Through My Eyes

Some people say I talk too much, that I always have a story to tell. I don't know what's round the corner so my blog is about life through my eyes and making every day count.

Archive for the tag “racing”

I’m The start of a new normal!

Defining the word normal is not easy, what is normal to one person is strange to another.

When I got told I had to have a mastectomy I was not upset at all, I was more annoyed at the inconvenience that and in my mind the sooner I had it done the sooner I could get back to normal. You get assigned a Macmillan nurse when you get cancer, someone who is there at any time to answer any questions you have or just for general support. My
nurse said to me that after my operation I need to find a new normal. At the time I thought what a strange comment but it’s only now I fully understand what she meant.

Nights out for me didn’t happen very often but when they did I would be known for wearing the shortest dress and biggest heels! I love clothes so getting dressed up was a real treat!
So New year this year I decided I was well enough for a night out…..2 hours later after trying on 10 dresses I chucked on a pair of jeans and some heels and was ready.
There’s nothing better than putting on a little dress, looking in the mirror at a great figure and feeling a million dollars, going out knowing you will turn heads. Sounds a bit arrogant but give a girl the right outfit and right pair of shoes and they can conquer the world!
Unfortunately that’s not the case for me, I put on a dress now, look in the mirror and just see a deformed overweight frumpy looking horror! When I tell people that’s how I see myself they just humour me and say don’t be silly but it’s not exactly like they are going to agree! The thing is that I know all it takes is a bit of exercise and my confidence will come back but I’m in no state to exercise as I’m still sore from the operation and get a lot of pain so not sure what the solution is yet.
So new year I wore jeans out but I couldn’t wear jeans last night when we attended a racing awards dinner with a dress code.
The dress I ended up wearing was one I never thought I would wear. I bought it online from an expensive boutique but when it arrived I hated it, it looked far too long and I didn’t like the material. I forgot to send it back but who would have thought a year later I would be so glad I had it.
When I put it on I couldn’t believe how long it was, it was knee length, the longest dress I have ever worn! That aside it was the most flattering out of all my dresses and I felt classy and smart all night.
This is where the new normal comes in, a year ago I would never be seen in a knee length dress, all mine were mini dresses some even backless or low cut showing lots of flesh! I can’t imagine ever being confident enough to dress like that again so now I need to adjust to a different look even if it’s not what I normally go for. I need to Make these changes my new normal
So when I get dressed up to go out I still feel a million dollars but don’t have to worry about my scars and war wounds as such being on show!
It’s going to be difficult but hopefully in time this new change will become my normal and my confidence will build back up. Even now when I go shopping I need to get into the habit of looking at different clothes and different styles! I’m not going to be one of those overweight people that wear clothes that look too small for them or show off far more flesh that anyone wants to see!
Its funny because I now realise that it’s not just a case of having an operation then back to normal like I hoped. So much had changed for me. I refuse to let cancer win and take over my life so rather than continue trying to get it s
How it was I need to concentrate on finding my new normal!

Thundersport motorcycle racing awards dinner and the frumpy black dress I didn’t like!!


Being a karting mum 

I think people get sick of me talking about karting, it’s all I ever talk about. I have to try and remember that just because something is interesting to me doesn’t mean it’s interesting to anyone else!

It’s hard being in the paddock sometimes as a karting mum. Everyone thinks their kids are the fastest and the best and can do no wrong. Everyone (or most people) are proud of their kids. A child doesn’t have to be sporty, have a fantastic talent or achieve much to make their parents proud. For me it isn’t the karting that makes me proud, (let’s face it M isn’t exactly winning British championships!!) but the attitude and ambition of someone so young. Most kids at 12 don’t have a care in the world and if they are not out causing trouble at the weekend they are say bored at home. M’s wishing the next year away so she can turn 13 to get a paper round to help pay for karting! And in her spare time if we are not racing she is sat watching you tube videos of the circuits she will be racing at this year. 

I am a realistic karting mum, I don’t think M is going to be the next F1 driver or get anywhere near that point! What we go karting for isn’t to start M’s motor racing career but more to give her as many opportunities in life as we can and to show her that you can achieve anything if you work hard enough at it but nothing comes easily and if you want results you have to work for them. I think it’s also important to show young people there are more choices out there and you can do something good if you want, obviously at 12 a lot of influence and opportunity comes from the parents but I think kids in sports are good role models for other kids. 

I have very little use on race weekends, I tried to put the tyres on her kart once and put the back ones on the front!! Oooops! I think my main purpose is just to support M and cheer her on, even if she isn’t doing that well. Being away every weekend as a family doing something we love is the best thing in the world and we need to make the most of it while she’s young!

So now we have started something with karting that we can’t just switch off, we have got the racing bug again and every time we go out it gets more expensive! Always planning the next race meeting or next test weekend not to mention the ongoing need for kart parts and tyres! 

So this year it’s no shoes and clothes allowance, no summer holiday and a lot of overtime!! Realistically we can’t do this forever but you only get once chance at life if we can give M a few years of her living the dream then it’s money well spent!! 

A bad week

Any parent knows that one of the worst things in the world is when your child is poorly. There’s nothing worse than seeing your child in pain or not feeling well and knowing there’s not s huge amount you can do about it. 

M is now 11 years old and suffers from Asthma on a severe level. It started when she was just a baby and developed a cough that turned into breathing difficulties and a hospital visit. This was repeated twice a year until she was 5 and Asthma was diagnosed. Since then we have at least 2 hospital visits a year some which result in a week in intensive care on machines recovering. 

The thing about M’s Asthma Is that when she is well she is as healthy as the average child. M is very sporty and plays on the school Football team, Netball team, plays cricket and rugby and is on the Athletics and cross country team. Not to mention karting! I am so proud of M, at any point she could have a serious Asthma attack but doesn’t let that stop her doing anything. 

The thing with Asthma is that an attack can happen at any time, and last week out the blue it did. Tuesday morning M woke up and couldn’t breath. An hour later we were in hospital on nebulisers which then turned into spending the week there as her lung function was that low she couldn’t go without oxygen and constant nebulisers. The doctors told me if she didn’t improve we would be going round to the HDU to try and get her lungs working better. 

As a mum it’s the scariest thing in the world to know that your child’s lungs aren’t working of functioning very well. It’s hearbreaking to see her there struggling to breath and relying on the oxygen and trying not to panic as she struggles for breath! 

So a week in hospital then home to recover, not the best week ever but something we are quite used to. I sometimes sit and think what if… What If we are not there next time, what if school don’t recognise the signs, what if there’s nobody to help her next time, what if it’s worse next time? I have to put it to the back of my mind because I will just sit and worry and get in a right state over the reality of it. 

M has told me no matter how bad her asthma gets she won’t let it stop her doing her sports. Most kids these days are sat in front of the TV eating junk food so I’m so proud of M’s attitude xx


Cadwell 2011, A day I will never ever forget

Warning…. This is going to be a long post!!
There is no real reason for me to blog about this day other than it’s what I am sat here thinking about right now! Blogging is different for everyone but for me I will be sat thinking about things and putting it down in a blog is the stop point from when I go from thinking about it to actually getting upset! It’s quite therapeutic!
Anyway so brace yourself this could be a long blog!
British Superbikes 2011, a year I will never forget for many reasons. I was with a team called Gearlink Kawasaki and their main rider Ben Wilson was leading the Supersport championship. This was a massive thing to be involved in for me and the reason I started brollying in the first place, to be part of a team, seeing what goes on behind the scenes and involved in all the action! It was like all my dreams had been answered being part of Gearlink, they had a top running rider so that meant being at the front of the grid seeing how much the championship meant to these guys. Not only that but the amazing team owners made me feel part of the family, included me in everything, treated me as a person not just a pretty face there to stand on the grid. It had to be my best year in racing.

One of the main highlights of this year was meeting an amazing person called Benjamin Gautrey, Ben raced for a team called MWR Kawasaki who at the time were also part of the Gearlink team so I got to do the grid for them as well. The first time I met Ben his smile made me melt, it was a wonderful smile and I thought aww this boy is so cute! I say Boy as he was only 18 at the time and such a little charmer, he loved all the grid girls and used to call me the angel of the north as I was northern!

Cadwell superbikes is my favourite circuit and one I look forward to every year. This year I brought my husband and daughter with me racing and even though I was still doing the grid I also wanted to spend time with them. Megan was only 7 at the time so loved having her picture taken with the riders, and Ben Gautrey was the only one she loved, she met a lot of famous riders that weekend yet for some reason kept asking when Ben was racing so she could cheer him on, he had that effect on people!
On race day I got asked to do the grid for Ben. I said no, a decision I have lived to regret ever since.
This was because the way the pits were you had to cross the track to get to the pit lane which meant stuck down in the pit lane for long periods of time. I was already doing the grid for the Supersport race so decided to spend more time with Justin and Megan and watch the race from the top of the hill with them.
What happened next I will never ever forget, second by second, from the point we saw the crash to the point we saw it was Ben and knew it was bad. I knew I had to be with the team and find out what was going on so as soon as I could I got across the track to the pit Lane to find our what was going on.
As time past I sat and waited patiently away from the medical centre and then after what felt like ages I saw my friend Gill walking away from the medical centre and I knew what had happened. I took myself into the toilet in the little building and cried my eyes out, I had to hide as there were lots of tv cameras and people outside that didn’t know the severity of the crash and I knew I had to keep it to myself and act calm.
The worst bit was that I had to go on the grid for the Supersport race knowing what I knew, only a handful of people knew at that point and I wasn’t meant to be one of them. I borrowed some sunglasses to hide my eyes and on I went. It was just typical on this occasion Eurosport decided to interview the rider and the camera was right in my face. I just kept thinking don’t cry for gods sake!
I got text messages after from loads of people saying they saw me on tv and I looked really miserable! Course they didn’t know why.
After the race it was announced that Benjamin Gautrey had lost his life in the crash, aged just 18 years old.

A lot of people stayed around upset, comforting each other but I just ran, I didn’t say good bye to anyone, I just got in the car and went home in silence, crying most of the journey to myself. It took me a long time before I could watch the race back on the tv and found it very upsetting. Not just because it was a reminder of that day but because while a lot of the live feed was going on the cameras constantly caught myself and my friend Karla in the background and we knew how we felt at that time and how worried we were. I watched it once and relived it once then deleted it. Whether deleting it was the right thing to do I don’t know but I just couldn’t have it sat on my sky plus box as a constant reminder of that awful day.
I only knew Ben a short amount of time but I can honestly say he has changed my life forever. Ben was an elite sportsman and was top at everything he did, he played football, cricket, swam, did gymnastics, cycling, bike racing and more. He taught me to never give up, that if you work hard you can achieve your dreams and the sky is the limit. He was a truly amazing person. Ben even had a huge effect on my daughter and she only met him once. From meeting Ben Megan isn’t interested in hanging out with her friends in town and what’s to spend every second of her spare time doing something productive from karting to running, horse riding, cheerleading and Allsorts! She says she wants to be like Ben and the best in everything she puts her mind to, I am very proud of how sporty she has become so thanks Ben.
Heaven truly has gained an angel.

Through knowing Ben I then met his family who are equally just as inspirational. They have set up a charity called the Benjamin Gautrey Foundation and have raised thousands of pounds to help young people like Ben achieve their dreams. They have paid for sports kits for local sports associations, helped young bike racers with their safety equipment needed to race and even set up a race academy to help young riders improve their skills on the track.

Since this day I have also done a lot of fundraising for them, I have organised a couple of big charity band nights and even jumped out of a plane! I think I have raised about £5000 in total and plan to continue doing so. If something so positive can come out of something so awful then that’s got to be a good thing.

I know a lot of people don’t believe in angels and I don’t know what I believe but I truly think that Ben is looking down proud on everything his family have achieved in his name. I always say hello to him when I return to Cadwell where he lost his life doing something he loved and living the dream.

Benjamin Gautrey 1992 -2011 #25




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