Scholarships reignite motorsport passions among disabled drivers

Sunday 03 December 2023

Sunday 3 December is the International Day of Disabled Persons, a United Nations-sanctioned period to promote the rights and well-being of those with disabilities in all spheres of society.

As part of its commitment to make motorsport accessible to all, Motorsport UK has been partnering with Loughborough Car Club to provide two disabled drivers with fully-funded scholarships for a year of competitive action on four wheels in specially adapted road cars.

Back in April, a shortlisted group of 12 enthusiastic disabled drivers was selected to undertake a series of tests at Bicester Heritage with Chris Etches and Chris Neesam being awarded the two scholarships. Both had previous motorsport experience before suffering life-changing injuries in accidents, and both were super-keen to get back to competing once again.

They have performed outstandingly, too, contesting the club’s summer evening grass Autotests and finishing very respectably in the points. Neesam finished an impressive second, with Etches not far behind in sixth out of 15 in the class. The emphasis has now switched to winter asphalt events.

“I had raced motocross for 26 years until I got paralysed last year and I needed to do something to get back out and compete,” explained Neesam.

“After being fortunate enough to win the scholarship early this year I have taken part in the Autograss track events and have now continued on to the winter series on Tarmac. I’ve had a great season with some good results with a highlight of finishing as runner-up in the Autograss series.

“Being given this scholarship has opened up so many opportunities for me to gain more driving experience as a disabled driver and given me the confidence to get back out doing something that I enjoy… hopefully leading to more racing next year.”

There are lots of great opportunities not only for those wanting to discover the thrills and camaraderie of competition but also for newcomers wanting to experience the wonders of motorsport for the very first time. You can find out more here.