If you follow driftng in the UK, you will be familiar with famous names such as Matt Carter, Mike Marshall and James Deane. Along side these names there are some drivers that are noticed for other reasons.
Julie Robinson is a drifter who has competed in the British Drift Championship from the first event back in 2008. Belinda Challis can be found at Santa Pod doing drift demonstrations when not competing in Driftcup.
Another female driver aiming to further her drifting career is Michelle Westby. We caught up with Michelle to ask about her back ground, her hopes and aspirations for the future.
‘I’ve been a bit of a “Tom Boy “ all my life. Also had a fascination with cars and speed from a very young age. I passed my test the minute I turned 17 and went and bought my first sports car straight away ….. Not many people had an Mr2 at such a young age ! I learnt to appreciate speed and handling very quickly in that car due to it being mid-engine and rear wheel drive. I had done a few track days and enjoyed these immensely but I always felt like I wanted more of a challenge. I then decided my full time job wasn’t enough on its own to fund a race car, so I started to look for extra weekend work to try and fund this bug that had started to grow’.
This work would come in the form of being a grid girl for Time Attack and the European Drift Championship, it was while at one of these event she spoke with one of the drifters.
I hadn’t heard or seen drifting before so when I worked this event for the first time, I remember watching the drift cars going round, I stared wide eyed in amazement. From then on I decided I had to give this sport a try. I was lucky enough to get talking to a couple of the drivers and one said about going to a practice day and he would teach me the basics , this was an opportunity I took up straight away.
As most drifters will tell you, once you have experienced the thrill of going sideways, there is no turning back.
From that one drift practice day at SantaPod at a ‘drift what you brung’ days, I was well and truly hooked ! From then on I pursued more weekend work in modelling and promotions to help buy a more suitable car to build in to my very own Drift Car. I was lucky enough to get Grid work for major Race Events such as British Touring Cars , British GT, British Super Bikes and British Drift Championship.
A Nissan S14 would be Michelle’s car of choice, for a number of years the car would be treated to the modifications. Practice days and demonstrations where perfect to get used to the car, but the urge to compete was getting stronger.
3 years on from building my car and doing Drifting practice days for fun, I decided I wanted more from drifting the more I progressed. Having a competitive mind and attitude, I decided I would love to start competing , having worked at a few British Drift Championship events I knew I wasn’t ready for that level of competition. When the Drift Cup series was announced replacing licensing days and the feeder in to the BDC, I knew this was my chance to start competing!
Michelle soon found that competitive drifting is far from the free spirit of practice days and demonstrations.
After competition in few Drift Cup events during 2014, I soon learnt that competing can really affect your driving because of nerves, this is what I am currently struggling with. I seem to be a more confident and a competent driver on practice days compared to competition days. With each round I, do I seem to be learning to calm the nerves little by little. With more seat time and twinning practice I hope to work my way up the ranks this year so I am already excited for round 2 at Norfolk Arena. I plan to qualify higher than I did at Round 1 at Rockingham and really hope to win a battle which I have yet to accomplish !
You can catch see Michelle in action at round 2 of the championship at the Adrian Flux Arena, kings Lynn.
The event take place on the 14th May and the all important finals start at 6.30pm. Come along and see if she can win her first battle!
Discounted tickets are available from the shop!