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The waiting game

Lewis Hamilton's not the only Superman at Silverstone

Geoff Tipper's other medical job has taken him racing at Silverstone and allowed him to wear a Superman outfit. No wonder he recommends it to GPs looking for a high-octane sideline.

Geoff Tipper's other medical job has taken him racing at Silverstone and allowed him to wear a Superman outfit. No wonder he recommends it to GPs looking for a high-octane sideline.

I've just spent a merry old weekend at Silverstone.

The sun was shining and the smell of rubber and exhaust mixed with that irresistible smell of frying food.

As I strolled around in my Superman outfit I reflected on this last item: why is it that deep fried potatoes and something dead of dubious origins causes such an intense, biological response in me?

My highly scientific musings have led me to believe that stocking up on a deep fried cheese fritter would have given our ancestors enough fuel to sprint across the Serengeti.

Nothing like a bit of high octane cholesterol to help out run the tigers and those stripey things with horns whose name I can never remember.

Alternate theories on a post card care of Pulse Magazine please.

And why the Superman outfit? Well, I am one of the rare, highly-trained individuals who provide medical cover for motor racing. Part of the contract comes with a flameproof outfit in bright red.

The word "DOCTOR" is written across the back big enough to be read from space. This provision, however, does not prevent young boys routinely asking if I am a race car driver, what's it like, and how fast do I go? To which I kneel down and say with slow intensity:

"Very, very fast."

And funny enough, this last weekend it was true. There are occasional "chases" in which one of the fast-response vehicles (usually an underpowered estate and hence something of a contradiction in terms) will follow the cars out of the grid.

Said race cars disappear rapidly in a cloud of smoke leaving us to pull off safely at the first turn to adopt a position of readiness.

On this occasion, though, the sponsor of the event thought it would be highly effective to have a doctor in hot pursuit of the first two full laps.

They didn't count on this doctor being a little less than ready for high G force pursuit.

Nevertheless, I was kitted out with an extra-large helmet for my extra-large head, put into a powerful car with stripped down equipment in the back and a professional driver at the wheel. I managed to get over my nausea and thoughts of impending doom after the first few goes.

So, at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, anyone like me who thought that taking the local motorway at a bit above 70 is a fast, proper driver has NO IDEA.

So, why this lengthy digression away from GP? Well, I may have been exaggerating a bit about the "highly-trained" bit, but we are indeed relatively rare.

Testimony to this is the fact that another race circuit called me on the night before desperate for cover. It occurred to me that there may be a few of you out there who might be intrigued, even interested.

I initially got involved through a friend of a friend.

However, when I moved to another region I simply phoned the local circuit, found the coordinator, and pestered him until I got on their list. Sorry to be so vague but there are an awful lot of circuits around the country.

If you're interested it's worth your while giving one a ring.

Dr Geoff Tipper - recommends being a motor racing doctor to GPs looking for a high-octane sideline

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