Harrogate girl's race to success

Alice stands with her racing Mini and her 2014 Autograss Ladies' Nationals trophy.'Picture: Adrian Murray
Alice stands with her racing Mini and her 2014 Autograss Ladies' Nationals trophy.'Picture: Adrian Murray

A Harrogate girl has called on businesses in the town and beyond to help achieve her dream of becoming a professional race car driver.

Alice Robshaw-Hughes, 21, started in motorsports at the age of 14, following in the footsteps of her racer dad, Steve.

In the past Alice has relied on her dad for financial support, but with her little sister also entering the world of motoring, Alice must look for sponsorship to continue.

She said: “I eat sleep and breathe motorsport. it’s not only my passion but it’s my life.

“As my talent gets better and I learn more I need better equipment and that all comes at a cost.

“With my little sister getting into it, my dad is having to help her, so this is where I’ve got to take it on my own shoulders and try and do it for myself.”

Starting her career at amateur level in the Autograss junior classes, Alice has faced doubts over her potential because of her gender.

Alice said: “I would get double glances. I’ve never been the girly girl, to put pink all over my car so no one would ever instantly know I was a girl until I’d get out and take my helmet off.”

“My dad’s friend’s sons would race against me and I’d see their dads have a go at them saying ‘you let a girl beat you’.”

But since then Alice has achieved a number of feats in her racing career and proved the cynics wrong.

For both Alice and her proud dad, the foremost of these achievements was in 2014 when she retained her title of first place in the Autograss National Championships.

Steve Hughes said: “The biggest day she’s had up to now is when she won the national title for the second time.

“To win it once, they can say ‘oh you were lucky’, but to do it again in 2014 and retain her title, that was the most magnificent achievement she ever had.”

After gaining her ARDS license to race on tarmac earlier this year, Alice moved from mud racing and has been competing in the Mighty Mini Championships.

But following a successful first year on tarmac, in 2016 Alice will move to the Hot Hatch Championships, where she will be the only girl on the track.

The move will also mean a change in cars - from a Mini to a Ford Fiesta, and Alice's new car is all set to be displayed at the NEC Autosports Show in Birmingham.

Steve said: "I’m mega proud, when she was 14 I said ‘we've got more chance of winning the lottery than you becoming a professional driver’ but every time we get an achievement the odds are coming a lot more in our favour.”

For Alice, the greatest achievement would be to race professionally, for a team in the British Touring Cars Championship (BTCC)

With her trophy wall growing and confidence building, Alice's name has not gone unnoticed in the racing world and she has even featured on the Girl Racer blog.

If you'd like to find out more, or show your support for her dream, head over to Alice's race fund.