Carol Marr: Scotland’s female extreme driver inspired by dad

Image copyright Steve Williams Image caption Hannah Smith was tutored at school by her father Jeremy

Scotland’s first female extreme driving off-road driver has proved she can excel in a male-dominated sport.

Hannah Smith, 18, started competing in off-road vehicle classes in 2012 when she was just 15.

She proved she was better than 99% of the girls who competed across 70 different categories in the Junior British Motorsport Championship.

At her current best result, she placed fourth in the Super Mini Class at this month’s Speed Week in Stirling.

Ms Smith, who lives in Paisley with her family, said: “There’s no question I’m one of the best girls in the British championships.

“Girls need to just be seen and to know that you can do what you want.

“If anything happens, your life just gets better.”

Image copyright Steve Williams Image caption Hannah now runs her own web design business

Wearing a pink vest and with her hair braided in ‘Tara’s chair’, Ms Smith’s leg was pinned to one side to allow her to steer while her father directed the race through the woods and along the gravel.

In the Super Mini Class, the competition starts off at 17mph, with riders performing all the drags and holding back turns to stay as neutral as possible while driving a mini chassis.

Her dad, Steve Williams, 50, taught her to ride off-road as a teenager when she would take him to local roads to see how the vehicles worked.

Mr Williams is a former off-road racing driver and now helps his daughter compete.

She was tutored at school by her father before competing against the boys on Scottish tracks.

Image copyright Hannah Smith Image caption Hannah said she feels inspired to get on the track

Ms Smith’s off-roading career is not about her breaking records, but giving girls the confidence to think they can do it.

At the same time, there are still very few women in extreme driving sports.

Women only account for 2% of the nearly 17,000 competitors in the British championships, according to the Junior British Motorsport Championship website.

Ms Smith, who now runs her own web design business, said: “There’s nothing wrong with girls doing extreme driving but if it’s only around a few girls, why do girls need to do it?

“I just don’t like seeing girls everywhere looking ill. I just like to see girls healthy and happy because that’s what I like doing.”

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