Tag Archives: girls karting

Girl Racer: Molly Hart

1

Karting Girls: celebrating the girls who are taking it to the boys

Age: 17
From: Aldenham, Hertfordshire
Started Karting: Age 14, 2011
When was your first race: My first race was during the winter championship in 2011.
What series do you currently race in: Senior Rotax
Have you won any races: Won many in corporate but none yet in Rotax.

My twin sister started racing in corporate karts and I‘d go to watch her each weekend, then I decided to have a go. At Brentwood Karting they run an academy, they have Cadets, Junior and Senior races and they meet each Sunday to compete. After 12 weeks the champion is announced but they then also have a special fun day called the All Star Cup, which allows every level of karter to compete against each other. I decided to take 1-2-1 lessons at Brentwood and got accepted into the academy. I found it a great grounding for learning karting. We raced in all weathers and we were always very competitive. I won the championship at Brentwood after racing there for about 9 months.

I then considered Club100 as many of my friends entered that, I then decided to go to Rye House and look at that track and also enter two endurances, one which was a women’s only event and the other a big group. Luckily my teams won both. That is when I met the race director of Rye House Steve Cutting, he introduced me to the Pro-Kart endurance championship and asked me if I would be interested, but when looking round his kart teams workshop I saw a Kosmic Rotax kart, this is when I decided that is what I want to drive. I began in Rotax in February 2013 in Steve’s team, Cutting Edge Racing. I had to jump straight into Junior Rotax due to my age. I’ve yet to win but have managed a good amount of podiums at Rye House and one at Kimbolton in 2013. MOLLY HART If you want to be featured here, contact ben@kartingmagazine.com At first I found it quite a shock to jump into Junior Rotax considering lots of the competition on the grids have done it since Cadets (age 8). This quickly showed me that I have got limited experience and lots to learn. Unfortunately because if my age I have had to move up into senior Rotax now, I had hoped for a second year in Junior Rotax so that I could gain a bit more experience. Even though I thought this would be best, I have recently had my first weekend in Senior Rotax and managed a 6th overall which we were all pleased with.

I have always loved cars and always watched F1, but never really did think about getting into a kart. If I had to start over, the one thing I would do would be to start at the earliest stage possible. I would love to have started at an incredibly young age and have so much experience when reaching the age I am now. That said, I’m extremely happy with the results I’ve had last year; my first year in Rotax. I am also very happy with the start of this year in Senior Rotax. I am extremely lucky and happy to have the people round me who help me improve so quickly, those being my parents, and the mechanics of CER. It’s hard work to get everything working as well as possible, and to make sure you are well prepared for all weather conditions.It’s a lot of fun and I try to not take it too seriously otherwise the fun side will fade, but saying that I’m also desperate for a career in motorsport. That’ll be tough to manage without sponsors but I need to stay positive!.

Girl Racer: Katie Helps

1

Age: 27
From: Cheshire
Started karting: 2010

When was your first race? GYG in 2009 for a trial run!

What series do you currently race in? NKRA Formula Blue

Have you won any races? Yes at club level

How did you get into it? My Dad raced 100 National before he had kids. His Dino chassis was hung up in the garage for our whole childhood, including the tyres that were older than me! Along with this, Sunday afternoons in our house were dedicated to the F1, you were not allowed to speak until the race was over! I found my family’s enthusiasm for motorsports infectious. In 2010 Dad rang me one day when I was away travelling and asked me when I returned home if I’d like to start racing. I have never looked back!

What would you do differently if you started again? If I was to start again I would be a millionaire!! Honestly though, I would not change a thing (other than overtake a few more people!). Dad had raced with my brother Matty for years in several classes and up to Super One. He knew the best way to start with me was to race club-level and learn a circuit and then move into national racing. I came 2nd in my first ever club championship in 2011. I then progressed to national racing (NKRA) where there was a much higher standard of driver and plenty of experience in the paddock. In my first year I narrowly missed out on a number plate which gave me the bit between my teeth for the next year. The next season we improved again and we were finishing in the top third of the grid consistently, resulting in being ranked 15th. This season we have improved yet again and I am about to race my final to find out what number I will be ranked.

Is it hard work or just Fun, Fun, Fun? It is hard work, of course: long travelling times, early starts and making sure you are on it every time you get onto the circuit. Plus all the hours of preparation that goes into the kart. But it is worth everything, all the competitors and mechanics in the NKRA are great friends and there is a lot of banter! Most importantly though, you cannot beat a motorsport weekend with your dad! I live for karting and I am really looking forward to seeing what my next racing season brings!

Girl Racer: Hannah Chapman

462_10560_20979093

Celebrating the girls who are taking it to the boys

Age: 21

From: East Lothian, Scotland

Started karting: When I was 14

When was your first race? My first race was at an indoor kart track in Wakefield when I was 15. I was the only girl but for me that’s never been a problem. I see it as a good thing because the boys don’t expect you to be good so when you are it’s really satisfying taking them all by surprise and proving them wrong. Girls can be fast too! I was instantly taken by the sport and there was no stopping me after that first shot in a kart. I was addicted to the adrenaline, the speed, the feeling of being in control whilst pushing myself and the kart to the limit to be better than the others and from there I continued on to race in the British Schools Karting Championship, British Rental Kart Championship, the Elite Karting League and I’m soon to take part in the Dubai 24hr kart race.

What series you currently race in? Karting wise I had only previously raced in rental kart championships. I wanted to do MSA karting and tested a Senior Rotax kart at both Crail and Larkhall finding myself immediately on the pace however I had the opportunity to make the transition into saloon car racing and had to choose between karts and cars as I couldn’t afford both. I chose cars and now race in the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup but still do the odd round in the Elite Karting League and have been asked to take part in a couple of 24hr karting events.

Have you won any races? I have won many races and hope to continue winning just as many more. There is no better feeling than winning. I think I’m going to need another windowsill to put my trophy collection on! A few karting wins that stand out for me was one in the BSKC where I won a race in the national finals with a colossal lead of 12 seconds! Another stand out win was at Whilton Mill where I became the first female in EKL history to win a race and I also recently took part in an all girls event with the Womens Karting Society where I won both my heats and the final.

How did you get into it? I got into karting randomly on a rainy day in the school holidays when I was 14. I had been watching the film Herbie and all of a sudden decided that racing was something I wanted to try so that’s when I was taken to my local kart track and discovered that for once I was actually really good at something especially after having had no previous experience. From the word go I found it exhilarating, exciting and extremely addictive. I have never ever been scared of it but I do always get a little nervous – but nerves are a good thing, they keep you on your toes and show you’re human. Karting for me was always fun fun fun but racing cars can be a bit more hard work at times, what with the battle to get the budget together during the off-season in order to keep doing what I love. Also the politics; I had never experienced politics before in the karting world and it has made life a bit harder for me this year but it’s all part and parcel of racing and I’ve learned a lot from it.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years time? Had I chosen to stay with karting I would’ve switched from rental to MSA karting and would’ve hoped to see myself racing Super One. However cars is my chosen path now and in 5 years time I hope to have progressed further up the motorsport ladder getting closer and closer to my dream of racing in the BTCC.

Female Focus: Does Sexism Still Exist in Karting?

Stock-Girls

As I mentioned briefly in my first article karting is an incredibly unique sport. It is one of very few activities out there that lets us females and males compete against each other on a level playing fi eld. Motorsport began as primarily a male dominated arena where males would flaunt their new vehicles and take part in lengthy ‘staged time trials’ around main roads.

The first time women were introduced into this exclusive fold was when the chaps decided they were worthy of sitting in the passenger seat and giving directions, although I do wonder if there were many arguments over whose fault it was for missing the left turn ahead. However, now it’s a completely different story altogether with women such as Danica Patrick in the forefront of NASCAR racing. Perhaps because of the increase in women succeeding and dominating in the higher ranks of motorsport this is spurring on more females to step into racing.

I remember my first experience of the karting world aged nine. Like many others I started off at what I originally believed to be the largest kart circuit in Essex. However I was soon to fi nd out that this ‘epic’ 250 metre track was probably about the same length as the straight at Kimbolton! After being shown the ropes for a while I was ready to go. Obviously on my first go out I spun… a lot, and I hadn’t quite grasped the concept of needing to brake for a corner. Nonetheless I was enjoying myself and that’s all that matters right? Well, apparently not. Once I’d had my little ‘test session’, seven other arrive-and-drive racers were let out on the track, all boys. I was determined to prove I knew what I was doing.

In the end I turned out to be faster than them. Expecting some kind of warm welcome I greeted them and was told that, “Girls aren’t meant to come here, go and buy a doll’s house”. Fortunately I saw the funny side, and decided from that point onward I would make it my aim to continue to prove my worth in this male dominated sport.

In the eleven years I’ve been racing I have come across some nasty stereotypical insults about my driving, but as I’ve matured I’ve grown to ignore it and realise the best way to silence a chauvinistic pig is to just go out and there and beat him! Having said this, I wouldn’t do karting if I didn’t enjoy it, and I’d say the majority of the males I race or have raced with have no issues with me being a female, and because of this we have a mutual respect for one another. I’ve made some amazing friends over the years. This, however, is merely my view and my experience, so I headed down to my local track (Shenington) to find some male and female karters and see what their views were on this whole issue. Fortunately I found two willing male and female participants, Dean Patrick and Sarah Drew, and decided to interrogate them. They both race Junior Rotax, but only at Shenington club rounds.

How long have you guys been racing? Have you experienced any hostility from other racers in this time?Dean: I’ve been competing since I was 10 and when I first started I was quite nervous and felt the guys with painted lids were like Gods or something. I’d literally let them past, and when I started getting good they didn’t like it. That’s the only hostility I’ve ever had.

Sarah: I’ve only been racing for three years, since I was 12. I think a lot of people welcomed me after I’d been doing it for a while, but to start with I don’t think the guys liked the fact I was there because we were all young and a bit immature. I remember getting knocked off the track a lot at the beginning.

Dean, what are your views on ‘girl racers’?

Dean: Personally I’ve never had a problem with it, although I can see why some guys get frustrated when a girl is quicker than them because other racers could tease them. It’s probably harder I think for girls to gain respect on the track, because I know a lot of guys that aren’t that quick and still don’t get punted around as much as some girls I know. Motorsport is seen as a male thing, but so many girls do it now it shouldn’t be an issue any more.

What do you think, if anything, could be altered to change some people’s attitudes?
Sarah: I don’t think anything in the sport itself could be altered as it’s all down to the person’s views. I think it’s encouraging for girls to see loads of other women competing and winning in motorsport.

Dean: Like Sarah said, it’s hard to change a person’s opinion. I think karting is a great sport and, compared to a lot of others, people are more open and accepting to girls. If a guy can’t handle a girl beating him then he probably shouldn’t be racing! Sexism in any sport is always going to be a tough issue. In the 21st century we’d like to think it would be non-existent by now and we’d all be holding hands under a rainbow. However, despite the distinct lack of any rainbow, once you have your helmet on it doesn’t matter who you are. Just what you can do.

FEMALE FOCUS – Sponsorship in Racing: Is it harder for Males or Females?

Dummy Grid Rolls away

We all know the feeling, you fork out for an expensive championship with the view that not only will you be competing at a top level but you will also be paying to be noticed by that elusive “talent spotter”. You know, the guy with all the cash that hangs out by the side of a rain soaked kart track, sees potential, approaches you and decides to sponsor you for the foreseeable future. Well unfortunately for many of us this character is never seen, instead at the start of the new season we have to make that difficult decision on whether to spend our hard earned on less important things like eating or hygiene, or go in guns blazing with a new chassis and another self funded year of racing.

Sponsorship, it seems, is likened to the Holy Grail, extremely hard to come across and no-one’s really sure if it exists. In motorsport especially it seems the emphasis on your success rides primarily upon “who you know” as opposed to “what you can do”. Many of the karters that are noticed and move onto the higher echelons of racing either are extremely lucky, or have the cash in the first place to be able to put themselves in a position where they’ll be noticed.

Here comes this crux of my article, is sponsorship harder to come across for males or females? Arguably females have that special selling point of, evidently, being a woman in a male dominated sport. Just think of the advertising possibilities, especially if the fortunate woman is attractive. Let’s not forget the demi-god that is Lewis Hamilton, despite being a run of the mill male, he had his special KSP (Key Selling Point) too, being mixed race. This was wrung dry at every opportunity. But what about the average looking male out there, what selling points do you have? Essentially your progress up the motorsport ladder is riding primarily upon the amount of success you have within your championship, and how good you are at boasting about your achievements.

Clearly there never seems to be a good time to start looking for sponsorship, especially now in the grips of a widespread economic recession. At a risk of sounding bias[DW1] sed, interestingly within karting especially there seem to have been more male racers that I’ve been made aware of that have been coaxed into sponsorship schemes such as the famous “McLaren[DW2]  Driver Programme”. Obviously these drivers have to be talented to start with, and probably competing in a class that has more coverage than others, and is higher up the karting “hierarchy”. As I mentioned earlier, being a woman in a highly dominated sport, and succeeding within it, is a priceless selling point. However, there have been no women that I know of in karting that have been chosen by the “omnipresent” sponsorship God. Now this could fall under a multitude of arguments, ranging from “Maybe there aren’t any good female drivers in karting?” Wrong. Or perhaps, “There are so few of them that they’re hard to come across?”. Maybe. Although, Jenson Button was once famously quoted for saying, “Women can never race in Formula One because their breasts would get in the way.” However extreme, or maybe even amusing this statement seems to be,  there is still an element of this stereotypical view of female racers. Perhaps no matter how unique they are to the sport, women will never be quite so desired an investment as a “reliable” sportsman. It can be argued that a male provides less “risk” for the company and therefore they know what they’re buying into and what the potential audiences will enjoy.

It’s a tricky theme to look into as the statistics from successful sponsorship deals emerging from the karting scene can be counted 1on one hand. The fairytale of poor “Johnny No-one” from “nowhere that special”, being turned into a superstar racer overnight is a rarity to say the least. Perhaps this leads to the only conclusion that can come from a pastime that became the sport of the “elite”. Sponsorship in any form is a dirty word, karting provides little glamour for major companies to revel in, whether you’re male or female. Perhaps you have that key selling point and provide the exterior of uniqueness that could potentially attract a company, but until you re-mortgage that house, and wait for that Grandma to pass away with the inheritance money you have a tough ladder to climb just to reach that goal of being a sellable, desirable product.

So, don’t invest in a sex change just yet for that magical moment where you get spotted for being a certain gender, save it to get you as far as you can go. Who knows, a Leprechaun may be waiting at the side of the track with a pot of Gold. After all Eddie Jordan is Irish.

Girl Racer – Jade Redfern-Goodwin

JadeGirl Racer – Jade Redfern-Goodwin

Age: 16
From: Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire
Started karting: March, 2012
When was your first race? My first race was in 2013 at Hooton Park Indikart in which I came 2nd. When I was testing there Bob the track owner suggested I do the Indikart race, so me and my Dad went for it. To this day, it is still the wettest race I have ever had in my life! I knew this is something I needed to do more of…
What series you currently race in? The series I currently race in is Junior X-30, I have only recently gained my MSA licence and I have been doing some club races to gain more experience for next season.
Have you won any races? Yes, several Indikart wins; many podiums and I have also won the MBKC Junior X-30 Autumn Cup 2014.
How did you get into it? From a young age there has always been motorsport on our TV. I didn’t really have any intentions of motorsport, until my Dad and older brother took me to watch British Touring cars at Oulton Park. I honestly feel I had an epiphany that day, I wanted to be Like Andrew Jordan and Rob Austin. My dad decided to take me indoor karting, and I absolutely loved it. I don’t think I could have got into the sport any other way than I did. My Dad and I work so well as a team and I honestly cannot thank him enough – karting has brought us closer than ever.
What are you plans for 2015? My plans for 2015 are to compete in some club Races/Championships and to hopefully get some good results, I am still on novice plates so there isn’t as much pressure on my first few races and I would also love to do Kartmasters later in the year.
Where do you hope to see yourself in karting world in 5 years time?
I honestly have no idea where I’ll be in 5 years, hopefully as the first female Kart Bandit and/or Stig; but still taking it to the boys.

Girl Racer – Steff Walters

Celebrating the girls who are taking it to the boys

Age: 22
From: Hillingdon, Hayes
Started karting: aged 8

When was your first race: I started racing at the Aldershot kids club when I was 11/12

What series you currently race in: Im currently competing in the EKL, I am Captain of the Northampton Maidens and also put together and run two other women’s teams; The Vixens and The Valkyries.

Have you won any races: I have won a lot of different trophies in many different events. I came 2nd in the Club 100 Championship 2011 and have also picked up a few 1st, 2nd and 3rd Places in Club 100.

How did you get into it: My dad has always loved all forms of motorsport and he used to kart with his brothers and friends so naturally he wanted to get me to give it a go. A. er being the passenger of a twin seater with him driving round Surbiton aged 8-years old, I fell in love from there and was hooked.Straight a. er that me and my dad went off to do indoor karting where I eventually joined kids club at Aldershot and had mini races and learned a bit of race craft. After a few years of indoor karting we brought a Prokart and took it down to practice at Camberley. Once I got the hang of it we brought a TKM and I did my ARCS test and started competing and won a few trophies. We then went to Rotax but realised to compete at the top level it was going to take a lot of money and time, which we didn’t have. We then heard about Club100 and I went off to give it a go at age 16.

When I first started I struggled. It was hard being the ‘newbie’ let alone the only girl against about 200 guys. My first year was so hard I almost gave up but with the support of both my parents I picked myself up and carried on. Eventually the guys got used to me being there and being the only girl and I didn’t spend as much time being taken out. In 2011 I had a great year and picked up quite a few podiums which meant I managed to finish 2nd in the championship, I was the first ever women in Club100 to do this. The next year I was moved up to Clubman where I stayed for 2 years.I was then asked by Bob Pope who runs EKL to put in an all-women’s team and come down and compete; it was great because for the first time I was competing against many other women’s teams. It was a tough first year as the girls I was in a team with I had never raced with before and we were getting used to the championship.

For 2014 I managed to organise three women’s teams a. er doing a test days and getting all girls that were interested to come down and try it out. This year in my team, the Northampton Maidens there is me (Captain) Carly Latcham, Rhianna Purcocks and Kayleigh Vincent. We have so far had a great year and won best women’s team each round and fi nished top seven each race. I also run the Hoddesdon Vixens and Coventry Valkyries.I have also set up my own Society to help bring all women/girls interested in karting together and to help encourage more women to get involved. Its called the WKS: Women’s Karting Society and we have our first karting event on the 1st of November at Whilton Mill.I have always loved karting and even though it’s a constant of ups and downs I will always love it and I will always be a part of it.