CLARKE RIDING ON CREST OF A WAVE AS HE SURFS IN TO SILVERSTONE
Fistral Beach Newquay, 4 August 2005: British F3 Championship driver Dan Clarke took time out from testing this week to head down to Newquay's world famous Fistral Beach for the Rip Curl Boardmasters event -- the highlight of the UK surfing calendar. A five week break in the British F3 calendar provided "Speedy" Dan Clarke with an ideal opportunity to swap his race overalls and F3 car for a wetsuit and board as he hooked up with some of the biggest names in surfing on the sunny beaches of North Cornwall.
Clarke -- recently tipped by ITV's F1 team as a British driver with the potential to make it all the way to F1 -- is a huge fan of surfing and jumped at the chance to ride a few waves and pick up some tips from a number of Britain's top surfers. Josh Lewan, Micah Lester and Johnny Fryer were all competing over the weekend, but enjoyed taking time out to chat with Clarke about both the surfing, and his next round of the F3 Championship at Silverstone on 14th August.
"It was great to be there to soak up the atmosphere and talk to the surfers", commented Clarke. "When it comes to surfing there is a real party feel to the event, more so than in F3 -- it would be nice to take some of that back to motor racing. "There are actually quite a few similarities between surfing and racing -- with racing you learn the track and in surfing you learn to read the waves. However, for surfers waves change everyday depending on sandbanks and underwater currents. The girls working with the surfers are better looking than the guys I have to work with too. I'd never want to be anything other than a racing driver, but I do love surfing -- what a lifestyle!"
The F3 driver come surfer continued, "I've been surfing a few times, but it's really difficult. Anyone could get in an F3 car and get it moving, but with surfing you can't just jump on a board, it takes both physical effort and skill - knowing the nature of the waves, and progressing through the boards. The main attraction for me is reading the waves, as well as getting close to nature -- although maybe not so close to the jellyfish!"
Clarke even managed to persuade his Raikkonen Robertson Racing team mate Bruno Senna to join him for a bit of sun, sand and surf in Newquay. The Brazilian, who had never been surfing before, proved a natural and is looking forward to picking up a board when the opportunity next arises in Brazil. Dan returns to the day job next weekend at Silverstone for round eight of the British F3 Championship. F