A Crowborough woman who lost a leg in an accident where her fiance died has embraced the thrill of motorsports.
Lorraine Pooley was just 21 when she lost her leg in a collision with a motorbike.
She had been engaged for less than 12 days and her fiance died at the scene.
Lorraine, 49, who now wears a prosthetic leg, spent the day at Silverstone with Team BRIT, a competitive racing team of disabled drivers, testing out world-leading hand control technology as part of an Academy Day. Team BRIT aims to be the first all-disabled team to race in the Le Mans 24 hour, and through its Racing Academy, supports drivers with a range of physical and psychological challenges in accessing motorsport.
The team is yet to include a female driver and Lorraine joined three other disabled women at Silverstone, all trying out life on the track. This was Lorraine’s second visit to the team, having attended an Academy Day earlier this year. Lorraine is no stranger to challenge, taking part in BBC 2’s ‘Beyond Boundaries’ in 2005 where, along with a group of 10 other disabled people, she walked from the Atlantic to the Pacific in four weeks. She drove on the team’s simulator, fitted with the hand controls to help her get used to the technology before hitting the track. She was then taken for a passenger ride in the team’s VW Polo before taking to the wheel herself, supported by experienced instructors.
Lorraine said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with Team BRIT so far and I found them friendly, informative and professional but above all I felt the passion for motorsport they have is contagious. “Driving at speeds of over 100mph under the instruction of the co-drivers I found to be extremely exciting and at no time did I feel disabled.” Team BRIT CEO and founder Dave Player said, “Women are hugely under-represented in motorsport, and disabled women even more so. “We’re working to level the playing field for disabled drivers, making it easier for anyone with a physical or psychological challenge to access the sport. “We hope to help each of the ladies find the support they need so we can welcome them back into the driving seat very soon.”