Here article on MASIS:
I was born with cerebral palsy, I faced many challenges and had to overcome one hurdle after another. I was always told I’d never walk/drive and would be wheelchair dependant.
I quickly decided this was not for me, and as a child I refused to sit back and accept my fate. I didn’t walk until I was 7, and even then I could only just mobilise, meaning I was unable to interact with friends, play, run etc.
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved cars and racing, maybe this is because I was aware that cars were the only real way I could get around (as public transport was impossible for me to get on/off).
I fondly remember watching F1 and BTCC as a child, wishing one day I could do what they were doing. On my 17th birthday I applied for my driving licence, and against my family’s advice I wanted to learn to drive in a manual car (they wanted me to learn in an automatic). I didn’t want to be restricted and felt that if I learnt in a manual car and one day needed an automatic then I could do so, but I wasn’t happy to accept more limitations.
Just before my 18th birthday I passed both my tests and have never looked back! I drive a lot as I have two children and do school runs (50 miles a day), and have other commitments also, but never have I driven and not enjoyed every second!
It has always been a dream of mine to race, but I always felt that it wouldn’t be accepted, however, in recent years, particularly with Nic Hamilton entering motorsport, it has given me the confidence to strive to fulfil my dream!
I have done loads of private track day events, and some indoor/outdoor karting, and have had great feedback from all. I want to show my son (who loves motorsport) that one day he can be like his hero (Lewis Hamilton), and that whilst I may do things differently, I can still achieve my dreams.
I have a home simulator setup, running my Xbox 360, with full steering wheel & pedal setup, I race pretty much every day, and enjoy every second!
What I really would like to do, is show other disabled people, that regardless of finances, disability etc, dreams can still be realised. I know others in a similar situation to myself, with varying disabilities who would love nothing more than the chance to prove themselves in racing, but don’t have the confidence to try. I am here to prove that there is a place in motorsport for all, able bodied or disabled.
What I am trying to do at present, is to secure some support for myself and an opportunity to practice/be evaluated upon my ability and potential. I am hoping to be able to secure sponsorship/similar in order to assist me, as I don’t have the means to support my progression in the way that many do.
Arguably the most difficult aspect of getting into motorsport for myself is gaining experience and having my potential assessed with a level of support being provided.
I feel, especially with some of the various accidents in motorsport of late, that there should be a mechanism/programme which serves to help the disabled into experience motorsport. There seems to be a lot around offering injured service personnel similar experiences, but almost nothing which caters for the disabled in general.
I not only would like to craft myself an opportunity to reach my potential, but would also relish the opportunity to leave a legacy which would help others in similar circumstances to myself. It may be something which starts small, and needs lots of publicity, but I feel that with support from an organisation similar to yourselves, a scheme such as this could prove a huge success.
I have spoken to the BRDC today, and interestingly, following billy monger’s accident they had a member of the public contact them wanting to donate a large sum of money to a charity doing exactly what I’m proposing to do for disabled racers. Unfortunately, that was in April and they no longer have the details as there wasn’t a suitable organisation at the time.
But this does prove my point.
It is something which there is strong support for, and I am convinced it would capture people’s imagination and attract huge publicity!
For this reason, I thank you for any positive input you may have and hope for a bright future.