Last night participants in the Women’s Motorsport Development Program (WDMP) celebrated their graduation from the 2019 program. It was a fantastic evening celebrating women who have a passion for driving fast and pushing themselves out of their comfort zones.
The Program is an initiative of the NSW Road Racing Club and it was established to take the intimidation out of motorsport for women. Run over four months, participants take part in ten different activities taking participants through various aspects of club level motorsport.
The aim is by the end of the program participants can comfortably enter Supersprint’s, Motorkhana’s, Hillclimb’s and Regularity events with confidence, knowledge and event readiness. ‘Event Readiness’ includes confidence, knowledge and experience with apexes, how to deal with oversteer, understeer, breaking markers and racelines.
In addition participants gain knowledge of the different motorsport flags, roles of event officials, understanding supplementary regulations (rules of motorsport events), completing event entry forms and knowing which class your vehicle falls into when entering an event, knowledge of required motorsport apparel, setting and adjusting tyre pressures and what is required when you arrive at the race track. All the information they need to know in order to get out on the track.
This year Kristi Jones, Eva Fil, Katie Moy, Asha Wiltshier, Alena Skerritt, Alison Socratous, Nikki Baker, Tammie Hotz, Vivien Vagg, Leina Lu, Danielle Berry, Natalie Turmine, Georgia Eyb, and Kim Skerritt (pictured with each of the participants is their mentor for the program) graduated from the Program and they can’t wait to use their new found knowledge to carry on their motorsport journeys. Here are just some of the things they had to say about the WDMP.
“I couldn’t recommend this program enough to anyone interested in motorsports.”
“If it wasn’t for the Program I wouldn’t know how to have so much fun without the need to wash my hair or do my nails! You can do you do that if you like, but then you get helmet hair so why bother.”
“I joined WDMP because I love motorsport and I wanted to get more involved and meet other women who feel the same way…I now have the confidence in both myself and my car and will be looking forward to entering more motorsport events in the future.”
In addition to celebrating the achievements of the participants we also heard from a number of inspirational guest speakers including Jacqui Carroll, who is putting together an all-female team to enter the Touring Car Masters series in 2020. And Corrine East-Johnston who is the current Australian Motorkhana Champion, a sport that she has been involved in since her birth thanks to her father and something she now shares with her children as well.
“I love the family aspect of motorsport for us we have three generations competing using the same car and this is something you don’t see in other sports,” said Corrine.
The Program Founder Rachelle Wilson said that she has already received around 30 applications for the 2020 WDMP, but she won’t be able to accept them due to the limitations of space at some of the event locations.
It is great to see so many young and older women, some of whom were already a part of the motorsport community, getting the chance to fan their passion for motorsport. The figure quoted last night was that only 11% of people involved in motorsport in Australia are women. But initiatives like the WMDP are making it ‘normal’ for women to be participating in grassroots competitions and it is hoped this will lead to growth in that number in the future.
For more information about the WDMP visit www.wmdp.com.au
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.