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26th Jan, 2022

THE INSIDE TRACK - how to get involved in motorsport

Ben Tyler 20th Jun, 2019

REDNAL driver Tobias Owen is currently enjoying his debut season in motorsport in the BRSCC MX-5 Championship. In this week’s column, he discusses how to get started in the sport.

Part of my goal in writing about my racing exploits and experiences is to inspire others to take the plunge and do the same.

So if you’re an aspiring young racer – or, indeed, a parent like me who’s ready to dust off your dreams and go get your race license – this article is for you.

For me and thousands of other racers around the country, the journey started in karting.

Initially, I did it just for fun. But inevitably, as a lifelong fan of motor racing, I got the bug and decided to take it to the next level.

I quickly found that competitive karting is a real step up from your casual Saturday night sessions!

It’s a fantastic platform for your first taste of proper motor racing, because it’s safe, low cost and the karts don’t reach frightening speeds.

It also puts you on a level playing field with other drivers, as everyone should have the same machinery and talent will shine through.

I started karting as an adult, though it’s best known as a platform where young drivers can learn their trade.

You see a lot of “lad and dad” teams around the paddock – but I would really like to see more girls and young women take on competitive karting.

Motorsport is one of the few remaining sports where men and women can compete together as equals, yet it is dominated by men.

Why is this? Perhaps young girls aren’t given the same encouragement as boys. Perhaps there aren’t enough female role models in motorsport.

Either way, it’s a state of affairs that I’d like to see changed.

I have a two-year-old daughter, and I want her to grow up believing that anything is possible.

Several clubs around the Midlands organise competitive karting series over the course of the year, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a place to start.

Once you’ve found your groove in karting, if you ultimately want to race cars, your thoughts will inevitably turn to the great British race circuits such as Silverstone, Donington and Brands Hatch.

The good news is that these famous venues are not as exclusive as you might think.

Almost every circuit around the country runs track days throughout the year.

These are days where ordinary everyday folk like you and me can turn up in a road-legal car and drive round as fast as your car (and your confidence) will allow.

Track days are a great way to learn the tracks that you will be racing on some day, without the pressure of being in a competitive environment.

There are also trained instructors on hand to give tips on driving technique and lines.

I took my racing license test at Oulton Park, in Cheshire.

Before the test, I booked a track day with an instructor and it was one of the best decisions I ever made, helping me pass my test first time.

My journey from karting, to track days, to driving a full-blown race car was really simple, but it just goes to show that anyone can do it. Hopefully my story will encourage others to do the same!

On the 30th of June, I’m returning to my roots and racing go-karts for charity in a 4-hour team endurance race.

We’ll be raising money for the Midlands Air Ambulance, which supports six counties in the Midlands and is one of the busiest services in the country.

The event is being held at the Birmingham Wheels International circuit and it would be great to see lots of people there to support and enjoy the activities going on around the venue.

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