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Stephanie Boddez

Stéphanie Boddez - Rally Navigator
Stephanie
lost both her legs below the knee to Melingitus at the age of 17.
She competed as a navigator on the Welsh GB Rally with the RACE2RECOVERY Team and finished on the podium in her first major event!  Stephanie has sent us her story of how she became involved with the Team and her adventures on the rally.
      
Wales Rally GB with Race2Recovery
My first experience as a navigator was at the British Cross Country Championship with the skilled and patient Chris Ratter as my mentor. He taught me the basics of co-driving, what’s important to tell the driver, what to pay attention to, how to not make the driver fall asleep because of a boring voice and most of all how to have fun along the way. As a part of Race2Recovery, I was able to learn how to co-drive from some of the best. They were always ready to help me out or to answer my questions.
 
It was Race2Recovery who asked me to co-drive for Chris again during the Wales Rally GB. Knowing it was a little spontaneous and a lot crazy, I said "yes". Followed immediately was a list of questions, with my biggest fear, "What if we crash and I can’t get out of the car". Because the team has several amputees, they could answer my questions easily. They eased my nerves and made me feel safe. Of course having Chris with me and knowing an incredible team of mechanics took great care of the car, only improved that feeling of being secure.
 
Arriving on Friday, we needed to get ready for scrutineering. After getting our paperwork and passes, we made it just in time. I was worried that we forgot something or they would see something not ok, but everyone there was so friendly that I relaxed again. When asked which one of my leg was amputated and I replied ‘both’, a team mate decided to prove it by kicking me in the legs. No worries, I kicked him back (but not against his prosthetic).
 
Finally it was Saturday, first race day. As Chris put it, I felt like a duck, sure and calm on the surface, but peddling fiercely beneath it. But then we got in the car and it was the most perfect feeling. I wasn’t any different than any other navigator (well, except for my lack of experience that is). Once we sat in the car, I was equal to any other navigator out there. I didn’t need my legs, but my focus and determination to help Chris get us to that finish line.
  
That weekend I learned the basics of co-driving, but an equally important lesson was to listen to your body. I needed to make sure that I spread my energy between Saturday and Sunday. Giving it all the first day, would’ve meant that I wouldn’t have been worth anything the second.

That doesn’t benefit the team and reduces the chance of reaching the finish. If I would’ve
been in too much pain or having troubles with my prosthetics, I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate enough.

That could easily result into making mistakes and getting not only myself, but also Chris in danger. Asking for help (for example with running back and forth to get the correct time on our time card) is something that my pride didn’t take lightly, but what I needed to do in the end.

It wasn't only for me and Chris who wanted to reach the finish line but the whole team back at the car park who were crossing their fingers for that result as well.
 
Somewhere between having my legs amputated and my first navigating experience with Race2Recovery, I’ve got stuck with "Going beyond injury" in my head. To all of you who’ve been told you can’t. You most definitely can (and you should!).
 
Be safe and have fun!

Stéphanie



Please see the website for the  Race2Recovery Team -