Belfast Telegraph

Carl Frampton's rally car spin 'something else'

By Amanda Ferguson

Northern Ireland's boxing world champion Carl Frampton and his wife Christine got all revved up for the Circuit of Ireland rally's test day.

Fresh from picking up an MBE for services to sport from the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham palace on Tuesday, the Tigers Bay fighter's next engagement was in a rally car going 'flat to the mat' at the Eikon Centre in Balmoral Park, Sprucefield.

And he loved every minute of his time in the Citroen DS3 RS.

"Brilliant, brilliant," he said. "Some rush off it."

It was Carl's first time in a rally car. He had anticipated that it would be "scary", and admitted mentor Barry McGuigan didn't know he was taking part.

"Barry did a bit of rally driving after he packed the boxing in and I think he flipped more cars and wrote them off than he won races," Carl said.

"Shane told me not to tell Barry; he said: 'Don't be telling my da'."

When he emerged from the passenger seat of the Citroen after a couple of laps, Carl told the Belfast Telegraph he loved the experience and was hoping to get to the first day of the Circuit of Ireland. It runs from April 7-9 and includes stages near Lisburn, Downpatrick and Banbridge and the Ards TT town centre stage.

"It was good - I enjoyed it," he said. "The first lap he (the driver) says 'I'm only warming the tyres up there'. It was a different story the second time."

Christine loved her experience too. "I am an adrenalin junkie so this is great," she said.

But there was a bit of rivalry between husband and wife.

"I am definitely the better driver," Carl claimed.

"Shane McGuigan has a bit of joke about it, because I remember getting a call from Christine one time when I was in training camp saying: 'I just banged into someone, but it's no damage' but that's happened about four or five times - so I am definitely better."

Unsurprisingly, Christine disagreed: "Definitely me. I am the better driver.

"I am a careful driver because I always have the kids in the car."

Carl is now enjoying a break from the intensity of his pre-fight training camps.

"I am just taking it easy," he said. "I start training again, I am doing a bit of running, ticking over, nothing serious.

"Just trying to keep the belly off and not let myself get too out of shape before the next training camp." Carl expects to retire from boxing in around 10 fights' time - and he's told Christine, a criminology graduate, he is happy to be a house husband, as she made career sacrifices to look after their children Rossa and Carla so he could pursue his boxing dreams.

"I am going to need to study again to go into a job because, to be honest, I have forgotten a lot of my degree," Christine said. "I haven't used my brain in six years and I have only read a handful of books, so I will do some study and then think about a job."

Also taking a spin yesterday was a nervous-looking David Meade - and while the mentalist looked like he wanted to perform a disappearing act, he bravely managed to get round the track.

Belfast Telegraph

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