A Baranduda driver has claimed her first national title.
Katilyn Hawkins snared the Australian Production Car series (B2 category) at Phillip Island in her VE Holden Commodore.
“It probably hasn’t sunk in,” Hawkins said.
But, as is often the case with motor racing, the team had to overcome a number of mechanical issues.
The team was forced to work until 2am on the opening race day to install a new clutch and then had to battle a broken driver shaft during the final race.
“We’re a small team and I reckon we’re the poorest,” Hawkins said.
“It’s not like we have a $100,000 transporter, we tow the car on the trailer.”
Many top-level sports are dog-eat-dog, but other teams donated parts, allowing Hawkins to race.
“That’s what the series is like, it’s very friendly and everyone’s happy to help everyone,” she said.
Hawkins also said the win wouldn’t have been possible without the strong support from her team and businesses, which provide car products.
But, even still, she believes this year’s racing has cost $80,000.
Hawkins’ father Wayne does a power of work and it was his love of motorsport which influenced his daughter almost 15 years ago.
“Dad raced motorbikes when he was younger and I also rode a motorbike in my friend’s paddock,” she said.
“I asked mum if I could race them, but she said no, so I went to karts.”
Hawkins progressed quickly at the Albury Wodonga Kart Club, claiming two national women’s titles at Winton.
Her dad built a Ford Falcon for the-then 15-year-old, who tackled test days and sprints at the same North East circuit.
Set to turn 25 next month, Hawkins had a test drive in the third level of Supercars in 2016 and the dream is to race the elite level full-time.
Hawkins just clocked her top speed of 230kms on Phillip Island’s high-speed track.
“It’s fun and enjoyable and you’re not really thinking about it, for me it’s peace of mind,” she said.
And although more females are becoming involved in Australian motorsport, headlined by Simona de Silvestro in the Supercars, Hawkins has experienced the good and bad.
“You’ll find people that support you and you’ll come across people that don’t,” she said.
“Yeah, I guess I’ve had both sides, men that don’t like it because you’re a female, but generally everyone’s pretty good.
“If you are enjoying it and want to do it, it’s not for anyone else to tell you whether you can or can’t do it.”
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