AFTER swapping hair pins for hair-pin bends when helping her father lift the Warrington and District Rally Championship last year, 21-year-old Katy Sergeant is ready to jump back on the track.
The professional hairdresser and her mechanic father Phil, aged 58, brushed aside the competition when winning the prestigious Warrington and District Motor club prize in 2013, becoming the first father/daughter team to do so in the club’s history.
And now the pair are ready to defend that title, just five years after Katy first stepped foot into the passenger seat of her father’s home-made rally car at the tender age of 16.
“We got her a special dispensation for a Motorsport Association licence and then did a small event at Three Sisters,” said Phil.
“It took her about three years to actually hone her skills with the navigating, because it is not an easy thing to do and we finished near the bottom for a few years.
“When we started, she was a bit worried about how quick I was going.
“Whereas now, it’s the other way and when I’m not going fast enough she’s quick to let me know.
“It is quite a scary experience the first time you get in a rally car, so she has come a long way since then.
“She’s a bit of a speed freak, like her dad!”
Phil competed in the same competition around 25 years ago, before the demands of family life meant he had to shelve his expensive hobby until he had the time and money to pursue it.
Five years ago he bought a one litre Nissan Micra for £200 from a salvage yard and has not looked back since.
“All that is left of the car that I bought is the body shell,” he said.
“The rest is all changed, it has full roll cage, proper competition seats, race suspension, different engine, breaks, gearbox, the lot.
“I have probably spent about £7,000 on it over that time and of course it has been a lot of man hours getting it ready.”
The pair, with Phil in the driver’s seat and Katy as co-driver, competed across seven stages – the minimum required to take part, making their success all the more impressive – of the championship in 2013, racing at Wigan’s Three Sisters track, as well as Oulton Park, Ty Croes and Wallasey.
They plan to repeat the feat this year, with the first stage of the 2014 championship having taken place earlier this month.
“There is no reason why we can’t defend our title,” added Phil.
“To start with it was quite a learning curve for me as well as Katy.
“I feel it a bit more on the physical side these days, but it has been great fun.”
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