Michèle Mouton, Sabine Schmitz, Rosemary Smith – what do these names all have in common? Ask your average man on the street and they’ll correctly tell you that they are all women.
However, if you ask a motorsport fan and they will tell you that they are all successful racing drivers. Michèle Mouton won four rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship in her Audi Quattro between 1981 and 1982 and also the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in 1985 and the German Rally Championship in 1986. Sabine Schmitz won the Nurrburgring 24 Hour race in 1996 and 1997 and is regarded by many to be one of the best drivers around that track. Rosemary Smith has numerous class wins in Rallying to her name, along outright wins at the 1965 Dutch Tulip Rally and the 1969 Cork 20 Rally.
One young lady hoping to achieve the same level of success is 10 year old Alyx Coby from Newbridge, Co. Kildare. Alyx is competing in the Motorsport Ireland Karting Championships, following in the footsteps of her father, Gary, who she says is her racing hero. She even races with the same number 99 as him.
In her opening season Alyx recorded seven top ten finishes along with two novice class wins and followed that up in her second season with 13 top ten finishes, five in the top 5 and reaching the third step of the podium once.
Now in her third season, Alyx is proving that she has what it takes to win. At the season opener at Nutt’s Corner Alyx came home with 6th and 5th places in the finals along with setting the fastest lap in both races. The second round at Whiteriver Park in Collon saw Alyx improve on her first round performance with 5th and 4th place finishes.
Round three brought the championship to KartWorld at Watergrasshill in Cork, the location of Alyx’s two novice class wins in her opening season. Alyx showed early signs of pace in the opening heat of the day climbing from 10th to 6th in the first three corners and was running in 5th place by the end of lap 2. Over the next 4 laps she fought her way through to 3rd moving up to second place with two laps to go and crossing the finish line less than an tenth of a second behind Sean McCormack.
The second heat saw Alyx starting in second position, but drop to 6th on the exit of the first corner as the karts bunched up but with some impressive overtaking was back up to 3rd by the end of lap 2 where she set about reeling in the lead two drivers who had pulled out a gap from the chasing pack, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process. Alyx quickly got on Se Og Martin’s rear bumper and for the following 8 laps the top three were running nose to tail with Alyx getting up the inside of Se Og to take second with two corners to go and with a better line out of the last corner almost passed race winner Andrew Crosbie at the line with the gap recorded at just five hundredths of a second.
As a result of the two second place finishes Alyx found herself on pole for the first of the day’s 12 lap finals. By the end of the opening lap 5 karts had broken away from the pack with Alyx sitting in 3rd place.
Over the next 7 laps the top five positions changed almost corner by corner with Alyx dropping to 4th place momentarily before taking two karts on the exit of the hairpin to run in 2nd place before taking the lead on lap 8.
Lap 9 saw Alyx briefly drop back to 2nd behind Tom Edgar as they began to come up on the backmarkers before regaining the lead on lap 10 and holding Edgar off for the last two laps, winning by three tenths of a second and setting the fastest lap on the final lap.
Not only was this Alyx’s first victory in the cadet class it was also the first time a female driver had won a final at cadet level in Ireland.
The second final began the same way as the first with Alyx on pole and then running in third in a group of five karts just behind Tom Edgar and Andrew Crosbie for the first four laps.
Following another great overtake on the exit of the hairpin on lap 4 Alyx began to open a gap to the karts behind where she remained unchallenged for the final 8 laps, crossing the line with a lead of eight tenths of a second over second place Andrew Crosbie.
Alyx says her racing ambition is to one day drive as good as her dad. With two wins, two second place finishes and three fastest laps, something tells me she won’t have too long to wait to realise that ambition.
Alyx now leads the Munster Karting Club Championship by 8 points and, with the Cork track proving the be one of her strongest, she is going to be hard to beat at their next round in September.
The Motorsport Ireland Championship moves on to Athboy, Co. Meath this coming Sunday where the Meath and District Motor Club are hosting Round 4 of the championship. After three rounds Alyx is currently sitting in second place.
To find out more about Alyx visit www.alyxcoby.com and if you are interested in getting into karting you’ll get more information from www.irishkarting.com or else pop along to Athboy Karting Centre this weekend.