Well, last week was a bit of a mixed bag for me, starting low but certainly ending on a high! I felt really down on Monday and Tuesday, due to a number of different reasons which I won't bore you with here, but Im glad to say that from Wednesday, things started to look up!
Wednesday was ARDS test day, and I really didn't know what to expect. I'd studied a lot, done research online and asked people who had already done it what to expect, but still, the unknown haunted me a little. I was slightly worried I was underprepared and would be a bit out of my depth, but as it turned out, I needn't have worried at all.
I booked my ARDS National B Assessment back in September, with my local race school and circuit, Knockhill Racing Circuit (www.knockhill.com). Its a track I know quite well, despite having only done a couple of trackways there driving, but I think I must've been round the track thousands of times as a passenger. The course was due to start at 10am so I arrived at around 9.30am and got myself some breakfast and signed on in Kinnairds Cafe on site. Once I was signed on, I waited for my Instructor and Assessor to call on us (there were three of us booked for the course, the maximum number Knockhill set). I didn't have to wait for long before Graham came over to collect us and we went to our classroom for the day. While walking over, Graham asked us all what experience we had on track. The other two attendees had already competed in Hillclimbs and Sprints and Super Lap Scotland events, so I was definitely the one with the least experience in a competitive environment. We sat down and got to work, going over flags, preparing for race meetings, scrutineering, what to do on race day, race etiquette and car control. I was pleasantly surprised that I knew a lot of it so I felt confident for the theory test paper. We had a short break for lunch and on our return we started the theory paper (we each had a different paper, so no cheating!!). I flew through it! I was literally finished in no time. As I had studied well, it was pretty straightforward for me, only having to really think about a couple of questions in the last section. I passed it over to Graham, feeling confident with my answers. He marked it straight away and told me I got one wrong then we went over that particular answer and why it was wrong. I was hoping for 100% but Im pretty happy with this mark. People do fail this part, so I would recommend everyone to do their research to really understand flags, race etiquette, safety and car control.
Once we had all finished the theory part, we walked over to the pitlane for the driving assessment and I was first up. I think with my limited track experience, Graham wasn't sure what to expect from me, but I was determined to do well. It took me a lap or two to get used to the car, but I was feeling confident. We had around 5 laps and when we got back to the pitlane and parked up he told me he was pleasantly surprised by my driving and I had driven well and that I had passed! I was delighted! The other two guys then went out and once they came back, I went back out again for another 5 laps. Here I was marked on various aspects of my driving, so I can see my where my strengths lie and what I need to work on. I have a trackday on Saturday so I will aim to work on my weaker points while I am out on track at the weekend. Once the other guys had been back out for their second session, we wandered back to the classroom for our debrief and that was it! I walked away with my National B Licence application form signed and stamped!
I called the MSA the following day because if I sent away the application form now, I would receive a 2018 licence. We are now almost into November, all the test sessions and race meetings at Knockhill are finished so I can't actually use the licence this year! So, to avoid paying another £65 for a 2019 licence renewal, I have to send it away in December and make a note on it to request a 2019 licence. They start to change over at the end of November and I'm not in any hurry, so I'm happy to wait until December.
I really enjoyed my day, getting to know the others and bouncing experiences off each other, and Graham was a fantastic instructor and assessor, very positive and knowledgeable. Knockhill have a very good setup, I highly recommend them.
So that was my Wednesday! Thursday saw me at Laura Bennett Permanent Cosmetics (www.laurabennettcosmetics.com) getting my eyebrows and eyeliner tattoo'd. I've had it done a few times in the past, so this was really just a top up, as it is only a temporary procedure and needs to be redone every year. This will make my eyes look awesome, not melting under my helmet while racing, obviously very important. :D Laura's work is amazing and I don't trust anyone else to come near my face with a needle and ink!
Once I got home from this procedure, I noticed I had been tagged in a photo on Facebook by Dare to be Different. Dare to be Different (www.daretobedifferent.org) was set up by Susie Wolff and the MSA to inspire, connect, showcase and develop female talent in all aspects of motorsport. It really is a fantastic community, with women all over the world sharing their experiences, giving advice and helping others to realise their dreams. I entered a competition last Monday through Dare to be Different to win a half day training with CAT Driver Training (www.catdrivertraining.co.uk) at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedford. I had to send an email with a short paragraph explaining why I feel the training would benefit me, and Jo and Colin at CAT Driver Training liked my paragraph so much, they picked me as the winner!! I was so shocked when I saw the Facebook post, but absolutely delighted! It couldn't have happened at a better time, having just passed my ARDS the previous day! So I called them on Friday to organise and had a really good long chat with both Jo and Colin (the chief instructor) about the day and what we'll be covering. They are so lovely and so passionate about what they do, I cannot wait to do the training in January. I have no doubt I'm going to really enjoy the day and learn a lot and use it for my own racing and instructing.
So that was my week! Im back to work this week, but have a trackday booked for Saturday afternoon so more will follow then! Any questions, drop me a line or message me on Instagram or Facebook! Just search for Jen Marr Racing and I'm there!
Thanks for reading!