Timmy’s motoring to America

A ROOKIE NASCAR driver is set to benefit from the expertise of a local fitness instructor when he begins his campaign.

Rathfriland man Timmy Graham is moving to America to help the fortunes of Ally Jackson who, when he takes the wheel, will be the first Irish driver in the history of NASCAR.

The sport is one of the biggest in the United States, with crowds of up to 250,000 attending each race day.

And with cars reaching three G-forces and up to five on turns Ally is going to need all the help he can get.

“I’ll be responsible for his strength and conditioning because with all that G-force going against your body your muscles and joints take a battering when you’re behind the wheel,” said Timmy, a former footballer with Banbridge Town. “You need a good, strong neck as well, especially for turning left which is the direction the cars go.

“You’re also on track for three hours at a time so you need to be hydrated properly as you can lose up to a stone in body fluid so I’ll be working on hyperhydration to prevent that as well as Ally’s dietry needs.

“There’ll also be massages and post nutrition after the races too so there’s a lot more to it that the glamourous side of things.”

The move was a tough decision for Timmy, who is a manager at LA Fitness in Armagh.

“I had spent the last three years involved in Asian F3 helping out the drivers there with fitness, but when their move into F1 failed I ended up back home.

“But I managed to get myself a great job at LA Fitness; I really couldn’t go any higher in Northern Ireland in terms of career progression.

“Before I decided to take the job I had to ask myself three questions - was the job going to be secure, would it be good on my CV and would my family approve. Thankfully I was able to tick all three boxes and I’ll be heading off on the first week in March to Charlotte which has a NASCAR village with the Hall of Fame so I’ll be able to emerse myself.

“I don’t know a whole lot about NASCAR but I do know it’s massive over there. I’ve been doing a bit of research about it and it is awesome to be involved in it.”