Bluelite Race to Support SIS Motorsport
Bluelite are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of vehicle livery to the emergency services and are no strangers to helping local companies to completely transform vehicles for various events around the country.
As well as offering their services on a commercial basis however, Bluelite have always gone the extra mile to help the local community. In May 2010 they were approached by a racing driver called Simon Andrews, his recent history of courage and inspiration led Bluelite to becoming one of his official race sponsors.
Simon has been interested in racing since the age of 12 when he used to watch his dad repair rally cars. By age 20 Simon had not yet fulfilled his dream to race when he was suddenly involved in a serious road traffic accident when the chain on his push-bike snapped and he was thrown into a collision with an articulated truck. Simon was lucky to survive the accident and was paralysed from the waist down with damage to the nerves in his right arm and a ruptured Axillary artery.
Simon was admitted to the Royal Surrey Hospital before being moved to St Georges in Tooting and then starting his courageous battle to recovery in the Stanmore Spinal Unit & Haslemere Hospital. Whilst his home was being prepared for wheelchair access Simon focused on his recovery as he explains: “In the beginning I couldn't feed myself and I fought to do things myself to be independent, if you rely completely on carers to get you out of bed and they don't turn up, your stuck. The less you rely on others the less can go wrong.”
After two years in hospital Simon dedicated himself to physio working with Richard, Oksana & Jake at the Valentin Dikul centre in Romford as Simon explains: “We used a variety of exercises from muscle memory repetitive movements to walking on the tread mill in a harness.”
Simons brave rehabilitation did not go unnoticed, in June 2002 Chichester District Council learnt of Simons dedication and he was nominated for the Citizen of Courage award which he went on to win for getting on with life & inspiring others.
Back at home Simon was then getting himself interested once more in racing. He would frequently join his good friend John who raced Caterhams and ride as a passenger, however Simon soon realised he wanted to be racing himself and was soon researching exactly what he needed to do to get behind the wheel.
Being a VW fan Simon looked into kitting out a Mk 3 Golf VR6, however the standard automatic gearbox did not offer full control and so Simon turned to Sam Roach at Volkswagon Racing. Sam was already building a VW Golf with a DSG gearbox, an automatic with the characteristics of a manual. Simon met up with Sam and after a passenger ride around Donnington race track he secured the order to build a VW Golf customised to overcome his disabilities.
In the coming months Simon had to work extremely hard to convince the Motor Sport Association that he was safe to race, completing tests such as being able to safely exit his car in under 10 seconds. After some minor changes to his car and practise, Simon passed and taking into account he had no previous race experience his medical advised that he started in sprinting events. Sprinting allowed Simon to compete against the clock to gain experience before taking on the challenge of racing against other cars.
In 2009 Simon started his racing career in the sprint series and explained “I've competed in 9 events across the south of England with some respectable results especially in the wet at Lydden Hill, winning my class & 6th fastest overall out of 54, mixing it with the single seaters.”
The clerks at the circuits soon compiled a safety report and sent this to the Motor Sport Association and after working with them for four years Simon finally realised his dream and was issued with his National B Race Licence.
Excited about the prospect of racing Simon turned his attention to ensuring his car stood out on the track. In May 2010 while searching Google he came across Bluelite Graphics, specialists in Vehicle Livery and contacted them.
Lorraine Avery took the call and was immediately impressed with what Simon had already achieved. “So many people add designs to cars for gimmicks these days. Simon has had to overcome so many hurdles to become a racing car driver and we were more than happy to get involved”
The first job was coming up with a design for Simons car as Lorraine recalls “We came up with the idea of using the police principle as this is very high visibility and also draws on our experience, Simon was very happy with this idea and then added his own feedback to the design.”
Lorraine’s production team soon had the design finalised and got to work placing it onto Simon’s race car. After being presented with the car Simon said “I'm really excited about my first season in the VW championship in the Polizei Golf, the Police car idea was great because I’ll be at the back of the grid chasing the bad guys in front!”
Bluelite have agreed to continue to support Simon into the future with any replacement graphical elements needed to his car for which Simon is extremely grateful.