Fast and furious

carpenterSamantha Weller has lived in Shipton for the last 5 years and is the Team Principal of a local motorcycle endurance team which won the British National Endurance Motorcycle Championship in 2016. She tells the story of their success below…
Andy Carpenter lives on Shipton High Street and a lot of you may know him to say hello to as he has lived here for 15 plus years. The Carpenters are a well known name in the Wychwoods. Dudley, Andy’s father, grew up here and Andy then used to come and visit his grandparents on a regular basis riding his bike and treating St Michael’s Close like his very own race track. He talks about how his grandmother was loved by all and there was always cake and a cup of tea offered to anyone who might just pop in.
On a day-to-day basis, Andy is a building contractor with his brother Simon, for his father’s long established firm D.G Carpenter Ltd. He is also a loving father to two boys, Ollie and Jack, with the emphasis on family life. But behind the scenes, Andy has a hobby that is not only challenging, but dangerous as well. He races motorcycles!
Having come to the sport very late in his life (midlife crisis, much to his mother’s dismay), Andy has shown that age should not define who you are or what you do. As a team we have spent 5 years chasing the title of British National Endurance Champions, but in 2016 we finally clinched that elusive title.
Endurance racing is a team event. There are 9 rounds at a range of British circuits over the season, including Silverstone and Brands Hatch, and the races vary in length from 3 hours to 8 hours. There are 2 to 3 riders for each event (usually 2 for the 3 hour races and 3 for the longer races) who take it in turns to race round the track for up to 40 minute stints. Endurance racing can be highly tactical with things changing at any moment because of incidents on the track or changes in the weather; something which happens frequently in the UK.
Our success is down to the incredibly dedicated team we have behind us and, as team principal, I cannot thank them enough for all their support over the years as we certainly couldn’t have done it without them. As Andy says, motorsport maybe dangerous but as a high octane, adrenalin fuelled sport it can keep you young. So for now we will continue to fly the flag for The Wychwoods, but how long can a midlife crisis last?

Words and pictures by Samantha Weller (Team Principal)

June – July 2017