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Kelly-Anne keeps pace

Clifton Henry

Kelly-Anne keeps pace

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The number of young girls getting involved in motor racing in Barbados is steadily increasing. For a sport that is the envy of all other local sports in terms of crowd support, its future continues to be bright. Twenty-eight-year-old Kelly-Anne Sandiford is a relative newcomer to the sport but is already making a name for herself in the navigator’s seat next to her fiancé Owen Cumberbatch. Sandiford told EASY that she had always been interested in racing. “From the time I was a tiny tot, my uncle used to take me to racing. I also had a cousin, Tony Reece, who I enjoyed watching race, but I only actually got into racing last year with my boyfriend Owen, that was in the Sol Rally Barbados event.“On that occasion we did not do as well as we were hoping because the car had a number of issues which needed sorting out. We eventually got it sorted and entered the Sun & Stars Rally, where we finished second in our group. This has been a great year for us so far. We were fourth overall and group winners in an event staged in Dark Hole in St Andrew. In the warm-up rally we again won our group. It was very exciting for me beating people like Mark Hamilton and Ice Man. That was a great feeling for me.”With their focus set on again doing well in the 2010 Sol Rally Barbados, their dream of taking the top honours in their group was soon shattered after the first stage of the rally.“We had a little mishap in the first stage which threw off our whole day but we still managed to finish every stage and were able to go home in one piece, so that was great. With a never-say-die attitude we bounced back from a poor showing in Sol Rally Barbados to take second place in our group and tenth overall in the rally. I am enjoying it to the max.”For some competitors, racing is about winning, but for young Kelly-Anne winning is not everything. “Yes, we would love to win every time we compete, but whether we win or not I enjoy myself. It is a form of excitement for me, as I am totally relaxed, nothing else to bother you – it’s freedom basically.”With a philosophy of ‘what is to happen will happen regardless’, Sandiford eagerly jumps into the driver’s seat with no inhibitions. “Persons have on occasions come up to me and asked ‘Why are you all doing this together? You have a four-year-old daughter’. My answer would be ‘What will be, will be’. This does not mean I don’t care what happens, but life is about excitement and doing the things you enjoy.”Unlike some parents of other female competitors, Sandiford enjoyed the support of both her parents. “My parents supported me 100 per cent after I told them I was getting involved in rallying.”Even though there have been one or two anxious moments during her short career, Sandiford believes that the most hair-raising moment occurred on her first event in King Of The Hill in last year’s Sol Rally Barbados.“I remember Owen coming up the hill flat-out and almost lost it. Our brakes locked up because of not having a bios valve installed in the car, we were facing a cut-rock and I was saying to myself ‘Wow!’. But I wasn’t too bothered. I remember Owen saying to me, ‘Kelly, don’t worry; I am not going to leave my car up-in here, let’s go!’ Apart from that, there have not been any other hair-raising incidents.”While the final year UWI student and general manager of Nature’s Discount is happy to be in the navigator’s seat for now, she has no intentions of sitting there indefinitely.“Right now it is about getting as much experience as possible. I already have a project I am working on that will see me in the driver’s seat in about two years’ time.“It is a secret which I will not let you in on at the moment, but it is in the works.”