After such a disastrous weekend at Vuillafans, Charlie Martin has been busy repairing her car and preparing for her next race at Glasbach. In her latest blog post she tells us all about the hard work, sweat and tears over the course of the last few weeks…
Three weeks have passed since Vuillafans, and although I’ve been away from the buzz of the track, life has in no way slowed down. In some ways the timing has been quite handy, and although damaging the car is never good; if it was going to happen then at least it occurred at a point in the season when I have a month-long break and a good chance of it being rebuilt in time for the next round.
I’ve been in contact with the team on a regular basis. I didn’t want to pester them for daily updates as they know the deadlines that we’re aiming for, it’s been more a case of locating the long list of parts (which they’ve done in France) and agreeing the price for the work before proceeding. All four tyres have needed replacing (I took each corner off), and although some of them look ok it’s the safest thing to do after such a big collision.
The support received has been incredible
Someone kindly donated me a set of rears that have only done a couple of meetings so I just need a set of new fronts, as racing on last season’s slicks feels like fighting a battle you’ve already lost!
The amount of support I’ve received has been incredible with fans sending support and contributions towards the repair cost from all over the world, and I’m so grateful to everyone that’s helped get me back on track after what was the biggest crash I’ve ever had in any car – you guys are the best!
So what have I been doing to pass the time and keep from going stir crazy? Well, as luck would have it I’ve had possibly the best form of distraction in the form of an intense training schedule for ITV’s Ninja Warrior UK, (you might remember me talking about it in a previous blog).
The show is essentially a mix of Parkour and Total Wipeout, with contestants competing against the clock to complete an obstacle course that requires ninja-like levels of balance, agility and upper body strength. Although I do a lot of running and have good levels of fitness and stamina, the audition stage exposed some areas that needed serious work so I booked in at the Training Shed.
I’ve never had a bespoke training programme before, and Emma who I am working with was really excited by the prospect of putting together a series of routines for something slightly different to the normal requests. She came up with a four-point plan consisting of TRX (resistance training using your own bodyweight), weights, cardio, balance and agility.
It’s the latter that I was really keen to try as they have a large, adult size climbing frame outside that’s perfect for what I need, even if it led to the most painful dead leg since the age of eight in the school playground when I accidentally swung my inside knee into one of the supports! I quickly got going again; only to tear the skin on both palms a few days later as two of the rungs have a high grip surface…
Ready for action
A week on and everything is about back to normal. I feel like a coiled spring with none of the aches and pains in my shoulders that followed the audition. I’ve just found a place called Ape Index in my home town that is pretty much a recreation of the obstacles found on the show, so I’ll be down there next week to try and perfect a few techniques.
It’s really brought home how much more difficult it is when faced with a task requiring movements that are completely beyond anything you regularly come across in your day to day life. We all sit and watch things on TV thinking ‘that looks easy, I’d just do this’, but when you’re under the pressure of competition and you only have one shot, I can confirm that it’s a lot harder than it looks!
In truth it’s been quite cathartic having a something positive to focus on right now. Exercise always makes me feel better and I’ve been at it five days a week recently. I love the hot weather we’ve been having but it’s put me through my paces too and I often ran late into the evenings.
I hope I make it through to the TV show. It’s looking good but whatever the outcome it’s had a positive impact on my state of mind.
Things are looking good for Glasbach though (I’m an eternal optimist) and I’m keener than ever to get driving again. I reasoned that nothing failed in the car and it didn’t do anything unexpected so once setup it will be just as it was. Sure I’ll go easy to start with, and it’s ideal that this round doesn’t actually count towards my championship result so I don’t have to push harder than I feel like on the day.
Even if the car isn’t ready I’ll be making the trip. I’m staying in France for Mont Dore the weekend after but most of all I want to catch up with my good friend Fabien Bouduban who is racing a 2-litre Norma sports prototype with Team Faggioli.
We’ve not raced together since last season and I have some of the best memories from 2015 when I joined Team Macracer for the Swiss round of the European Championship and had a fairy-tale weekend with the three of us (Jean-Jeacques Maitre included) taking to the podium.
Simone Faggioli is the reigning European Hillclimb Champion, so for me it will be a fantastic opportunity to spend a weekend with such an impressive team and hopefully learn a lot form the experience – I just hope the car is ready.
It’s great to hear that Charlie is so optimistic about making it to Glasbach and everyone here at Euro Car Parts wishes her all the best as she gets back behind the wheel. Come back to our blog next week to find out if she made it to the starting line, and just how she got on.