Forza Billy.

Standard

It’s strange how racers and racing fans alike are all well aware of the dangers and risks involved in motorsport, and yet during the actual race day, all of that are shoved to the back of our minds. It’s all going be to okay. Let’s hope the race is exciting.

This past weekend was pretty much just like any other normal race weekend–until it wasn’t. F4 as a series is not televised in my shores, but as majority of my Twitter following are fans of multiple racing series, I get to be updated whenever I check my timeline during race weekends. And when something major happens, it’s impossible to miss. As soon as I read that a big shunt has occurred in Donington Park, which involved young British racing driver Billy Monger, my mind went into automatic, “Oh dear, I hope he’s 100% okay”. I refused to watch any footage of the crash, as my timeline was still fretting over the length of time it was taking for the youngster to be extracted from his vehicle. Some hours have passed, and finally Billy was taken to the hospital, and for a while, Twitter finally got to breathe a sigh of relief.

But then the awful news broke that Billy Monger sustained such serious injuries from the crash which resulted in both of his lower legs being amputated. I am barely familiar with this kid prior to that fateful moment but I felt my heart shatter in a million pieces when I read that update. Imagine having your dream taken away from you in a blink of an eye. How do you recover from that…?

In a matter of hours, a crowdfunding page was set up to help Billy and his family cope with the impending financial stress brought about by the accident. It was at 16% of the total goal when I donated. I immediately shared the link to my Twitter timeline and asked my followers to help out if they can. It saddened me a little that I couldn’t donate more, but I crossed my fingers and hoped that the motorsport world and beyond will come through and reach the target.

(Link to the crowdfunding page:
 https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/billymonger23 )

And reach the target we all did–and beyond! As of writing, the crowdfunding page is at 245% and has nearly 16,000 supporters. That’s with 117 days to go until the deadline. Numerous motorsport personalities have donated and expressed their support, and the massive outpouring of love and concern from all over the world is just amazing.

However, what got me into writing this was this tweet:

I never anticipated just how much those three simple words could have such an effect on me.

Here was a kid, all but 17, who got thrown a massive curveball by Life, but he is already dusting himself off without missing a beat.

And then there’s this little girl named Millie Davis who stood out among the sea of support on his crowdfunding page:

Photo grabbed from Twitter.

Do you ever have one of those days (or weeks, or months, or years, or lives) when you feel lost and overwhelmed and you feel like the universe won’t ever give you a break and you have no idea how to be yourself again?

And then you read about people like Billy Monger and Millie Davis and you realize just how inconsequential some of your worries are, and how you’re wasting your energies on the wrong things.

They may still be children but boy, have they schooled me on Life well and proper.

I am humbled by Billy’s fortitude. His bravery is no less than inspirational. He is a complete stranger to me but I am already invested in his story–a story of triumph, hope, and optimism.

It is far from over yet, there will be more challenges in the chapters ahead but I am not worried about him. Do not, in any way, feel sorry for Billy. Underestimate him at your own peril. He will pull through. He will teach us how to find the strength within us when all seems lost. He has already scored a massive victory and he’ll only score more along the way.

Form is temporary. Class is permanent.

Survival is an art and we should all be so lucky to have an ounce of Billy’s character in us.

I cannot wait for the day when Billy Whizz takes the checquered flag yet again. 

Bounce back soon, Billy. We are all behind you.
.

Advertisements

On Schumi Dreams, Vettel, Mick, And The (Racing) Ties That Bind.

Standard

I’ve always been a vivid dreamer.

A few days ago, I had a dream about Michael Schumacher. I was outside a sunny race paddock when all of a sudden, there he was, in his signature Ferrari racing overalls and cap, riding his scooter. I remember calling him and asking for a photo with him, a request he happily granted. As I wrapped my arm around his waist while the photo was being taken, I remember thinking, “This is fantastic! But too perfect. I wish this was really happening.”

See, even in my dream I had a semblance of awareness that what I was experiencing at that moment wasn’t real. Even in my dream I “knew” that Schumi couldn’t possibly be a Ferrari driver anymore and that he is currently in no condition to ride a scooter. Even so, in that moment I was happy. So very happy I almost wished that dream wouldn’t end. But of course I had to wake up some time and accept the fact it was all in my subconscious.

After Schumi’s life-altering accident, watching F1 has never been quite the same for me. Of course I still immensely enjoy it, but there is now more than a scintilla of sadness when I watch the races. As I have mentioned in my previous posts, Sebastian Vettel’s move to Ferrari this season has, in a way, helped me to deal with the sadness, although conversely, his presence in the team and his similarities with Michael also become a glaring reminder of just how much I miss Schumi.

The day after the dream, I saw on Twitter that Vettel has become a patron of the ADAC Formula 4, the motorsport series he competed in as a youngster and the same series that Michael’s son Mick will be participating in this season. Quite fitting. While it may be a practical decision on his part, the sentimental fool in me found it quite a sweet gesture from the German. Michael Schumacher used to be the benchmark for Vettel and his fellow racers back then, and now that he has achieved a big part of his F1 dreams, Vettel is now the one who is giving back to the youngsters who want to follow in his and Schumi’s racing footsteps (or should that be tyre marks?).

Vettel himself has admitted that he is missing his mentor Schumacher’s advice when it comes to F1 and beyond. Spare a thought (or two) for young Mick Schumacher who will start a new chapter in his motorsport career finally bearing that surname, but without his father cheering from the sidelines. We can only surmise on how much pressure he is under—if any at all—but sometimes when I look at the Schumacher children I feel an overwhelming sense of protectiveness and I just want to give them both a big hug and tell them to stay strong and that everything will be alright.

I hope that Seb extends his help to Mick in whichever way he can, just like what Michael has so unselfishly done with him throughout the years.

This weekend, Mick formally started his ADAC Formula 4 adventure and promptly registered his 1st win in the series’ 3rd race. Words just weren’t enough to describe the happiness and pride I felt when I saw the words, “P1 M SCHUMACHER” and Mick standing on the top step of the podium while the German anthem played. This is the start of something amazing. I just know it.

To say I’m immeasurably excited for what the future holds for Mick would be an understatement. If we only had live coverage of the F4 races then I’d gladly watch, but for now I can only offer my unequivocal support from this side of the pond.

As for my dream, well, I firmly believe that dreams can be a sign of things to come. He may not be able to become a Ferrari driver once more but in my heart, there is still hope that we will see Schumi happily riding his scooter yet again.

Image via f1-memes.tumblr.com

Image via f1-memes.tumblr.com