BBC racing presenter Bobby Beevers - the founder of Autism in Racing

In our latest Spectrum Life blog we hear from Bobby Beevers, a sports reporter who is leading an initiative to make UK horse racing more accessible to autistic people.

After Bobby’s daughter received her autism diagnosis, it led him to learn he was also autistic, which coincided with him developing Autism in Racing.

Autism in Racing began in 2021 and seeks to raise awareness of autism, educate racing’s workforce and customers about autism, and has hosted over 30 autism-friendly racedays at British racecourses…

I have had an enjoyable career in sports journalism, covering horse racing and football. Since 2016, I have worked in regional BBC radio broadcasting, and freelanced for other media organisations, doing racecourse announcing and presenting – hence my love of racing. This helped me to develop the initiative ‘Autism in Racing’.

Autism in Racing came about when my daughter, Sophia, received her autism diagnosis during the first Covid lockdown. At the time, my wife, Rachelle, said she would love to make everything more accessible for autistic individuals across all platforms. That’s when I had a light bulb moment and thought that racing could do something to really step up to the mark, in terms of accessibility for autistic people and their families.

Since we launched, the response from inside and outside of the sport has been phenomenal. We’ve hosted lots of autism-friendly days across a range of racecourses, which has given families more opportunities to come racing, many of whom may not have been able to attend before. We’ve also partnered with the National Autistic Society to offer help and support when it comes to employment in racing, and we are continuing to raise autism awareness and acceptance across the industry.

We were delighted to announce in October 2023 that the Champion Jockey, William Buick, has become our first official ambassador. His son, Thomas, has been diagnosed as autistic and he wants to help us and support in anyway he can.

In terms of my own personal journey, I was diagnosed with autism 12 months after my daughter Sophia’s diagnosis. I think this begs the question of how might autism be related to genetics.

The future for Autism in Racing is bright and very exciting, we’ve got huge plans and very much looking forward to 2024. Since we launched with an industry organisation we’ve been an ‘initative’, but I’m delighted that soon we will be a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC), with the intention of achieving charitable status very soon.

We also look forward to working with Autism Together, who I’m excited to have as one of our charity partners. I’m looking forward to building a strong and trusted relationship with the organisation.

To learn more about Autism in Racing and find out about autism-friendly racedays near you, follow this link.

An infographic explaining the work of Autism in Racing