Discover the extraordinary women who make up this year's Vogue 25 - celebrating the woman…
Before we wave goodbye to 2016 once and for all I wanted to have one brief look back at a year that’s been every bit as eventful as I could have hoped for – 3 countries, 10,000km, 2 cars, 5 podiums & a very pretty watch.
I’d like to start by first thanking all my partners for their amazing support this season, especially NGK, Tectri, Garage Pride, Discover Grandprix & Dryden House. I also owe a huge high five to everyone who supported me and helped get the car back together after the crash, I couldn’t have made it through the season without you all and I feel lucky to have some incredible fans & followers. I hope you guys all have an amazing year in 2017, you surely deserve it!
Looking back now, and despite some challenges 2016 has been by far my best year yet, both in terms of performance and also what I’ve learnt.
Going it alone has led to some unforgettable adventures, and I’ve loved the feeling of complete freedom driving my van across Europe with my bed a few inches above my head, a bag of clothes and the open road out ahead.
It’s an empowering feeling and something that’s really awakened a deep desire in me to explore, but in terms of racing at higher level it’s brought home the fact that I simply can’t do everything and perform at my best. Maybe I’ll trade the van in for a T5 camper and a surf board, who knows…
Being as this was my second year in France it’s mostly been a case of building on the knowledge and experience gained in 2015 and putting that all to good use. Looking at the results I’d say that it’s been a success – the level of competition in the Open FR class is very high so two 2nd place finishes (out of 8 races in the FR) wasn’t bad, nor were a pair of 3rd place finishes at FIA European rounds in Germany & Switzerland.
Sure I had a few hiccups along the way, loosing points at Vuillafans with the crash and dropping out of Chamrousse didn’t help, but then sometimes it’s about adapting and taking opportunities as they pop up. The drive at St-Ursanne was just such an opportunity, forfeiting Chamrousse wasn’t ideal but then the chance to drive a prototype was something I could never refuse, especially when it meant joining one of the top teams in modern hillclimbing.
On a personal level it was a dream come true, but on a professional level it meant even more. Being trusted to drive a car like the Norma M20 FC at the fastest hillclimb in Europe without any testing was a big deal and I wanted to prove that I could handle it. I had the impression there were a few doubters in the crowd that gathered around to see us fitting the Schroth Racing Indi Seat on Friday afternoon, it was suddenly apparent that I’d never even sat in the car before… But running within the team that weekend was a huge pleasure and I felt able to relax and just enjoy the experience – Team Faggioli is like one big family. They even gave me my own team shirt to wear, and it’s now one of my favourite souvenirs from the last 10 years racing.
As I write this I’ve almost finished wrapping presents and I’m looking forwards to some R&R over the holidays. Please make sure you tune into ITV to catch me on series 3 of Ninja Warrior UK – the first show goes out at 7pm on New Year’s Eve so it’s maybe best to set the recorder now…
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, see you at Autosport in January! :D