Billy Monger on his Red Nose Day Challenge: "I've learned how to cycle again from scratch"

Virgin Radio

16 Feb 2021, 11:07

Billy Monger has been through more testing times than most, but he’s not afraid of a challenge. He’s about to face a triathlon inspired feat for Red Nose Day.

A triathlon is a feat of skill and endurance at the best of times, and professional racing driver Billy Monger is going the extra mile – 140 of them to be exact. A double amputee, Billy will be walking, kayaking and cycling the distance. He joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky this morning and told Sam Pinkham all about his experiences and his plans for the challenge.

Billy started out in the world of racing at a young age. He recalls: “I started out in go-karting when I was six years old. My dad bought me a kart when I was two, the guy he bought it off couldn’t quite believe it when he saw me in the front of the car in my baby seat that I was meant to be driving that in a few years’ time” he laughed.

“It became something we did for a bit of fun, but soon every weekend we'd be out across the country and then across the world racing.”

Everything changed for Billy when he was 17-years-old. “I was competing in F4 when I had an accident, where I became a double amputee as a result of the crash. I’ve just been focusing on  getting back to racing for me, and now I'm taking on this challenge for Comic Relief.”

Sam told Billy that he admired his determination and positivity in the wake of what happened. Billy credited many of the people around him: “I mean, everyone has hurdles in their life that they have to face, mine was obviously a bit more visible in the fact that I became an amputee. If you're not a positive person it can translate to those around you, but luckily for me, the people around me were so strong and positive that I think that came across into how I approached the situation.”

Lockdown has changed life for most of us, and Billy was no exception. “This challenge for me is completely out of my comfort zone. It came to me at a perfect time because, like a lot of people during lockdown, I've had my ups and downs with fitness” he explains.

“I noticed at the start of the first lockdown I really let myself go. It was like a holiday. My normal reason for training was to compete in the car and perform out on the track. That wasn’t happening in 2020 because of COVID, so I lost that motivation. Thankfully, I did find new reasons and then the challenge came about me when I got myself back to a really good place physically. So I thought 'why not?' if I’m going to tackle it at any point in life I might as well do it now.”

This challenge for Comic Relief is next level. Billy explains: “I'm basically going to be completing an Ironman distance. It’s 140 miles across four days, and that's going to be done by walking a marathon, cycling about 100 miles, and kayaking about 18 miles across the four days.”. To make it even more impressive, Billy hasn’t been on a bike since before his accident and he’s never been kayaking before.

“The first time I jumped into kayak was the probably the second week of January of this year, just over a month ago!” he exclaims. “Cycling was something I enjoyed before, but I didn't know if I'd be able to cycle a normal upright bike, but over the last year, I've learned how to cycle again from scratch, and now I've got 100 miles to do next week!”

What an incredible effort. To find out more about Billy's Big Red Nose Day Challenge from the 22nd of February click here.