Cheryl Spencer, along with husband Barry as co-driver, will be making her fourth trip to Barbados for Sol Rally Barbados 2015.
On holiday in 2007, she had never driven a rally car but, a year later, they competed in Sol Rally Barbados 2008, got married at The Boatyard, and embarked on a remarkable adventure, one which this year coincides with the island taking a closer look at female participation.
“We are coming to Barbados all fresh, ready to go and very excited. On our first visit, I asked Mikey Hassell if I could park his Zero car, the Subaru, and he said ‘No, if you’re going to drive it, you’re driving it up the stage.’ My mouth dropped in shock . . . but I did it! That’s when Barry Gale said I should come out in 2008 to drive. We have never looked back, it has been just the best experience ever,” Cheryl said.
Her entry means there are two women driving in Sol Rally Barbados 2015, along with Shelly Taunt, who has rallied with considerable success in the United Kingdom for the past 20 years. Taunt’s regular co-driver Julie Murphy is one of a record 15 women co-drivers this year, including Shannon Kirton, who was the driving half (with Lisa Roett) of the first local all-female crew to contest the event, finishing three times.
Kirton, who is working with the Barbados Motoring Federation to promote the Women in Motorsport initiative launched five years ago by world governing body, the FIA, said: “My vision is to have women involved from karting all the way to the top. The WiM committee’s aim is to provide an avenue of information and assistance to ladies who have always wanted to compete, or be involved in motor sport in another capacity, but didn’t know where to start.”