Thursday 24 June 2021

Sex and motor sport

One has to be careful these days regarding sex and motor sport. One wrong word and the matter of sexism raises its head. Therefore to be politically correct and avoid treading on any sensitive toes, best to ignore it, eh?

Linzi Henderson
But that can't be right, we should be trying to encourage allcomers regardless of sex, race or social background. Once upon a time rallying was on a popularity par with motor racing but sadly that is no longer the case. These days we have only one WRC front runner flying the UK (and Welsh) flag with Craig Breen, Gus Greensmith and Chris Ingram hoping to join that very small but elite band which currently includes Elfyn Evans at the forefront of world rallying on a regular basis.

And yet Britain's first World Rally Champion was a lady! 31 years ago Louise Aitken Walker won the World Rally Championship for Ladies and what should have provided an inspiration and encouragement to others was lost in a sea of cheap newspaper headlines which always tried to include the words 'farmer' or 'shepherdess' The sport failed to capitalise then and we're paying for it now. Louise was not just a driver, she was a winning driver and a fierce competitor, regardless of any other label that sensation seeking reporters sought to sensationalise headlines.

Ashleigh Morris

Although there are quite a few lady co-drivers contesting this weekend's Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally, there are only three lady rally drivers on the Entry List - and there was nearly only two! What does that say about the sport of rallying in the UK? Motor racing is only marginally better but they do seem to have a few initiatives underway to try and encourage more female participation.

Anyway, when a wee problem developed with Linzi Henderson's Ford Fiesta R2T her appearance at the event was threatened. Coincidentally, there was another rally prepped car in the garage just raring to go. Just one ever so tiny wee problem. It wisnae hers, it was Dad's (Walter's) historic Mk2!

Aileen Forrest
Whether persuasion, bribery or blackmail was involved we'll probably never know, but guess what she'll be driving in Dunoon.

The point is, keep your eye on the results this weekend and raise an extra cheer for Linzi in car 89, Ashleigh Morris in the Ford Fiesta R200 at 92 and Aileen Forrest in her Mitsubishi Evo9 running at 102. 

Here's hoping they gub all the boys!

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