Iona Rossely
Racing on Empty
Sarah Grace Publishing, UK, 2020
ISBN-13: 978-1912863280

Racing on empty

 

"Racing on Empty is a quick read in one sense - at just under 250 pages, it's not a big book - but Rossely's account of her life packs a lot in its pages as it reveals how coming to know God has changed her."

Just reading this book - which follows the life of former professional speed skiier and endurance horse-rider Iona Rossely - is an exhausting experience.

Written in a quick-fire, staccato style, Racing on Empty follows the highly competitive Rossely from her days as a rebellious student at a Welsh boarding school to her rise in the world of speed-skating, culminating in a near fatal accident while travelling at 160kph, before charting her subequent move into the world of equestrian endurance racing.

At the same time, we see Rossely navigating her way through some highly sought-after career opportunities - including at one stage handling public relations for a formula one racing team, meeting and then marrying her husband Jeff and facing challenges including cancer, all against the backdrop of an array of exotic locations including Cyprus, Bahrain, France and Dubai.

There was certainly plenty of material for Rossely, who now lives in Australia, to draw on when writing the book but what is most interesting is that through all the ups and downs of her life we see, like a gold thread running through a richly detailed tapestry, God slowly drawing her to Him.

There are several key moments in the development of Rossely's faith - including her friendship with Joanna, a physiotherapist who helped her after her skiing accident, and, after she'd experimented with crystals, tarot cards and astrology, a friendship with Christian couple Thierry and Silvia while living in France as well as, of course, her later move into lay preaching in the Anglican church in Australia. But her journey is not a simple before and after; rather what we see is a gradual building of a relationship with God that, in the end, becomes the central pivot around which her life revolves.

Racing on Empty is a quick read in one sense - at just under 250 pages, it's not a big book - but Rossely's account of her life packs a lot in its pages as it reveals how coming to know God has changed her. As she writes in the closing pages, reflecting on the many animals she'd worked with over her life: "I had worked hard over the years to tame horses, dogs and cats, most of which were broken and rejected. In a way, God had been doing the same with me. I was broken and am still partially broken. But every day another piece of me gets put back into its rightful place."

As an added bonus, all royalties from the book are going to the Sozo Foundation, an NGO serving disadvantaged young people based in a township community in Cape Town, South Africa.