The 163mph pensioner
A pensioner has proved she is not ready to slow down after hitting speeds of 163mph on a superbike – despite never even having ridden a motorbike before.
Vanessa Forsdicke, 63, fulfilled a major ambition when she was blasted round the track at Silverstone by British Grand Prix motorbike legend Ron Haslam, who operates a racing school from the circuit.
The mother-of-two from Thorpe Marriott, who had never even sat on a bike until last month, was treated to six sizzling laps of the international track by the three-time world champion and loved every minute of it.
She said: 'Although I've watched many MotoGP and superbike races, until I had been around the track I could not imagine the speeds and leans that go into it. I am so proud of myself and now feel capable of anything. It was a dream come true – I'm still on a high now. It was fantastic.'
Mrs Forsdicke, who used to work at Loose's in Magdalen Street and Debenhams in Orford Place and is now a carer for her 90-year-old mother, only got into motorbike racing six years ago by chance. She said: 'My son, who likes bikes, went round the world and so I used to email him MotoGP results because I didn't know if he would get them.
'I just wanted to know who won, then I would watch the last lap, then I got to know the riders and who I liked and now I'm a huge fan. It just takes up all my time.'
Mrs Forsdicke, who moved to Norwich from London in 1994, avidly watches the races on TV and has been to Silverstone to watch races before and hopes to return there next year.
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She said: 'I will definitely go and be able to say I did 163mph going round Silverstone.'
Mrs Forsdicke, whose favourite rider is Daniel Pedrosa, won the ride after entering a competition run by Stannah. The company, synonymous with stair lifts, wanted to show older people that it was never too late to realise their dreams and so launched the Stannah Think Again Fund in 2007.
A spokesman for Stannah said: 'We're so pleased that the Think Again Fund has allowed Vanessa to build on her passion for MotoGP and experience first hand the thrill of riding around a race track.
'The Think Again Fund really is special in that it gives winners the chance to explore their sense of adventure, creating a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience for each winner.'
Have you been given the chance to realise a dream? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.