It's December now, and another year of commentary work has been and gone in the blink of an eye - "full year number three" was definitely the quickest. Wow.
The main differences between 2023 and last season have come about because of a major change in personal circumstances. My partner and I went our separate ways, and part-way through the year I was made aware that I'd need to find somewhere else to live. Doesn't sound so strong, eh?
I did a lot less motorsport commentary in 2023, covering just 13 race events as opposed to the 23 I did in 2022. However, away from this my versatility has paid off and I've now got permanent work video editing - as Lead Video Producer for GTPlanet - and managing social media output - as Social Media Manager for Simply Race! On top of this, I've done a lot of voice-over work and continued to work on my own YouTube Channel, which took off at the end of 2022 thanks to the air traffic control simulator, Tower Simulator 3.
There was no Clio Cup Europe for me this year - I decided to turn down the opportunity after struggling financially last year and causing headaches for others off the back of it, however I do hope to return to the paddock in future as it's a very enjoyable series to cover, especially now that said financial situation has changed.
It was my third season with the Goodyear FIA European Truck Racing Championship, and there were more fantastic, enjoyable and heart-warming moments than I could possibly write. The whole season was a joy, and attending some of the rounds in person is always good fun. Everyone from the drivers and teams, down to organisers and TV company are just fantastic. The reception I get every time I saunter into the paddock brings a (happy) tear to my eye. It's real life-long dream stuff.
A new string to my bow this year has been presenting - I love the idea of being on-stage or in front of a camera, presenting coverage of a motorsport-based event, and thanks to Reis Race Retro in February, and then the UK Legends Cars Championship throughout the year, I've been able to do both in front of a vast audience. Interviewing and spending a couple of days with the likes of Jason Plato and Mike Brewer as part of Race Retro was a real highlight, and the entire Legends paddock have welcomed me with open arms from the very first moments at Cadwell in April.
I only covered a handful of "PA Commentary Days" at UK circuits, starting at Brands Hatch in April, for the BARC's season opener, which included the British Truck Racing Championship, with a few visits to Whilton Mill thrown in, working with the awesome Alpha Live. I was at Donington Park twice throughout the year, commentating for the British Racing Greats charity event, thanks to recommendation from Chris Dawes, and returned in October for the Classic Touring Car Racing Club Season Finale.
Covering UK club motorsport is always great fun, and I've shared comms boxes all over the country with some brilliant people. Again, hoping for more of the same in 2024.
I even re-kindled my love of Speedway again in the later stages of the year, after heading down to South Wales to commentate on my first ever motorbike event - the Dirt Track Racers Association's race meeting at Amman Valley Trotting Club. Those lunatics were great fun, with over 100 races in two days, up to 15 bikes at once, on dirt ovals. There's only a couple of similarities to Speedway, but both are very exciting.
In the meantime, Speedway has been added to the list of things I'd thoroughly love to commentate on, during my time in the sport.
While all of this has been going on, I've of coursed continued to broadcast and commentate sim racing events, whether it be the ones I run under my own banner, with Sim Racing Magazine or on behalf of others. Sim racing is the perfect tool to keep yourself sharp as a commentator, I find, as the cameras have the ability to be in all places at all times with no logistical limitations. There's not really any excuse to miss any of the action.
My planned work season is officially over as of the BARC / British Truck Racing Championship finale at Brands Hatch, where I was the presenter and interviewer for the Legends Cars Championship, with Digitex (thanks to Barry for bringing me on board this year!)
I have to give a big thanks to Jordan Greer of GTPlanet and Mike Yau at Simply Race in particular for this year, who heard my cry for help after my drastic change in circumstances and made use of my skills, which in turn brought in money for me to continue to live. I probably wouldn't have been able to make it through the year without them.
I know there's one big overriding question in your head while you read this - "when did I ask?" and I totally understand, because you didn't. What you'll often find is that us commentators love to tell everyone what we're doing without being asked...
I usually do an end-of-season recap though, so here we are, and I appreciate those of you that have read up to this point.
Of course, I now look to 2024 and try to fill my calendar with opportunities. Hopefully with the help of the awesome LoudSpeaker Agency and my epic network of friends and colleagues in the industry, it'll be another busy and successful year. Only one way to find out I guess.
If you would like to try and book me for commentary or presenting work, please contact Gemma at LoudSpeaker via email@example.com
Thanks as always to everyone who supports me in what I do, whether you're friends, family, colleagues or as most usually are, a mix of at least two. I've yet again made some friends for life throughout the season and look forward to hopefully expanding my horizons even further.
See you next year everyone.