Update: 3 December.
One of the challenges set for all Formula Woman applicants was to raise each one's media profile through the printed word, radio and television and social media. That challenge has been fun and to an extent, rewarding.
I managed an interview with my local BBC Radio Lincolnshire and a fair amount of press coverage in local Lincolnshire-wide journals. (The more glossy examples seemingly were not interested!) One major success was the agreement by the editorial team of WI Life, the national magazine for the Woman's Institute with a circulation of 200,000, to follow my involvement by running a feature of my motorsport history.
The original interview (over Zoom) was held in August, but the photoshoot was only completed on 2 December - beside a very wet and muddy country lane after a night's snowfall. So now is all ready for the editors to put both interview and photos together to produce what I hope is a wide feature promoting both the WI's strap line of 'Empowering Women' and Formula Woman as well as reaching out to those of the transgender community who may wish to get involved but are wary of doing so.
Update: 12 December.
Endurance kart Racing Day: Around 50 enthusiastic Formula Woman challengers came together at PF International Kart Circuit near Grantham to take part in a great day of kart racing. Each team consisted of 3 or 4 racers who each had a few qualifying laps to get used to the kart - and a very slippery circuit! Qualifying lasted 30 minutes before the racing started - and that lasted 100 minutes and included statutory pit stops and crew changes which were fequently rather hectic!
The racing was, as to be expected, not as straightforward as some would have wished, with spins and thrills: some karts ended up looking the wrong way whilst others visited the grass more often than they would have liked - but all drivers looked very damp, but were obviously enjoying themselves. (I quite envied them, but medically unfit! But I was reminded of my last kart race - a very long time in Cyprus when I accepted a challenge from the RAF Akrotiri Kart Club to take my RAF Malta Kart team and race them in Akrotiri. The results are still classified.)
But, if I was not racing, what was I doing at the circuit? Many decades ago I used to take photos of night rallying in Hong Kong when I was not competing which led to more motoring opportunities for such organizations as the Hong Kong AA and the Macau GP organizers - in those days all in black and white and done in my own darkroom (now all digital), so when I discovered that Formula Woman was to be racing not far from me, I decided to take my rather old dSLR's with me and see what sort of photos I could still produce. Unfortunately not being an official photographer, I was limited to where I could stand and shoot...so most photos turned out to be side shots of single karts - but as this was a practice training run, all shots were useful and analysed. I can only get better - I hope.
Update: 26 December.
The results were released just before Christmas and , as I expected, I did not make the first cut of 50+ girls who will go on to fight for the final 6 places to make up the two teams to drive the McLaren GT4 in next year's Championship. To those lucky, and deserving, lasses, my best wishes go with you.
My journey has been most enjoyable and I've met many girls and ladies of all ages (between 17 and 73!) who have accepted this 78 year old as one of their own, and yes, I did the exact same asessment as they did - and surprised myself by being able to complete the driving and fitness tests at Bedford. Along the way I completed two full days at i-Zone Driver Performance Centre driving the McLaren GT4 simulator round Donington Park circuit managing to get faster with each lap I drove - not bad for a historic road rally driver more used to keeping speeds down. I was also successful in getting media cover in Lincolnshire on both BBC Radio Lincolnshire and local Lincolnshire newspapers. I was also interviewed by WI Life for a future feature focussing on my life in motorsport and my experience transitioning after being diagnosed with gender dysphoria at the age of 68 and my subsequent life and experiences post-transition. The interview was held virtually owing to COVID restrictions in August and a full scale photoshoot, also featuring my classic 1966 Porsche 912 rally car, on a damp and windy December day along a fairly muddy road - but replicating the sort of road on which I'd rally. Publication, I believe, is in February 2022.
And now to 2022 - but I shall be maintaining my contacts with the Formula Woman community as well as continuing my involvement in motorsport with the MN/HRCR Historic Road Rally Championship, marshalling when and where able and maintaining my seat on Motorsports UK's LGBTQ+ sub-committee and thus letting it be known as fully as possible, that being LGBTQ+ is not a bar to becoming involved in all forms of motorsport.
And thanks must go to Cat Lund whose very professional touch has improved my amateur efforts with this website and brought it to such a high standard which has also generated many positive comments from those who read it. Other thanks are due to the encouragement, support and help of such advisors as Claire Johnson (aka 'The Naked Warrior) and Sabine Tyrvainen (The Winner's Institute). And, of course, the CEO of Formula Woman whose passion for motorsport restarted the Formula Woman Challenge in 2021 who gave me, and around 800 others in 28 countries, the chance to get involved in circuit racing, Graeme Glew. Thank you all.
The story so far:
Last year I applied to become a Formula Woman - a competition to find a totally novice lady driver who would learn to drive a very fast car in the 2022 British GT series.
So where do I fit in ?
I'm concentrating on two themes: the WI promotion of 'Empowering Women' using my membership and contacts within the local WI membership and organisation; and as a member of 'Racing Pride' and Motorsport UK's LGBTQ+ sub-committee, highlight the latter's policy to attract LGBTQ+ people into all disciplines of motorsport.