Lockdowns are incredibly taxing.
Being forced to stay home and work, study or become impromptu teachers can be mentally straining and physically exhausting.
For some of New Zealand’s promising junior motorsport talents, lockdowns are precisely not what they need to get in the way of their aspiring careers.
Race tracks around the country are either closed or operating at less than total capacity.
And race meetings have been in a similar boat, especially for the upper North Island, for about forever.
Lockdowns have essentially cut off or drastically restricted on-track test time for drivers.
But for our ingenious young stars, the ones who dream to make a career out of the sport, they’ve resorted to at-home methods of staying match fit during these bizarre times.
Hugo Allan: Toyota 86
Allan’s preparation for his first Toyota 86 season revolves around traditional cardio exercises and the modern virtual world. Plus that all-important strategy conditioning.
“I’ve been doing heaps of sim-racing in a competitive series throughout the Asia-Pacific. But I’ve also been able to kick the football around a bit.
“I’ve been doing a bit of running in the hottest times of the day to prepare for the heat in the 86s, especially in the summer rounds.
“And for a bit of balance and strategical thinking, I like to think, I’ve been playing a lot of FIFA.”
Rianna O’Meara-Hunt: Toyota 86
O’Meara-Hunt is passionate about her off-track fitness. She’s also an avid karter and has been staying race-ready with some test days.
“During lockdown, I’ve been training with my personal trainer in the gym and then doing runs to keep my cardio fitness up too.
“I’ve also had a few test days at the kart track to try to keep my eye in before the season starts.”
Kyan Davie: Formula Ford
Davie is another daily runner, which easily seems to be the exercise of choice, just as long as it’s within each’s own neighbourhood.
“Since gyms have been closed, I’ve been sticking to running each day, trying to get fitter and lighter for this season.
“I’ve also done a little bit of sim work to keep the mind and concentration up to scratch. I’m just dying to get back racing and hopefully it’s soon.”
Matthew McCutcheon: Toyota 86
Sim-racing has exploded in popularity recently.
It’s no longer as much as a time-killer video game as it is now a professional training tool.
For McCutcheon, lockdown has afforded him time to learn some circuits he hasn’t raced at before.
“Being my first year in tin tops, having the opportunity to spend a lot of time on the simulator has helped me further prepare myself from transiting from open-wheelers to tin tops.
“This year, I’ll be racing at Highlands Motorsport Park, where I haven’t had the opportunity to race at before, so being able to spend time on the simulator and learn the track has been a big help.
“Further working on my fitness to prepare myself for this season of racing. The Elite Motorsport Academy this year has helped me develop my training to be in the best position to have a good season this year in the 86.”
Zac Stichbury: Toyota 86
Stichbury is so busy getting in some additional training he didn’t want to reveal too many secrets.
“Just a lot of fitness and gym work. [I’m] out at the kart track where I can keep in the seat, which has been good.”
Flynn Mullany: Formula Ford
Mullany has learnt a lot about himself over lockdown, and the last few weeks, he has been on the grind to be at his best for when racing kicks off again.
“I’ve been training every day in-between university assessments. I’ve lost four kilograms during lockdown, which I am really happy about.
“I’m going to be keeping that grind on and keep pushing my hardest.
“The biggest thing that’s helped me has been the Academy. I’ve talked to them all the time over lockdown and they’ve helped put me on a therapist, a nutritionist and some performance staff.”
Main Image: MRP Sim Racing