Racers are a strange breed. We hibernate outside our caves for once. We sweet-talk wives and/or wring our minds to make that extra buck for an item so useless in a general scope we’re immediately tagged as looneys by 99,5% of the worlds inhabitants.
Then we bleed, sweat, cheat, lie and dodge to get it to work. To find a tenth of a second in a life filled with millions of them, readily available for a million better purposes. A tenth less going around a track which we’ll lap again anyway.

We rely on help from just our family, our friends, our co-workers, our local sponsor and fellow racers. We push limits on all fronts just to sit in a hot tin or epoxy box getting nervous about what will break next. Or if we’ll break something even more valuable to us or our family, however unlikely, it might just happen.

Fighting customs, tax laws, prices, exchange rates and crummy web shops, ancient fax-based UK businesses, and grumpy tire-dealers we carry on. Nights are spent in hostile environments; blood, injuries, destroyed knees from icy concrete floors, singed eyebrows from the welder, severed limbs from a lathe. Bleeding ears and dripping eyes from power tools, dodgy lungs and brains from fumes and toxins. Red, irritated skin from too many baths in petrol and brake fluid.

Who needs sleep; strong coffee, bananas and Red Bull are all part of the diet along with the unidentifiable yuk from the worlds roadside diners. Cruising to the smell of a burnt clutch on the family estate, head out of window in the October rain, barely staying awake focusing on the taillights of a car ahead while the clock enters the wee hours of morning – stereo blaring the loudest music available. All the time hoping that our machine will survive the devilish scrutineering and sound tests, that the indicators and brake lights still work, that we did remember to torque the conrod bolts, while we make a mental scheme to regain credit with the offspring, our mother-in-laws, the bank and the friend who got the telling off for a forgotten bolt.

With a scant hour of sleep achieved by leaning against the steering wheel after arrival, we stumble out to manhandle the way too large trailer, the tangled straps, we lift a heavy toolbox once too many times, ignore the back crying for mercy, and get the weapon grounded. Hard-earned cash is deposited at a criminal rate to just take part – if we get that far before something stops working, and you just know there’s either a full night of pulling everything apart, a 5-hour night haul for that one part, or pulling out of it all together.

Then it’s time.

The countdown starts, and the body starts to react. Adrenaline pumps, the bladder overloads. There are scary sounds and smells everywhere. The pulse threatens to rip your Nomex apart. Will it start? Will it overheat if I leave it running in case it doesn’t start? Will something embarrasing happen on the first lap? Will I finally have a big shunt? Will I lose it all on the last lap? Will I perform totally horribly? Afther the 8th visit to the toilet within 30 minutes, there’s no turning back.

You strap in. Helmet on. Everything goes quiet except the rapid thump of the heart. Why can’t they just let us get on with it? Why do the three specators bother to come see this? What’s in it for them? Why are they already getting the black flag ready?

The seconds act as aeons. Still more scary smells. Will it rain? Did I remember to check the fluids? What if I underfilled the tank? What if I’ll have to loosen the belts to reach the start button? What if it catches fire again? Please, oh please, God Of Racing, let everything work just this once! What if…

Green flag.

Oh bliss. Oh Sublime Adrenaline. Freedom. Peace. Rest. Reload.