In what is undeniably a male dominated sport, there is a need to show women and young girls that they can can follow their passion and get involved!
Recently there has been increase in the number of women participating in all areas of motorsport with many of them making themselves known in the industry. Women in Motorsport Ireland have decided to create a platform to showcase this and to encourage more women to get involved! WIMI are aiming to bring these women together and their first event took place in Carlow at Grid 2 on March 3rd.
The weather attempted to interrupt plans on the day with unexpected snow resulting in a delay in starting and unfortunately resulted in some competitors not reaching the event! Despite the weather, a final number of 17 competitors took part. Many of who were inexperienced when it came to driving a go kart.
The event saw the grid filled with a mix of racing drivers, navigators and newcomers. The event started off with the heats and straight away it was easy to pick out some of the quickest competitors from the get go.
A driver that turned heads is rally navigator Katia Auhl who took some impressive heat wins to secure her spot in the final on the front row. Katia’s fellow navigator friends Aine Phelan and Mariam Lally also impressed with top 3 finishes in their heats to also secure them a spot in the final.
There was no surprise the full time Fiesta Zetec drivers Ruth Nugent and Aimee Woods took impressive wins also but Ruth Nugent missing out on the final and Aimee beating her by a hairline to secure 6th place on the grid for the final.
Another competitor to impress was Irene Leahy (a very experience Karter in her day), who started off with a heat win and top 3 finishes but narrowly missing out on the final due some bangs from fellow competitors but showed after all the years out of motorsport that she is not lacking pace.
Also standing out on the day was competitor Liz Dunne, wife of Noel Dunne who is a past FF1600 driver and mother to karting pro Alex Dunne, won 3 out of 3 heats to secure her place in the final with the help and advice from husband and son also repping the famous Dunne Colours on her helmet.
Competitors Kate Taylor and Bernice Westwin (who are both mothers of successful karters), travelled over all the way from the UK to take part in the event and were also not far off the pace. Even newcomer Leanne Keogh impressed with sticking with some of the quickest and narrowly missing out on the final.
The final displayed some competitive racing with Katya leading the pack into turn one, there was a scuffle behind on the first lap with an incident between Dunne and Woods leaving them behind and playing catch up. The battle for 2nd was exciting all the way through between Phelan, Cole and Lally with Lally coming out in 2nd on and Cole 3rd, also set the fastest lap of the race and securing 1st on the quickest lap board at G2 and Phelan 4th with a close battle all the way.
There was certainly no shortage of impressive laps with 11 of the drivers on the day beating the track time making the fastest lap board in G2.
Speaking about the event organiser Emma said “It was a successful event and we are already looking at arranging our next event which we hope will have more numbers in competitors as we travel the country to try and introduce more women to our sport.”
Other WIMI news:
Earlier this month Women in Motorsport Ireland announced IMB jewellery as their official sponsor. The Irish designer from Kilkenny said “I think what WIMI is trying to do for females in racing is fantastic as I know how much better women have to be to get the deserving recognition, I am more than happy to be associated with such a forward thinking & active group”.
WIMI have also recently had a visit to Rally School Ireland where Emma said that experiencing the Road Safety centre there was a real eye opener and that they are hoping to hold an event there in the future as WIMI feel that Road safety in Ireland should be implemented to secure road safety all the way from the roads to the track.
Images from Burke Motorsport PR