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Stephen Brooks

Diabetes and Circuit Racing Single Seaters

My name is Stephen Brooks and this is my story of becoming a diabetic and my hobby racing. It started with Rallying from 1986 to 1994 when I was racing a 1600 Mk2 Escort. I had great success with this car winning many races and two ANWCC Tarmac Rally Championships. I decided to finish rallying at the end off 1994 due to purchasing a house, It was an age thing !!!!.

After a few years off (1997) I decided to get back into Motor sport (after looking around, I decided I didn’t want to do anything that I couldn’t do just by myself and then Girlfriend, now wife). I decided on Hill Climbs & sprints and bought an OMS with a Kawasaki ZZR 1100cc engine. I did a couple Hill Climbs and Sprints a year but could never get into it due too the short seat time sometimes only 4 mins some weekends with a 100 mile + round trip to get there. Tried loads off stuff like Motor homes and Caravans to make it better but still couldn’t get into it.

At one off the sprints I got talking to a John Corbyn from Jedi. He had just started putting cars in a series called Monoposto. After looking on the web and talking to a few people, I decided to go and have a look at a few races. I decided this was more like it and where I wanted to be. With this I started preparing the car from hill/sprint spec to Circuit Spec. It cost me all in about £1000 to change the car over. Once done I did a test at Mallory Park just to get the feel off the car on a circuit. I was pushing much as I was learning the differences and a few big F3 teams where testing so I was just keeping out the way.
 
First every race was at Castle Combe. Well we soon found out we had some very serious problems in the Oil Cooling area. First the oil pipes that had done approximately over 20 Hill Climbs couldn’t take the strain and departed company with the oil cooler and promptly spilt all the Oil out after only 3 laps.

After a trip to Merlin Motorsport the on-site shop (and luckily Goodridge agent),  spent a small fortune on the pipes but ready to go for the race !!!!!! or so we thought. 
 
After only 4 Laps I had to come in as the Oil temp was going sky high. Back home we found the Oil Cooler, a Standard motorbike one, was okay for Hills but no good for the Circuits. I had a spare car one from the rallying days so cleaned it out and put it on the car in one off the side pods luckily the Goodridge hoses fitted still. This fixed the problem. A few more races just bedding in and getting use to the tracks took us up to the millennium 2000.

I hadn’t been feeling well for about a month but carried on as it was December and I was starting a new job on the 3rd Jan 2000. I work in IT and was technically unemployed over the millennium. I went to work on the 3rd Jan and started my new job drinking lots off fluid all day and going too the loo every 15 mins. I even had to get off the train to go to the loo and the journey was only 30 mins. On the 4th I got up and on walking to the train station (10min) I decided I couldn’t do it as I need the loo again and just felt like I couldn’t even be bothered walking or doing anything. At this point I rang Angela (My girlfriend, now wife) I said I can’t go to work can she ring the doctors and take me. She knew something was up and this just confirmed it as I hate the doctors and Hospitals ( I now work for the NHS!!). I went in to see the Doctor, a very nice lady who asked if I could do a urine sample at which I laughed as I was again dying for the loo. She also asked if I was with anyone and could I point them out so they could come in for a chat. After the sample she informed me of what she thought. She actually  said you are deffo diabetic and did I know. I replied I thought it was something like that as I was drinking loads and always going to the loo.

So it was straight too the local Hospital, We weren’t even allowed to go home which was about a 500 yard detour, She said if we do that she would get an ambulance as I need to go straight their. So off we went and report to the special entry ward (as they call it) on going to reception and saying my name they pointed to a bed and said can I lie down. As I lay down 2 doctors came over checked a few things and then promptly put in TWO drips. One with fluids too helps dehydration and One for the Insulin. It was fantastic service as the time was only just past 10:00 we only saw the doc at 9:00 as the first one in.

Over the next 3 days I was just lying in Hospital reading some books one off which was the Blue Book as I had asked for it to find out what I had to do. On reading this I found out that Insulin dependant people don’t get a license.  I also found out from the Specialist nurse I have to inform and send my normal driving license back !!. You only get a 3.5 Ton allowance and only for 3 years and you have to renew it. What was I going to do with a race, truck and caravan ?

After coming out and getting the new job sorted over a few months I decided to start looking into the racing. I spoke to a Shelia at the MSA and must say what a pleasant surprise it was. She is just so helpful and goes the extra bit, too make sure you have everything you need and more importantly understand the steps/process.

The Steps to get the MSA Race License back

1. Apply for a new license stating the Diabetes.
2. This gets to Shelia Barter and she sends out the info for a Dr Dorrington-Ward in London.
3. Go to a meeting with DR Dorrington-Ward. He is in the middle of London and this is done at your expense. The examination and chat cost me £50 paid in cash to him.
4. You wait for his report to get to Shelia at MSA.
5. Your Application along with DR Dorrington-Wards report goes to a sort off panel.
6. If you are passed you get your license as I did.

After all this I must say it wasn’t that hard and all people involved try the hardest for you.

All that happens every year now is I have to follow the below steps.

1. Apply for a renewal off my license like everybody else does.
2. This gets to Shelia as you have to state medical conditions.
3. Shelia sends a letter to me and Dr Dorrington-Ward to say I need a report from my specialist.
4. I have timed my yearly check just after Xmas, I hand my letter over asking them to fill it in.
5. When Dr Dorrington-Ward gets it he sends a report to Shelia to say Yes or No.
6. Visit the specialist optician.
7. Hopefully you get the licenses through the post.

I must say that now I know the process it is quiet easy and doesn’t take that much longer than normal.

All I would say is just try your best to keep in touch not just for racing but for your life as well. I am now a director off the Monoposto Racing Club Ltd and currently run the Website and Forum for the club.

Last year I also finished Second in the Mono1200 Free Class in my Speads RM03 (Ferrari Look a like) fitted with a Suzuki GSXR K2 1000cc motor.
 
I hope this helps people in a similar position and if I can offer any help / advice I will gladly helps.

Yours

Stephen Brooks     (spbrooks@hotmail.com)

Information Sites

http://www.monoposto.co.uk/
http://www.spbracing.co.uk/