Four-time World Super-Middleweight boxing champion Carl Froch is the latest big name from the worlds of sport, showbiz, music and media to join the star-studded Celebrity Challenge Trophy grid at this summer’s Silverstone Classic, racing to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer UK.
We caught up with Carl while he was doing practise laps of Silverstone in one of the A35s that he’ll be racing come the end of July.
Really good to meet you, Carl. Silverstone is an amazing place to be - have you been here before?
Yeah, I came to watch the Formula 1 seven years ago - Lewis Hamilton won that day. I’ve also been back a few times to watch the Superbikes cos I’m into motorbike racing as well. Today I’m here doing a few practise laps in preparation for the big day in July when I’ll be racing for the Celebrity Challenge Trophy at Silverstone Classic.
So now you’ve been around the track a few times, how well do you think you’ll do?
I’ve enjoyed my practise laps but before today I’ve not been round Silverstone except for on the driving games I’ve got on my PlayStation. So, it’s nice to come and go around the track in reality and have a few laps myself, and more importantly get out in the A35 which is a really tricky old machine. You can’t really push it very hard around corners. There’s no real acceleration and they’re quick to spin out and I’ve heard they can even roll. So, you’ve got to be careful. I’m looking forward to it.
I suppose my natural sporting competitiveness will come out on the track. I’ve had a couple of cheeky days at Donington Park as I always like to be well prepared. So, hopefully that’ll help me at least not come last.
I want a podium position. If I can make top three I’ll be really happy, which I wouldn’t usually say. Being a boxer, it’s about winning it’s not about coming second or third. I got a bronze medal in the World Amateur Championships, and that was my last fight as an amateur. I don’t know where the bronze medal is. It’s probably in a bin liner in my mum’s loft.
And how does the Austin A35 rate in terms of cars that you’ve driven?
It’s real, good fun to be honest. The thing with the A35 is that you’ve got to be able to drive. The last car I had was an AMG GT Mercedes; 0 to 60 in under three seconds, rear wheel drive, mid‑engine position, a really high performance sports car - and I probably had more fun in the A35 on this track than what I would in that!
Obviously, the speed’s not there with the A35 but in terms of driving and getting around the bends and controlling the car, you need to do a lot more in the A35. It’s a harder work. So, from that point of view I’m looking forward to it more.
The stats are shocking but it’s important to be aware of this disease and know that if you catch cancer early you’ve got a better chance of getting rid of it.
Silverstone Classic are helping our charity raise awareness of prostate cancer. When you heard the statistics that 1 in 8 men will be affected by prostate cancer, and that 1 man dies every 45 minutes, how did that make you feel?
The stats are shocking but it’s important to be aware of this disease and know that if you catch cancer early you’ve got a better chance of getting rid of it. And that’s why Prostate Cancer UK’s awareness work is so important. Everybody is affected in some way by cancer.
How can sports like boxing and motor-racing play a part in helping to raise awareness?
Well I suppose as a sportsman you’ve got a target audience. Guys watch boxing, they watch football, the watch the motor racing and other sports - and you know if their sporting idol or someone they follow and respect is pointing their finger at them, saying: “know your risks”, it helps.
I think it’s important when you’re in the position to be able to, to give a bit back. Although events like Silverstone are good fun, it’s important to be able to also help a charity and shine a spotlight on issues like prostate cancer. Ultimately, awareness saves lives.
And what advice would you give to anyone who has questions about prostate cancer?
You know, I’ve just turned 40, so it’s important for me to keep my health in check and know my risks. If I had any concerns I think I’d use common sense and just go to the doctors’. It’s as simple as that. You know, if you think there’s a problem, you’ve got any concerns or any stresses, don’t let it worry you and don’t let it fester. Get yourself to the doctor and ask for their advice. It’s no big deal. That’s what they’re there for.
And finally, what can we expect from you on race day?
You can expect me to be giving it 100 per cent. I’m out there trying my hardest. I’m gonna be the best can be. So, expect maximum effort and if it’s not going my way, there’ll be a bit of action cos I’ll be trying to push my way forward by hook or by crook.
I can say, it’s not gonna be a fair game, let me tell you - cos, I’ve never been a sportsman that’s played by the rules. Cos, in boxing you can get away with being a little bit bordering the rules. There might be a bit of nudging and a bit of pushing and pulling going off out there. But whatever it takes to go on that podium is what you can expect from me.
Silverstone Classic takes place from 28 - 30 July. All those racing will be helping to raise funds and awareness for the Classic’s official charity partner Prostate Cancer UK. Tickets are available here.