed – suddenly becoming stationary, that’s what gets you” – Jeremy Clarkson

“Winning is everything, the only ones who remember when you came second are your wife or your dog” – Damon Hill

And this one from Bill Nighy “I speed up past mirrors” -I can relate a lot to that one.

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A revival of the sexes

Why do men do most of the driving?

We passed gorgeous vintage cars on their way to the Goodwood Revival, most of them were being driven by the men, with the women looking glamorous swathed in fox furs and rouge lipstick. All of the men appeared to have a semi-serious, semi-smug expression on their face depicting their awareness of their presence as part of the privileged few who can afford to own, maintain and drive the best of automotive history.

Initially, my ‘girl power’ kicked instinct kicked-in as the men drove past in…..droves, but then I was doing the exact same thing, albeit in the far less glamorous environment of the pick-up truck on our way to collect a boat for repair. I enjoy being chauffeur driven as much as I enjoy driving. The only time I dont enjoy driving is when my husband is a passenger. He is on the same level as a driving examiner, without the politeness. He is so critical that I instantly tense and drive in anticipation of his criticism, which affects my concentration levels. Sometimes I am lucky and he falls asleep, but this doesnt happen enough as he is rarely relaxed enough when I am behind the wheel. Yet he seems to ignore the fact that I have had no insurance claims, while he has has had many and I have beaten him karting every time.

So, I prefer to think that the Goodwood Revival women were letting the men drive, in much the same way that they would let their child push a trolley in a supermarket……

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Eco motorsport gets a Legge up

I am very pleased today about two things. The first that a friend from school has secured a drive to enhance her racing career, the second is that she will be driving in Formula E – an eco version of Formula One – about time too that these two boxes have been ticked – a woman at the top of motorsport and environmentally friendly racing.

Also any thing that makes the likes of Jeremy Clarkson squirm and grumble is a good thing. Not that I dont like the guy, i think he is quite entertaining, but he does come out with complete crap sometimes – a bit like Boris Johnson (just less frequent).

So well done to fellow school-mate Katherine Legge for continuing to push for a career in an industry that is more male dominated than a working men’s club and well done to her sponsors Amlin Aguri, for backing her.

And as for Formula E – what it lacks in sound and fumes it will more than make up for in edge-of-your-seat racing. Watch this space…..

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Ethical racing

Picture this. Imagine you are a racer and you are in the race that you have been building up to for years. It is one of the most challenging race-tracks in the world and of the fastest and dangerous races in the world. Regardless of this, you are in the lead half-way through and recording brilliant lap-times. Then your worst nightmare happens. As you go along the track, you see marshalls waving flags at you, so you ease off the throttle and see the reason for the flags, your brother’s smashed-up machine is lying at the side of the road and you have no idea whether your fellow racer and brother is dead or alive. You cant stop so you speed up to get to the pit-stop to get news of your brother. Suddenly race position, fuel, tyres, none of it matters if the worst has happened to your brother.

Once in the pit lane, you flip the visor up and shout the all-important question over the noise of engines and the re-fuelling. You hear them shout “He’s OK!”. The relief floods in but as you speed off down the lane you wonder what ‘OK’ means. What if they didn’t really  know and were just saying that so you stayed focus on the race? Your lap times drop as you mull it over but you soon realise there is nothing to be gained by hanging about. As Colin Mcrae said, ‘If in doubt, flat out’. You’ve done it, the race is won but the glory is not there, just the feeling that you almost lost your brother.

This was what happened yesterday to Michael Dunlop and his brother William at the Senior race of the Isle of Man TT. What I dont like to think about is what the crew would have said to Michael in the pit stop if William had died?

The skill of these riders is astonishing – makes F1 look like a Sunday leisurely drive in comparison.

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Desperately seeking bikers (with boobs)

My husband has got a new helmet and pair of bike trousers. He didn’t have to change the size of his trousers, but his helmet did need to go up a size. I didn’t know that your head continues to expand into your thirties, but clearly this is the case  with my husband.

As part of his order, he was given car window stickers that read ‘Born to ride, forced to drive’. I first rode a motorbike when i was 14 and took to it like a duck to water, i wonder what could have happened if i had got into biking earlier. It certainly would have saved me a lot in fuel costs on the daily commute. I would have built up so much experience that would have helped me to ride the bigger bikes, i find them now rather intimidating because i worry if they get dropped thats it, im stuck.

Months have passed and i am stuck driving my estate, commuting on a bike now is impossible with the tiddlywinks in tow. I could go out for a ‘ride’ at the weekend but it feels wrong to be on my own when i could be with the family. Although i would enjoy it i would also feel a bit lonely riding out on my own.

I would love to have a girl friend who also rode a bike but it seems most of the female riders are lesbians, so have absolutely nothing in common with me.

Is there a biking Mum out there who is also in the same quandary. Female petrolheads keep their passion secret, particularly amongst other women. I used to stay up the small hours to watch an F1 GP live and last night was up past my bedtime watching highlights from the Isle of Man TT.

So it would be great to hear from any female bikers out there to exchange experiences and enjoy pep talks.

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Racing out of the doghouse

After waiting patiently for hubby to get home like a devoted dog (my ears pricked up when I heard his engine). I raced out of the door, hollered something along the lines of ‘kids are in bed and pie is on top of the oven’ (hopefully in that order) and left in a cloud of tire smoke. I was already 15 minutes late for the film I was due to see with my best friend for her birthday and it was going to take 15 minutes to get there. So I put pedal to the metal and aimed to get there in 10.

We weren’t up for a chick flick, instead the film called ‘1’ about the drivers, legends and story of Formula One. Since kids we have followed the sport with avid devotion. As young adults we both went our separate ways, she pursued a career in motorsport and struck up a relationship with a race driving instructor. While I got a degree and landed my dream job in a formula one team only to realise very quickly that dreams are a million miles away from reality. By the time our paths crossed again in our late 20s we were both disenchanted with our girlhood dreams but nothing could destroy our shared passion for speed and our mutual appreciation for drivers such as Michael Schumacher.

So for us this was the perfect film, add in some chocolate and we were a very happy pair of ladies.

To see women achieve the same in the sport as the legends of the past featured in the film would give my friend very mixed feelings. As a schoolgirl she dreamed of being the first competitive female driver in Formula One, she tried and tried but couldn’t get the sponsorship deal she needed. As we watched the film, she mused at how easy it was back in the 60s and 70s to become an F1 driver compared to now. But I pointed out that it would have been nearly impossible in those decades to get a drive as a female – they were too busy in the pits with a stopwatch timing their husband’s and boyfriend’s laps – known affectionately as members of ‘the doghouse club’.

Imagine what would have happened if one of those women had suggested that they do a swap and that she had a go on the cockpit? When you raced back then you were cheating death, some argue that women don’t have that ‘killer instinct’. I am looking forward to the day when a brave lass proves them all wrong. She would be brave not just because of her talent to race on the limit, but mainly because she had the strength of character to resist reinforcing the stereotypes of appearance and style as a public icon and focus on her abilities behind the wheel.

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Women in Motorsport

I can’t recall if I mentioned this in earlier posts, but I like motorsport. There are a good number of women competing in motorsport from bikes to F3 to rallying BUT there is still a long way to go in order to inspire the next generation who will, hopefully, take women in motorsport to the next level – success in Formula One is top of the list. Success at this level would trickle right the way through motorsport and permeate the national and international public consciousness that it is OK to be a) a woman and b) good at sports that blokes have dominated.

For a guy it is incredibly difficult to break into Formula One, let alone a woman. I studied the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission (which was only set-up in 2009 – can you believe it!) and it all feels a little bit ‘weak’. It is very easy to navigate off the women’s page and then two clicks and you are on a page showing a photo of a karting starting grid complete with beautiful women in hot-pants standing in heels down the centre of the grid. It would be great to see those women kick off those heels, get some Sparcos on and jump behind the wheel. Does the women in motorsport commission represent the careers of the degrading so called ‘pit-stop popsies’ too? If not, shouldn’t they be campaigning to end this very out-dated practice, or at least balance it out with a few hunky men to stand alongside the girls on the grid – the girls can look pretty and the guys can hold the position marker – I’m sure the likes of Jenson Button would love that.

It all feels a little bit ‘token female’ and if it has taken them until 2009 to realise they need representation then that just goes to show how much more work needs to be done. I keep banging on about it, but, it is time that our girls were inspired by a broader range of role models. Kim Kardashian, glamour models, supermodels, WAGS etc all have a place in society but this is not enough – women need to be kicking ass more and it feels like over the past decade we have taken our foot off the gas – where does that leave our girls – aspiring to be the next Barbie? But Barbie kicking butt on the racetrack or in the boardroom would be much, much better.

If you want to know more about FIA women in motorsport check out their site.

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