Georgia’s up for top driver title

Eighteen-year-old rally driver Georgia Shiels from Catterall, Garstang
Eighteen-year-old rally driver Georgia Shiels from Catterall, Garstang
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“It’s been a whirlwind year. I’ve been off everywhere, it has all been a bit crazy and I’m hoping it is going to get a lot crazier.”

It is hard to believe that Georgia Shiels was involved in a high-speed crash just four months ago.

With her contagious smile, the 18-year-old is unfazed by the incident and eager to prove her steel in the male-dominated world of motor racing.

Georgia crashed out of the Jim Clark Rally in May but after escaping unscathed the self-confessed “speed-junkie” is determined to up the ante.

Since she flipped her Abarth 500, the speedster dusted herself down to upset the odds and bounce back to finish 50th in the ALMC stages rally on the rough roads in County Meath, Ireland in July.

And now the fearless rally starlet from Catterall, near Garstang, has been nominated for Downforce Radio UK’s teenage racing driver of the year award.

And a giggling Georgia revealed her crash has spurred on her recent success.

She said: “My passion kept me going.

“I have had a lot of disappointment in rallying but the achievements make up for it.

“Overall the ups massively outweigh the downs.

“After the crash I thought it can’t really get any worse than this, so I might as well go for it.

“But the risks are part of rallying.”

Away from the track Georgia has just finished her A-Levels at Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School and has recently qualified as a personal trainer.

And the multi-talented youngster was shocked to be one of 30 young motor stars nominated for the Downforce UK award to find the top teenage racer in the country.

She said: “It was a shock really. I was nominated by someone as the radio station asked people to vote.

“People sent in names of who they wanted to be nominated and I was chosen.

“It isn’t just for rally drivers it is for all disciplines in motor-sport.

“I’ve made it through to the second part of the process which is an interview over Skype. I think I’m quite deserving of winning it – I’ve done quite a bit in a short space of time.

“I only started rallying a few years ago and I want to go as far as I possibly can in the sport.

“I just think so far I’ve done well to get where I have.

“To start competing in the British Rally Championship aged 18 is quite something.

“I didn’t realise it at the time but the more people I speak to the more people are shocked, it’s not really the average life of a teenager.

“My family are 100 per cent behind me, they know I’m a bit of a nutter who loves the danger.

“And I’m thankful and very grateful for the support I’ve received so far and I would really appreciate everyone’s continued support.”

Georgia has just taken part in another European race in Belgium and she is hoping to compete in the Cambrian Rally in Wales in October.

She said: “I’ve just taken part in the Tour of Flanders which is part of the Belgian Rally Championships.

“It is quite historical and an event I’ve wanted to do for a long time as the roads are tough and narrow in Belgium.

“Belgium was only the second time I’d written my own pace notes.

“Pace notes are used to describe the route.

“They need to be detailed and include measuring things like the distance between each feature, the degree and severity of bends. They are very technical and really important.

“It was a good test for me to write my own notes and build up my confidence.

“Next up I think we are looking at doing the Cambrian rally, it is on gravel so will mix up the surfaces I’m driving on. And I’m hoping to secure some funding.”

After Georgia finished 50th in the ALMC Stages Rally in Ireland she has caught the eye of the rallying world.

She said: “I wasn’t looking to the times but we beat every other similar car.

“There was a lot of high profile people watching, people I didn’t know would be there and I received some quite exciting emails afterwards. I was just there to have fun and get back on the track so it was a bonus to do well.

“I’ve got some major things in the pipeline for next year, so watch out.”

To help Georgia scoop the Downforce UK Radio Racing Driver of the Year 2014 award vote here: downforce-radio.co.uk/author/downforce/