Life in the fast lane with Garstang rally driver, Georgia Shiels
She hasn't passed her test yet but Garstang teenager Georgia Shiels is setting the pace
Teenager Georgia Shiels hasn’t passed her driving test yet but she loves nothing more than the thrill of pushing her car to its limits. And although she first sat behind the wheel just a year ago, she is now hotly tipped for rallying stardom.
‘It’s such good fun,’ she said. ‘When you’re really going for it, at 90 or 95 miles an hour, it’s just pure adrenalin and it’s so exciting.’
The 16-year-old straight A student from Garstang races in the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge and is climbing the rankings even though she is in a minority as one of just two girls, and as a driver without a rallying background.
Dad Antony is a motor sport fan and took the family to an event at Knock Hill race course in Edinburgh, close to where he works as an engineer.
‘She was given the chance to go out in a dual control car,’ he said. ‘She’d never driven a car before but she did that, loved it, and then went out for a drive with the organiser. She came back with a huge grin on her face and we started looking at cars.’
Georgia competes in a one litre N reg Nissan Micra and because the races are off-road, they are open to people who don’t hold a driving licence. And although she is racing against people with much more experience, Antony added: ‘She’s nearly always up there with the best of them, in spite of having a few crashes along the way. I wouldn’t sit in the car with her!’
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And Georgia, who will start at Lancaster Girls Grammar School in September, said: ‘I got the hang of it pretty quickly but there have been some scary moments. I’ve hit hay bales and almost rolled the car – it was at 45 degrees, but I just remembered what I was told and got it right again pretty quickly.
‘I have been thrown in at the deep end and it has been a steep learning curve, but the good thing is that because I haven’t been driving for years I haven’t picked up any bad habits.
‘My mates all think I’m a bit mad, and some of the lads I race against say I drive like a nutter sometimes but I want to be the first woman to win the World Rally Championship. I’m also very keen to get more girls into the sport. I’m proof that you don’t have to be from a rallying background or be a big, muscly guy to race cars – I’m only little.’