Newly crowned Scottish ladies rally champion Linzi Henderson, of Carnwath, has been describing the incredible buzz of roaring her Ford Fiesta through a forest at over 100mph during competitions.
Linzi (23) has landed her second women’s national crown – her first came back in 2014 – after beating her female rivals in all six stages so far this season.
She told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette: “I just love the adrenaline rush and the ‘get up and go’ of rallying.
“Drivers can reach speeds of over 100mph if they are confident enough and I have just recently gained enough confidence to do that in competition.
“The new car (above) – a Junior World Rally Car – has made a big difference.
“It is brilliant and being Scotland’s number one female rally driver means a lot to me.
“I have more driving experience than the last time I won the title in 2014 and a different co-driver – Tom Hynd – who has given me more confidence.”
Linzi got into rallying aged just 14 after watching the exploits of her dad Walter – a former Scottish junior champion – who is still competing in rallies at the age of 61 after three decades of action.
“My dad has recently entered three events that I’ve done and he says it was just for practice.
“He tries to get the better of me but he doesn’t realise how close I was to beating him.
“I very nearly matched his times at a recent rally in Carlisle.
“Overall, after driving 48 miles, there was only one and a half minute’s difference between us which is not too bad. For me to get that close to his time means a lot.”
Linzi’s continued improvement has been illustrated by the fact that she has simply blown away her female rivals in events this season, despite the fact that the standard of Scottish women’s rally driving is higher than ever.
“The competition in Scottish ladies rallying is more fierce than it was in 2014,” she added.
“It is much more competitive now than five years ago. All the girls seem to be improving and there is a better atmosphere.
“When I first started it was me and one other girl competing. Now there are six other girls.
“I’m just doing this for the enjoyment, the female drivers aren’t paid.
“Obviously I’ll receive a trophy for winning the ladies title but I think the reward the top woman gets should be reviewed. Maybe not so much receiving money but maybe they should get half price entry fees into some of the rallies.”
Linzi, who has also secured 2019’s Class 6 champion accolade, still has an outside chance of winning this year’s Scottish Junior Championship.
This will be achieved if her male rival Jude McDonald crashes out of the final event of the season in Dumfries on Saturday, September 14.
“If Jude doesn’t finish this last rally then I will win the junior crown which would mean a lot,” Linzi added.
“Whatever happens, the worst position I can finish in is second placed junior.”
Linzi goes into the final event of the campaign next month in solid form, having finished 31st overall and second in class in the latest rally in Aberdeen recently.
“That was a good effort given the high number of entries,” she added.