Suffolk college student sets her eyes on national rallycross title

Abbie McGuinness with her rallycross Mini Cooper

Suffolk teenager Abbie McGuinness has her eyes set on a national rallycross title - Credit: Abbie McGuinness

A Suffolk teenager has set her eyes on a national rallycross title just two years after getting behind the wheel.

West Suffolk College student Abbie McGuinness, 17, only began racing rallycross in 2019 – having already made a name for herself as a young stock car racer aged 11.

The Haverhill teenager is hoping to follow in her father's footsteps, with dad Brian having too made headlines before being forced to retire due to ill health.

Abbie McGuinness with her hero, father and former racer Brian McGuinness

Abbie McGuinness with her hero, father and former racer Brian McGuinness - Credit: Abbie McGuinness

And her journey to replicate her sporting hero is already going well, with the motorsport engineering student being crowned the "future champion of the year" by the BTRDA (British Trial and Rally Drivers Association).

She also came second in one of her first major 1600cc BTRDA Clubman's Rallycross series race last year.

Miss McGuiness said with her father by her side, she thinks she has what it takes to win a national championship.

She said: “My dad is my sporting hero. So, it’s now down to me to keep up the family name in terms of motor sport.

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“I would like to win the British championships within a few years. Then, it would be great to move up to the super cars, get recognised and do this professionally.”

Mini Cooper cars racing around a rallycross track

Abbie McGuinness only started rallycross in 2019 – but previously raced stock cars - Credit: Supplied by Abbie McGuinness

Miss McGuiness added she was drawn to the sport for the adrenaline – and that she wants to show the world that women can do it too.

She said: “I like the adrenaline I enjoy the fact that every race is different.

“In terms of the danger, the safety equipment we use is very secure and the cars are all up to a certain standard.

"I’ve proven that I can be competitive - and being competitive is nothing to do with gender. I absolutely believe that the next rally cross star or Lewis Hamilton could be female."

Her tutor, Leon Wilde, who heads the automotive team at West Suffolk College, said she has his full support.

Mr Wilde said: “We are very proud of Abbie’s achievements and we will support her ambitions all the way.”

Subject to Covid restrictions, Miss McGuiness is set to return to racing for the first big race of the season in May.