The Competitive Edge

I came to the motorsport world quite late for a fan, it was only a few years ago I really got into F1 and other disciplines. With the new found love of motorsport came the want to take part. The most obvious way to take part was karting and so for my 18th I went karting with my mates – it didn’t go very well for me, at that point I wasn’t a born racer.

Fast forward two years and I joined Falmouth university’s Motorsport Society. It was (and still is) amazing, I finally had the opportunity to talk to people who were genuinely interested in F1.

The Motorsport Society’s first (unofficial) event was to go karting, I’m not going to lie it was intimidating. The night before I was hoping and praying I wouldn’t be the only girl there because, however much I speak about how women are just as good at motorsport it’s still daunting being the minority. I arrived to the meeting point and sure enough I was the only girl.

When we got to the circuit I promised myself I was going to do myself and all women proud, there was no way I was coming last. There were 10 of us there, I was up against nine guys and I wasn’t going to be defeated.

The first session went underway and I finished P7. When we went up to the grid to start the first heat the steward laughed and said how did I come 7th, this spurred me on even more to show him just how well a woman can drive.

At the end of the first heat I came P4, I started thinking it couldn’t get much better than this and my confidence had sky rocketed. We got to the grid and sat and waited, once again the steward laughed and said to me that it wasn’t possible for me to get there. I was so proud of myself at this point, I’d never done this well before. The flag went down, on the first corner I was overtaken and went down to P5. Somehow I came back from that.

To my surprise I finished the second heat in P3. I came 3rd. I’d never expected that to happen, I was so impressed. We started the third and final heat, this was the important one I needed to finish in the top six to get to the final. I did it. My points from the three heats put me P4, I finished within the top six and showed that steward that gender doesn’t matter in motorsport.

We lined up on the grid for the final race of the day. I sat in P4 and knew I could do better, when the flag went down I immediately overtook the guy in front and got up to P3. All I kept thinking was I just had to stay here for the 6 laps and then I’d be on the podium. Unfortunately I hit a wet patch and spun out 2 laps before the end, I recovered but finished in P4. I was gutted, I know it was just a social event but it had actually come to mean something. I wasn’t just proving to myself that I could do it, I was proving that steward, to some extent I think I was showing the guys that I was just as good as them as well.

So I didn’t finish where I wanted to, but, the day was amazing. I can’t wait to go out on track again and get that podium finish.

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