Sunday, 3 July 2011

Part 2: Life as a Motorsport Mum (F1 style!)

Tonight we're linking in to part 2 of an article put up by Gridwalk Talk...
It totally belongs to them, all the Copyright is theirs. Please make sure you drop by their site for a look at the complete article! :D Please enjoy it via us too though! :D

 by LukehMuse
Soon the Chandhok house could change a tyre in 7 seconds, cook meals for the entire rally workshop and all the JK drivers of 60 people and provide JK Tyre t-shirts and caps of all sizes to all the homeless people of India. If the children’s school needed a new venue for excursions they were taken to Vicky’s workshop and taught to change an engine in one hour. Kingfisher beer was given away as freebies to the teachers!
Vijay Mallya, Karivaradhan, the Singhanias, mechanics from the UK, race car drivers, rally drivers and engineers were regular visitors, who broadened the horizons of the family. Go-karts, dirt bikes and cricket equipment were littered all over the house and finally Chitra made a secret tunnel underground from her Pooja room so that she could escape for a while.

The weather bureau regularly checked the diesel, petrol and testosterone levels around the Chandhok home for excess air pollution. After 17 years of intensive training Vicky wanted the entire household to wear racing overalls as the household uniform. The maids immediately quit and Chitra got a medical certificate from Dr. Cherian to be exempted from this rule, so finally this dress code was not enforced.  Only the cook Raju seemed to be thrilled with his fireproof overalls from the UK and refused to return it!
The millennium year arrived and the heir to the Chandhok throne had to be crowned. Indu had abdicated to Vicky and Vicky handed over the family steering wheel to Karun in 2000. Zooom – the Chandhok family bank balance went from very comfortable to dangerously low! As Karun drove faster and faster the bank balance dived down equally quickly.

Chitra prepared a graph and hung it in the family room. A black line marked Karun’s increasing speeds and victories. A red line marked the downward swing of the bank balance. Then the family were saved by sponsors in yellow, blue and white so there was a 3rd line drawn on the graph marking cash inflow from sponsors. Indu and Indra performed Havans and propitiated the motorsport Gods. Vicky would meditate daily at 4am in front of the graph and Karun kept driving faster and faster. Then Suhail proudly announced to his parents that he was “the good son” of the family. His entire cricket expenses cost only as much as one tyre of Karun’s F3 Car! Therefore he wanted to be included in the graph as the least expensive line in green $ sign. Next, Hardy of JK Tyre wanted an exclusive line in yellow on the graph because their company had been the main sponsor who had saved the Chandhok Racing Lineate. Immediately Vicky posted a sign under the graph saying Graph Sponsored by JK Tyres. The graph became the Holy Grail of the Chandhok family.

Chitra’s family watched the 22 years of her marriage to Vicky with a mixture of surprise, shock, admiration and finally deadly silence. But Chitra had slowly changed without being aware of it. She had become a Chandhok. If her family were zooming about in cars or playing Cricket she was relaxed. If they sat at home and watched TV, she jumped up in concern, checked their temperatures and called Dr. Cherian for emergency treatment. Sometimes her comments on F1 were sensible and the family smiled at her approval.

Then arrived the announcement that Vicky was to be made President of the FMSCI (Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India). Chitra began to wonder – would they live in a White House and would she be First Lady? No Way! Only more phone calls, 24/7, at all odd hours from Nazir Hoosain, Max Mosley, Bernie Ecclestone, Kushru Madan (A jew, a German, a Britisher and a Parsee – sounds like the beginning of a joke!). The staff would barge into their bedroom at unearthly hours and announce phone calls from Burnee Saar or Maxi Mosee Saar!

“Ma, what is FMSCI?” asked Suhail. “It’s like the BCCI for cricket and your father is the President” said Chitra. “Oh, lots of talk and politics!” commented Suhail and walked away. But secretly Suhail watched his father Vicky on the ASEAN Really and announced proudly – “FMSCI is not so bad, they have made history with this ASEAN Rally.”

For MMSC’s Golden Jubilee Souvenir Indu asked Chitra to write an article. “You have 3 hours, 15 minutes and 32 seconds to complete it,” he orders “Your time starts now!” he said and punches his stopwatch. Well, readers, this is what you get to read when I am given such little time, no fuel and no sponsor. Not even a pit stop was allowed. Hope you could catch a small glimpse into our lives as one of India’s racing families.
Chitra Chandhok

You can follow Chitra Chandhok on Twitter as well as Karun, Vicky and Suhail. Again I can only send a huge amount of thank you’s to Chitra for providing this and I hope you all enjoyed reading it just as much as I did because it really is a love glimpse at quite a life so far! I met Karun myself last year at Goodwood Festival of Speed and he’s a really, really lovely bloke and Chitra is an absolute laugh on Twitter so it seems the loveliness runs through the family. Getting the opportunity to share this has been a real delight through so I hope you guys reading enjoyed it too.

Want to see karun off the F1 circuit? Check him out in this clip on 5th Gear!
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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Part 1: Life as a Motorsport Mum (F1 style!)

Tonight we're linking in to an article put up by Gridwalk Talk...
It totally belongs to them, all the Copyright is theirs. Please make sure you drop by their site for a look at the complete article! :D Please enjoy it via us too though! :D

by LukehMuse
A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of being contacted by Chitra Chandhok, wife of FMSCI President Vicky Chandhok and mother to F1 driver Karun and Ardenna Communications director Suhail. Not a bad set of jobs to have in a family, right?! After commenting on this blog and blowing my mind in doing so, Chitra later got in contact and volunteered to contribute a guest post to GWT, an opportunity I jumped at obviously. So here for you pleasure if the lovely Chitra Chandhok giving you an insight into just what the life of a mother’s who’s son and family are deep in the world of Motorsport is like. It’s a fabulous read, and very very funny, and I can only offer my eternal thank you to Chitra for providing this guest post as it provides some wonderful insight into the life of the Chandhok family over the past few decades.
The original article was published as part of the Madras Motor Sports club 50 year Jubilee Celebration.

What happens when a studious MBA graduate working in a conservative American Bank, marries into a family of race and rally drivers? Hilarious mind-boggling, life changing experiences of course!
The combination of TAM-BRAM Chitra with PUNJABI-JAT Vicky created cultural waves. It was 1982 when Vicky proposed to Chitra. They went out for quiet romantic dinners in madras and waiters, teenagers and pretty girls all came to Vicky for his autograph. Vicky knew everyone! Chitra knew nobody! Chitra wanted to quietly fly back to USA, cancel the wedding and go back to her anonymous life.

August 15th 1982, Vicky and Chitra gave up their independence on Independence Day and got married. The previous night the entire MMSC (Madras Motor Sports Club) family had a wild bachelor party with Vicky until 4am. At 4am, Chitra woke up and after a quiet Pooja waited eagerly for Vicky to arrive.
An inebriated bridegroom’s party with a severely hungover groom arrived and it seemed the entire MMSC was there to witness this wedding. Ravi Mammem of MRF (Madras Rubber Factory), V. Chidambaram, K.V. Srinivasan and Muthukrishnan, The Patels, Madhavans, Prabhakars, Bhatias, Pramod Chandhok – the list was endless. Chitra realised a great truth – she was not marrying just Vicky – she was married to the MMSC for life.

The only comment from most of the guests – “Poor Vicky, he is missing the Karnataka Rally and his anniversary will be during the K 1000 Rally every year!!” A few kind souls said “don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.” Get used to what? Chitra was thinking. Very soon Vicky has prepared a schedule for the next 10 years of their married life. The honeymoon was spent purchasing motor parts and an F2 Car in Scotland. The first child had to be conceived between 2 rallies in 83 and delivered just before the All India Race meet in 1984. All future birthdays, anniversaries, operations, illnesses must be timed to perfection, preferably on a calendar of motor sports events. The second child had to be born between the Monsoons in November and the New year of 1988.

Chitra using her MBA training prepared a project report and future forecast for Chandhok Family Inc. Vicky and Chitra met all the deadlines and Karun was born in January 84 and Suhail in December 87 exactly when Vicky had circled the dates on the calendar (at 5:56am and 11:05am respectively in Rally Time).

Finally Chitra reached her limit and decided to complain to her in-laws Indu and Indra. “I am tired of adjusting my whole life to Vicky’s race and rally schedules”, she complained. There was pin drop silence in the room. Indu and Indra looked shocked. Sacrilege!! In this house the Racing and Rallying Gods must never be insulted. Immediately they performed a HAVAN and cleaned the air of all non-motorsport energies. “Dear girl,” said Indu, “both of us have spent our lives racing and Indra has won many ladies races herself. My wife has never complained and she is the ideal Race Car driver’s wife, so you must please learn from her!”

Well, next Chitra turned to Vicky’s sister Archana for some support. All in vain! Archana, who had idolised the Maharaj Kumar of Gondol as a child was determined to be a race and rally driver herself. From her teens till today she continues winning rallies and races. In fact in Motor Racing circles she is known as Vicky without a beard!

Vicky and Chitra’s son Karun was born with the blessings of all the Motor Sports Gods in Heaven. His first word was “Car, Car”, much to the disappointment of Chitra who has been training him to say “mama, mama!” for weeks. “Car, Car!” said baby Karun and Indu, Indra, Vicky, Vibu and Archana clapped with glee. The smell of petrol and the sounds of Formula cars made baby Karun smile happily.

Three generations of the Chandhok family. Image courtesy of Indian Cars Bikes
His baby ayah was trained to recognise Senna, Prost, Mansell, McLaren and Williams. If the ayah did not watch Grand Prix videos with Karun 200 times a day, she was considered incompetent and a new baby ayah who was more motorsport friendly was immediately recruited. Karun’s diapers and feeds were timed with a stopwatch. When Vicky travelled on races and rallies, Karun, Chitra, the ayah and a van full of baby things followed. Race ear plugs were put into Karun’s ears as he stood next to the Formula Cars with Kari uncle and his father. Karivardhan uncle taught him the sounds of gears being changed at each corner of the track and Sathi uncle and the mechanics made sure Karun played with every single part.

Chitra was thinking, she was trapped in another planet. “Oh god”, she prayed, “I hope my next child is not blessed by the Gods of Motor Sports!” Then came along Suhail with his own destiny – he had been blessed by the Gods of cricket. Everything in the house became a bat and a ball and of course his first words were “ball, ball!”. The cook, watchman, and household staff were never available as they were all part of Suhail’s cricket team. If a staff member could not play cricket they would not be employed.

Next, Vicky began training his family. Everything was timed with a stopwatch, the meals, the hours of sleep, the time in toilet! When he came home from work his staff were trained to bring chilled bottles of Kingfisher “diesel” at 18:52 exactly. The beds were shaped like cars and tables made with wheels and the food had to be served on steering wheels. Meanwhile Chitra after tripping over tyres, steering wheels and cricket bats would run for cover into her Pooja room. Maybe the chanting of mantras would drown out the sound of the F1 cars. Occasionally she peeped out of the Pooja room to check if the diesel was flowing and the children had made their pit stops.

“What about the children’s education?” said Chitra rather timidly one day. “No problem darling”, said Vicky. He educated the boys to sit patiently for millions of kilometeres in a car, to hold onto their bladders until the exact time of the pit stop and to never check the speedometer. Every TV show, newspaper and magazine article on motorsports and cricket were studied and Vicky swore the boys passed their exams with flying colours.

“What is 2 + 2, Suhail?” asked Chitra. “No problem, ma. 2 runs and 2 wides make four runs for India” answered Suhail confidently. “Karun have you finishe your homework in Maths?” asked Chitra. “No problem ma, I made out the navigation chart with time, speed and distance for the South India Rally this morning” said Karun. “Amazing!” thought Chitra, “these boys know much more than I do” and she relaxed and left their education in the hands of the Gods of Racing and Cricket.

PART 2 tomorrow night! :D
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Saturday, 14 May 2011

What we have in store...

The Mama Motorsport blog has been an idea that has been brewing in my head even before I was married with kids of my own. I was a member of AWMN and Racer Chicks, but they were communities for women doing their own racing thing. I was at the time, so it didn't bother me too much. But I felt there was more needs out there that weren't being met. My mum didn't have anyone to turn to when she had freak-outs about me racing, or crossing the globe by myself. I also didn't know where to turn when I was faced with people telling me that I shouldn't bother working in Motorsport because I wouldn't get anywhere!

So, these needs have fuelled the upcomming posts that I will be writting or editing... mostly editing I hope! I am always looking for contributors who are more experienced than I to comment. So the list below is also open to comment and contribution by anyone who feels up to it!
  • Raising Racer Boys (Go-karts to V8 supercars and even F1!!!)
  • Raising Racer Girls (Same deal...)
  • How to deal with kids missing school and where you draw the line
  • Working in retail and services for motorsport while juggling family life
  • Budgetting for Family racing
  • Washing your racer's gear and doing it without putting their life at risk or having to buy them a new suit!
  • Sewing Pattern for Baby race suits (Just because I am also that way inclined!)
  • Guest spots by Racer's Mums detailing what it was like being their mums
  • Caring for a partner who is a racer
  • Caring for a partner who is a support person
  • How to be a Sports Psychologist 101
  • How to Juggle everything and not have a nervous breakdown, loose your house or your family
  • How to take babies to the track (Breastfeeding, solids feeding, naptime, etc)
  • How to turn your one-track mind racer man into the best birth support person
  • Fundraising and Charity
  • Administration and your approach to it
  • Rural racing
  • How to Travel with kids
  • How to stay organised at home and getting ready to go away
  • Kids of famous parents and how to grow them
  • How to relax on weekends off and encourage that!
  • How to diversify your kid's experiences and cultivate external interests
  • How to survive when you're married to the mob (ie; racing!)
  • Sponsorship 101
  • How to coach your driver 101
  • Driver training, when your racer learned on the track and tries to take that to the road
  • What women want - how the chick racers really want to be treated!
  • Juggling the wants and needs of our racers with our own desires to race
  • The greatest gift to our kids is...
  • Juggling more than 1 kid in the same sport
  • The psychology of a solo sports person
  • When things don't go to plan...
  • Supporting your children in moving internationally, with or without you
  • Life outside the spotlight, when Sunday is over for the rest of your life...
  • Managing the "retired" racer
  • How to make your child an F1 star... or is it how they make themselves one? Or how NOT to make an F1 star?
  • How life goes on even after they have put their car/motorbike/buggy upside down on their head...
  • Why Go-Karts isn't the only way to let your kids get into Motorsport
  • Dealing with disapointment, our own, our partner's and our kid's
  • Hand Eye co-ordination, the truth and the advantages
  • Depth perception, the truth and the advantages
  • CAMS and the female racer...
  • Where are they now? A look at Women in Motorsport through the ages
  • Age appropriate attitude adjustments for our racers (From the littelest midget to the biggest goof-ball!)
  • To Push or not to Push?
  • What is pushing in it's other forms?
  • On track and off Track behaviour and how to deal with them and their effect on each other
  • Does being grounded include not racing too?
And that is just to name a few!
So as you can see, there is PLEANTY of fodder for the fire! I also look forward to getting some suggestions from all of you too! :D Should make for some interesting reading!
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About Motorsport Mama

Hi there - I am Kirsty, AKA "Motorsport Mama". 

I am a mum to Ayrton (Named for some obvious reasons, some not so
obvious...) and twin girls Asher and Emersea (named after Emerson Fittipaldi).
I am wife to Spud who is a race driver and race and rally mechanic.
I myself have worked as a driver, mechanic and race engineer in
Australia and overseas.

This is us when our little guy was just 2 weeks old!

This is us with a 3 year old Ayrton and 2 week old twin girls! 

Before I got shacked-up and knocked-up I was all about getting ahead
in motorsport and doing whatever I could to be in it (You can read about those exploits in my old blog "The Hundred Mile an hour Tape" ) . Then I met Spud and my roles shifted gears so to speak. It became less about me and
more about him and I moved more into a pure crew chief and sports
psychologist sort of job.

I have spent the last few years since having kids working on my business, blogging, working for a volunteer organisation and getting all these little people ready for the big wide world! There has been some motorsport thrown in there too, but with 1 income and so many children, it is not suprising that it hasn't been as much as we've wanted!

I started Motorsport Mama out of an interest for raising kids in this
sort of community, raising kids who themselves are racing and
supporting partners whilst they or I was racing or working in it...
We're a bit of a unique bunch and while I looked, I never found
something exactlly like this.

As it is a reality for us that our kids are going to grow up in this
sport, I wanted to be able to learn from other mums and women. I had
eavesdropped or been a part of a few conversations around Go-karts and
stuff like that which raised questions like "How does my kid explain
to his classmates that he is away 1 Friday out of every month because
of Go-karts?" and I wanted to be able to find answers to those sort of
things! So here I am...

Welcome to anyone else who is on the same path. I look forward to
learning from you and sharing! :D

My Race Resume
Lasts and Lasts Motorsport Team Owner
-Raced in 2004, 2005 and 2006 NSW State Championship in Formula Vee

-Class Winner in 2006 Nurburgring 3.5hr endurance race on Nordeshlief

-Represented Australia in German 40th Anniversary Formula Vee race of nations

My Engineering Resume
-Manufacturing Manager and Suspension Team for University of Wollongong Formula SAE Team - Australasian Championship winning Team 2004

-A1GP Team Australia Junior Race Engineer 2005/6 Season from NSW Women in Motorsport scholarship

-2007-2008 Engineer at Kinetic Suspension Technologies

-2009 Go-Kart Team Race Engineer

-2010/11 Curtin University Formula SAE Team Guest Lecturer

Husband: Spud - AKA: Mr Motorsport Mama

Recognise him? I wouldn't be suprised if you did! Spud has been around Motorsport since before birth (Most old racers would have known his mum Lesley too!). Through working with WA Motorsport and Dunlop Motorsport since a very very little kid, he grew up with tyre smoke in his lungs and grease under his fingernails...

After being Sprint Series State champion, he went on to Go-Karting, Motorkhana and working as a Race and Rally mechanic. He has worked in Tarmac and Gravel Rally as well as Japanese GT.

We met at Kinetic where he was working as one of their lead technicians. His job required him to test cars for a living... what a hard life, right!?

Now he is playing house with us, trying to get out and Go-kart, Race, and Crew Chief here in Perth and WA and anything else he can do... I love him! He is just plain GREAT! :D

So occasionally you'll hear from me... or him... or one of our many guest posters! :D

If there is something that you would like to read about or a question you'd like to ask, why not drop us an email?! Hit the "CONTACT" button at the top of the page!

Thanks for coming by! :D
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