Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sir Chris Hoy on his new motorsport adventure - EXCLUSIVE interview with the 6 times Olympic gold medalist

Sir Chris Hoy
Sir Chris Hoy is Great Britain's most successful Olympic athlete with six gold medals and one silver. Following the 2012 Olympics in London, the track cyclist retired from competition and now spends some of his time racing cars in the new for 2013 Radical SR1 Cup. I caught up with Sir Chris at a very hot and sunny Oulton Park on the 6th July 2013 and he was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy day to sit down and chat to me about his new motorsport adventure.

Interview with Sir Chris Hoy MBE

Dominik Wilde: Now you've retired from cycling is this going to be the start of a new career or is it just a hobby?

On track in race one
Sir Chris Hoy: It's just a hobby. I haven't got enough time to really commit to it seriously but that doesn't mean to say I'm not going to take it seriously when I'm doing it, I always try and do the best I can. Once you're out in the car there's nothing else on your mind, you're just focused on trying to be as quick as you can. It's just a hugely enjoyable thing to do, but you have to have an awful lot of time to commit to it, and money and support and, at the moment it's just about enjoying it and doing the best I can.

DW: You had a great start to the season at Brands Hatch, two sixth places in qualifying, two fifth places (in the races), and then today you qualified third and then, despite a rough start, you came back fantastically to finish fifth again (and then seventh in race two), does that boost your confidence at all? How does it make you feel?

Sir Chris after a hot race two
 CH: It does. I just feel I'm actually in the mix now. You know, initially when I started at the beginning of the season I went on a few track days and everyone was here and it was a bit daunting because the guys were a lot faster, but I'm slowly improving now and it's, yeah, it's just about trying to learn from your mistakes and then look for ways to improve and listen to the guys who know what they're talking about.

DW: Your fellow Olympic cyclist Jason Kenny has also started racing this year. Have you been sharing any tips or advice with each other or been talking to each other about it?

Jason Kenny also races
CH: Just swapping stories really. We're both at the same sort of stage you know, having a lot of fun learning. He's done a bit more than me so he's got a bit more experience, I'll probably learn more from him than he will from me but, yeah we both have the same passion for motorsport.

DW: So has that always been there? Because of course around the Christmas period you did the program about Colin McRae...

Sir Chris meets fans at Oulton Park
CH: Yeah I've always loved motorsport and I think Jason's been the same too so it's one of these things that for him in the year after the Olympics he's got a bit more time to do a little bit of racing and for me, not competing any more means I have a bit more time but it's, again, it's just finding the time that's the hard part.

DW: You are local (Sir Chris Hoy lives just outside of Manchester), do you get chance to come here often?

CH: This is the one track I've actually been to enough to sort of know it, I've only been to Brands two or three times and I've been to Cadwell once, Snetterton once but I've been here, over the last four years I've probably been here about a dozen times so I start to know the circuit really good.

DW: Is there anything that transfers over from cycling to the track, to motorsport?

CH: I think just being focused and thinking ahead, looking for potential openings and gaps it's a similar thing but other than that it's a new skill so you have to learn the skill from scratch

DW: And just to finish off, you said it was more of a hobby but what's the car been like and are there any other forms of motorsport you'd like to try?

Sir Chris Hoy's Radical SR1
CH: The car's been great. It's the perfect car to learn in but that doesn't mean to say it's not a serious car. They go bloomin' quickly and when you're on the limit it's pretty exciting. I think it's the kind of car that a really experienced driver would enjoy too. I'd love to get involved in other kinds of motorsport. I'd love to try rallying, I'd love to just do more circuit racing but, yeah, who knows what the future will bring.

Hoy qualified third for both races, running few laps in qualifying to save his tyres. Drama at the start of race one saw him get forced off the track at the first turn, dropping him down to 11th. Hoy showed his competitive nature though by fighting his way through the field to finish fifth. The second race had even more drama for Hoy. After stalling on the grid, he fought his way back to seventh before a spin knocked him further back. He managed to work his way back up to seventh where he went on to finish.

 All words and images © Dominik Wilde 2013

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