An all-female car team is hoping to take the rallying world by storm and raise awareness for a charity along the way.
The Mini Girls Rally Team, made up of 16-year-old Emily Easton-Page, from Banchory, and Louise Thomas, 45, are looking for sponsors for their future rally competitions and to raise awareness and funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care for which Louise works as a nurse.
The pair, who first teamed up in August last year at a test event in Wales, compete in their specially-customised Mini which is decorated to highlight their support for Marie Curie.
Since then, driver Louise, from Mull, and Emily, who acts as co-driver, competed in the gruelling three-day Mull Rally last October and even picked up the award for Best Presented Car.
Louise said: “When we met up, we instantly got on like a house on fire.
“The Mull rally is really demanding but we got to the end which was our aim. “To win an award as well was fantastic.”
Both Emily and Louise come from families that are passionate about rallying where they both picked up the bug.
Banchory Academy pupil Emily said: “My dad’s a rally driver and I’ve been around them since I was seven.
“Legally, you must be 14 to rally. It was the day after my 14th birthday that I took part in my first event in Crail with my dad.”
Louise added: “My family is very involved in rallying but I started when I was a lot older than Emily.
“I wish that I had got involved when I was her age and it really appealed to me that I’d be helping and supporting somebody at the beginning of their career in rallying.
“She’s remarkably focused and does such a professional job.”
When the pair joined forces, they instantly knew they had something special.
All-female rally teams are unusual in the sport and the promising pair are proud to be representing women ralliers in style with their customised Mini.Emily said: “A lot of people are surprised to see an all-female rally team. We were the only women’s team that competed in the Mull Rally out of 170 teams.
“We want to show the boys that girls can do it too!”
Louise said: “I started rallying in 2000 and I’ve always competed alongside women.
“With the car being so novel and two women competing together, it attracts lots of attention
“It’s a male-dominated sport but the men that compete are so encouraging and supportive.”
She added: “We don’t ask for special treatment – we just get on with it.”
With their sights now focused on competing in the HRCR Minisport Mini Cup, the pair are hoping to give the boys a run for their money in the competition as they support Marie Curie.
Emily, who is currently sponsored by Deeside Classic Campers and Minisport, said: “We’re so excited for the rally.
“It’s a historical championship, especially for Minis.
“We want to raise awareness for Marie Curie through the rally but we desperately need sponsorship to be able to make it.
“Marie Curie is such a special charity and working with them is really like being part of a family.”
As a Marie Curie nurse, Louise’s close relationship with the charity goes back several years.
She said: “I lost my mother to breast cancer in 2008 and I wanted to give something back because my mother was cared for by a specialist Marie Curie nurse so I joined them in 2011.
“I had grown up caring for people, and so did she. It’s really in memory of my mum. It’s a wonderful charity and people are so grateful for the support.
“It’s such an honour to work for them and a very special job.
“We want to make sure that we’re raising awareness about what Marie Curie do as well as money.
“I raised £3,500 a few years ago for Marie Curie and it’s wonderful to be able to combine two passions – it feels really good.
“Hopefully we can achieve something even bigger and better this time.”
The Mini Girls Rally Team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and facebook.com/minigirlsrallyteam. Emily can be reached at facebook.com/EEastonPage.Codriver