Teen rally driver Georgia is racing to the top
Garstang teenager Georgia Shiels is enjoying life in the fast lane.
For the 17-year-old spends her weekends pushing her rally car to the limits on some of the fastest courses in the country.
The love affair with rallying began in 2011 when her dad, Antony, took her to an event at Knock Hill racecourse in Edinburgh, near where he works as an engineer, and she had the chance to go out in a dual control car.
“I loved it, and it went on from there. My family have been very supportive,” she said.
So in between studying A-levels at Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School, with a view to a career in law, the ex-Garstang Community Academy student races in the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge and plans to move into the seniors next year.
Despite being one of only two girls in the challenge, Georgia was delighted to be specially chosen to showcase her Kick Energy F1000 Junior Championship Micra over February 23 and 24 at the Stoneleigh Race Retro car show.
Her little Micra held its own, with people commenting on how exciting she was to watch.
Georgia, along with her new co-driver Chris Davies, had a lucky escape when they narrowly missed an ill-placed electrical box, the hay bale covering it taking the brunt of the wide turn.
“I was amazed at how competitive the Micra was against the big boys of the rallying world,” said Georgia.
Her Micra was alongside retro race cars, including a Subaru Legacy, the actual car in which Colin McRae gained a podium finish in at the Swedish rally in 1992.
The Legacy was driven by Jimmy McRae and former British rally champion David Llewellin, and Georgia took the passenger seat as David drove the Legacy around the stage.
Then David joined her in her own car as she drove the course, giving tips on how to improve her speed and positioning of the car.
“I loved every minute of it,” she said.
“But more exciting was when David drove my car round the same stage, with me in the passenger seat. He took it three times around the course, with lots of surprise from the crowd that the little car reacted and performed for the new driver.
“Then David jumped out the driver’s seat, shook my hand across the roof and stated ‘Well done, she is not an easy drive’.
“It was a perfect end to a perfect weekend of rallying.”