Further Things That Are Wrong


#961

They’re just a way for lads with big egos to leave the forum with a few nice comments from simpletons until they return a while later


#962

It’s like a fight ina match on tv, commentators saying nobody likes to see it but everybody is moving closer to the box, that thread will keep the place ticking along on a boring Monday night


#963

To an 8 year old: “So, Santa coming in a week’s time. What’s he bringing you?”

8 year old … deadpan: “I don’t believe in the tooth fairy”


#964

“nothing then, you little prick”


#965

Yeah, but I was too gobsmacked to say anything. Children don’t have a childhood anymore.


#966

My lass is ten and still believes. My lad is thirteen and still isn’t 100% certain. Well I haven’t asked him anyhow.


#967

I could sorta half understand if it was an urban context but this is a very rural area where I deluded myself that innocence persisted. Still quite emptied by it actually and apparently her classmates are the same.


#968

There’s no fun in that :frowning:


#969

I’m consoling myself with a large glass of Hennesey. No doubt I’ll get over it :slight_smile:


#970

Sophia Floersch: I let go of the wheel, braced and waited for the wall to come

Sophia Floersch crashed at 171mph last month but is already planning her return to the track, Rick Broadbent writes

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Rick Broadbent

December 18 2018, 12:00am, The Times

Floersch was in surgery for 11 hours after the crash

Floersch was in surgery for 11 hours after the crashTIMES PHOTOGRAPHER MARC ASPLAND

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Everything looks normal in Café Brenner next to Munich’s Opera House where a father and daughter are having an early lunch surrounded by the chic shopping crowd. They talk of snow and Christmas songs, but look closely and you see signs that they are different. She wears a scarf decorated with skulls that masks a large bandage on her neck. A happy screensaver on his phone hides the x-ray photos. They know they are lucky to be here.

It has been a remarkable month. On December 1 Sophia Floersch turned 18. On November 18 she became a cause célèbre when her Formula Three racing car left the circuit during the Macau Grand Prix and flew above barriers and towards the Lisboa corner before hitting the catch fencing and a photographers’ bunker like a mortar strike. She became a YouTube sensation, the girl who flew backwards at 171mph into a safety net and lived to have her lunch. Now, speaking at length for the first time since, she says she wants to be back in her car in two months.

This was a motorsport crash so fast and violent that it pandered to the more grotesque side of voyeurism. At home in Grunwald, Susanne Floersch was watching her daughter race. The live feed did not show what had happened but she knew Sophia had stopped. Sophia’s sister, Laetizia, 13, was instantly searching YouTube and found a heart-stopping clip. Not long afterwards Susanne sent her husband, Alexander, a text. “Is she alive?”

Sophia did not have time to be afraid. “I remember wanting to go for the move but he [Jehan Daruvala] suddenly slowed down. I lost my two left-side wheels and from that moment you have no control.” She hit the raised sausage kerb and clipped another car, belonging to Sho Tsuboi, and was catapulted into the air. “You do what you are told then — take your hands off the steering wheel, brace and wait for what is going to happen. The flying stuff felt very different. Strange. You don’t think, ‘Oh shit, I’m 270 [km/h] now.’ You just wait for the wall to come, but I was going backwards so did not see anything.” One photographer suffered a lacerated liver; a marshal had a broken jaw. They had all survived — but what of the woman at the epicentre?

“In the first moment, I did not feel pain because the fire extinguisher had gone off,” Sophia says. “It was in my eyes and mouth and my first thought was to get that off. That’s when I thought, ‘I can move my hands.’ Then the pain kicked in, mainly my upper body and back. My legs had hit the cockpit and I had some bruises. I moved them and thought, ‘OK.’ ” She did not know that she had a broken spine and a bone splinter that was millimetres away from damaging her spinal cord.

For her father, the doubt was still spiralling. He had been watching the race in the box of his daughter’s team, Van Amersfoort racing. “After a few seconds the live stream showed Sophia’s car behind the wall and I thought, ‘Why?,’ ” he says. “The team tried to get her on the radio but Sophia did not answer. Then the team manager said, ‘Let’s go up to race control,’ but on the way up I saw two women coming out crying. There was some security and we could not find out what had happened so we went back to the box. Her race engineer was watching something on his mobile and crying too. When he saw me he threw his mobile away. That was when I got the text from my wife asking if Sophia was alive.

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Floersch crashes in Macau

“Nobody was really talking. I was trying to piece it together. It seemed so unreal. Then after ten minutes a guy from the FIA came out and said ‘Everyone is alive and Sophia is in the hospital.’ ”

Sophia and her seat were lifted out of the wreckage and she was put on a metal stretcher. A head brace was fitted. Initially, she was denied painkillers because the doctors needed to know what she could feel and what she could not. “It’s difficult to say how bad it was because I’ve never broken any bones,” she says. On several occasions during our discussion her father’s eyes well up, but she smiles at her fortune. “But it was proper bad,” she says, “and I don’t want it to happen again.”

Sophia was given her mobile phone at 9.30pm on the day of the crash. “I wanted to text Mum.” She still had not seen the crash and could not understand why she had 120,000 new Instagram followers.

They decided to operate the next day but the language barrier made it hard to understand the difference between risk and anticipated outcome. Alexander had not told Sophia that one tiny movement in the bone could lead to paralysis. It was a motorsport parent’s nightmare, knowing the suspended fears that are vital to backing a child’s dangerous dreams had frayed and fallen. On the Sunday evening Alexander was told the surgery would take between two and four hours. In the end it took 11 hours with two more for Sophia to wake up. “After six hours I was nervous,” Alexander says. “I was not allowed into the surgery. I saw five or six people come in and go out.”

The surgeons entered via the front of her neck. “My C7 [in the neck] was completely smashed,” Sophia says. “It was broken in the front not the back. The T3 [in the upper back] is still broken but they said my ribs protected it. They took bone from my hip to create a new one. I’ve got a titanium plate to help connect it.”

The surgery was a success and Sophia breathed a huge sigh of gratitude when told the others had all survived. The painkillers made Sophia vomit and she was unable to move for five days, five kilograms of muscle dropping off during her bed-ridden ordeal. She struggled with Chinese TV and the pain from her hip was excruciating. Then, on the Friday, the doctor showed her the crash. “I was shocked because the video is horrible,” she says. “In the car it felt different. If I watch it now it does not feel like me crashing. I watch it and think, ‘This guy is not going to survive.’ ” Sophia’s paternal grandmother died when she was overseas at a karting race in Italy. “We explained she is watching every race from heaven and taking care of her during every race,” Alexander says. Sophia believes that too. “It was my grandma watching from the sky. She was protecting me. Of course you start thinking about fate and things, but I never thought about not racing. I was always clear that I would be back in the car. The crash was one of the worst of recent years but I survived. As a racing driver you know the risk. It proves the car is really safe. It’s my life.”

Casual sceptics may wonder about teenagers racing so fast, but safety is paramount and these are skilled, if young, practitioners. No blame has been apportioned after what happened; it was just one of the sport’s dalliances with the dark.

On Sunday, Billy Monger received the Helen Rollason award at BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The 19-year-old had both legs amputated after a crash during a British Formula Four race in 2017 but was back racing within a year. Sophia knows Billy well, having raced against him in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2015 when both secured two wins, and now from exchanging post-crash encouragement. “I was testing in Germany when it happened to him and a guy told me the injuries before everyone else knew,” she says.

Floersch’s vertebrae after surgery. She had a bone fragment millimetres from her spinal cord

“I could not concentrate all afternoon. The whole family are crazy-nice people. No-one deserves that but not him for sure. How he took the injury and the change it made to his life is outstanding. He is a legend for being so positive. He knows he can’t change it and has to deal with it. It’s a reason why I want to be back in the car so quickly because he did it in a few months.”

The Floersch family run a real estate business but are not among motorsport’s moneyed arrivistes. Alexander had been a karter but stopped before his children were born. He took his daughter skiing and the trainer told them that motocross was the best thing for learning to balance, but she fell from that bike and hurt her arm, whereupon Alexander remembers saying that they could go karting. “I said, ‘Four wheels, you can’t fall down, it’s not so dangerous.’ ”

The first time she sat in a kart at the age of four she began crying because it was so loud, but she would stick with it for nine years. The gender barrier needed perennial scaling even in those early days, and some rivals would stop or even crash into her if they were being beaten. She graduated to the Ginetta Series and then had two years in Formula Four, in Germany and Italy, before the big break came when she joined the FIA Formula Three European Championship this season.

Starting the season late because of school exams, she was in the points at the Red Bull Ring in Austria while Mick Schumacher, the son of Michael, took the title. “I never forget karting with Mick in Italy,” she says. “Michael was waiting for me outside parc fermè. He hugged me and said, ‘Good job.’ ” Talk of Schumacher Sr brings us back to the whims of fate, how he competed so brilliantly for so long and then suffered his accident while skiing with his son.

The place of women in motorsport remains a thorny issue. Jamie Chadwick, the 20-year-old from Bath, became the first woman to win a British Formula Three race in August. Susie Wolff showed obvious talent during her time in Formula One, as a test driver for Williams, but you have to go back to Lella Lombardi to find someone who competed in an actual Formula One race; when she was sixth in Spain in 1975 a prospective watershed moment started a drought. Meanwhile, grid girls have been ditched and a “W Series” is being launched next year with the express aim of breaking glass ceilings. Backed by a $1.5 million (about £1.2 million) prize fund and Formula One luminaries such as David Coulthard, it has failed to impress Floersch.

“It’s cool someone thinks women need support and motorsport needs women, but I think this is the wrong approach,” she says. “At some stage you have to compete against the best and at the moment the best are men, sadly. Even if you win this series no male driver is going to respect you. This is the age of #MeToo and everyone wanting equality, so I don’t think it’s right to do something like this.”

She sees both sides of the grid girl debate, saying it is nice that they have been replaced by grid kids, as that gives two sexes a chance to taste the glamour, but says: “Those women don’t do it because they have to. They do it because they want to.”

On her Twitter page Floersch says she races against the clock and men, but she does not want to stand out merely for looking different. “You need to be tough because it is still a man’s world,” she says. “I’m the only women in the series but it is not enough to be the only woman.

“It’s like with Billy, I guess. He’s more famous because of his crash but if he gets the chance to be a pro racer he will be a real hero for all sorts of kids. He has a different story to tell. I hope I do too, not because of the crash but to show girls they can dare to be different. They can drive against boys or work in any man’s world.”

The post-surgery drugs affected her inner ear and if she tilted her head slightly her brain would go “completely crazy”. She saw pink elephants. Almost instantly, when the drugs faded to coherent thought, she knew she wanted to race again. “I was always clear that I would be back as soon as possible.

“I don’t know if it’s made me stronger. I was just bored. On the Friday I could walk five metres. I was allowed to get some fresh air on the first floor of the hospital, but fresh air in Macau is not great. I was like, ‘Oh shit.’ ”

The messages bridged all areas of her life — family, friends, former teachers, Formula One drivers such as Fernando Alonso and Nico Hülkenberg. On the way back to Munich she met Daniel Ricciardo who was on a stopover after competing in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. “He said, ‘You were the No 1 topic in Abu Dhabi.’ ” The driver she most admires is Lewis Hamilton for his “cool” and “focus”.

In Café Brenner nobody would look at this healthy teenager tucking into her eggs and imagine the trauma of the past month. She is getting back, still taking painkillers, feeling her hip when she had to run across the street to avoid an oncoming car. She tries to sleep a lot because her body craves it and has an electro-magnetic pillow to help the healing. “And that’s my life,” she says with a smile, but there are bigger goals.

She wants to get in the car by the end of February or beginning of March and the dream is still to make it in Formula One. Perhaps unfairly, I ask Alexander how he and his wife feel about her comeback. “How can we not support her?” he says.

Temporarily sidelined and reclaimed for the ordinary, she meets a friend and they hug and talk like regular lunchers. She knows she was fortunate and plans to use her luck. It is hard to think she will be a bored teenager for long.

Floersch’s car flies through the corner, facing the wrong way (1), crashes through the fence (2) and into a temporary trackside structure (3) before falling down on the other side of the barriers (4)


#971

What’s the problem kid?


#972

Linked to the original post Pops


#973

Neighbours who won’t clean up their rubbish. It’s not directly my problem but annoys me anyway. 2 doors down, there’s a group of lads living in a house with plastic papers and wrappers all over their front garden. It’s blowing out of their bin. Their back garden is a disgrace as well. God only know what they toilet bowl looks like.
As I’m not the nearest neighbour, I don’t want to be an annoying neighbour, but jesus, they pass in their rubbish and shit every day going in the door.
Is there any way I can be a right bollox and call the council on them?


#974

I can’t post in the Sport of Kings thread :persevere:


#975

I’d say you’d manage it alright


#976

if he is old enough to wank then he shouldn’t believe in santa


#977

Witnessed the nasty side of Christmas, some lad in the local, a wheezle type lad mid 40s giving his lady a bollocking over a taxi not showing up called her a cunt and more. I was putting on a few songs and chatting to her, think he got a bit jealous. I wanted to lamp him along with a few elder gentlemen. Domestic violence is alive and well around this time of year.


#978

Seedy stuff here from a forum favourite. The mask slips.


#979

What is a wheezle type lad?


#980

A nice impromptu picture in the indo of the female journalist who lost her job fairly and squarely. Her getting a pay off is absolutely outrageous.

The world is totally and utterly fucked.