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Life in the fast Layne


Clifton Henry

Life in the fast Layne

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The year was 2005 when Giselle Layne began life as one with her sweetheart Ron Layne, an avid race car driver. It was also in that year, prior to tying the proverbial knot, that young Giselle was introduced to the world of motor racing. Speaking to Easy about her entry into what is traditionally deemed a man’s domain, Giselle said it was after going to a Luke Hill stage and seeing the cars going around a 90 degree bend in spectacular fashion that she became hooked and knew it was something she had to experience. “Just watching those cars approaching that bend and sliding around there, and then seeing the spectators screaming and jumping all over the road, I soon got into the act of running around, jumping and screaming like everyone else.  “However after seeing the way crowd favourite Jeffrey Ullyett set up his car and slid it all the way through the 90 in total control, coupled with the havoc he created among the spectators as he disappeared up the hill, I knew I was truly hooked. I just had to experience the thrill from inside a race car.” As fate would have it, it was not long afterwards that Giselle realised her dream of sitting in a rally car. “My boyfriend Ron took me to Bushy Park one afternoon to watch a rally cross event and succeeded in hooking me up with Nickolas Gill in his 323 Mazda. “Even though it is something I always wanted to do, I was a bit apprehensive about getting into the car. I was there and they strapped me in, and I kept saying, ‘I don’t wanna do it! I don’t wanna do it!’“My boyfriend and everyone else kept saying, ‘Go, go, go, go! Try it! Try it!’ Eventually they fitted the helmet on my head and attached the intercom. When we finally started, I remember telling him, ‘Go, get that car in front of us! . . . Pass him! Pass him! Go! Go! Go!’“When we finally stopped, Nick was laughing and telling Ron and the others, ‘You all should have heard her. She was not worried about the speed of the car; all she was interested in was me passing the guy’. That experience convinced Ron I was ready for the next step.” Of her first experience in competition, Giselle said it was somewhat of a disaster, even though she enjoyed it while it lasted. The year was 2000 and she and Ron were only able to complete four stages in Rally Barbados. The car would not work properly, Said Giselle: “It was a stressful experience.”However, it was not until 2006 when the Laynes tasted some success. They won the Highest Placed Female Competitor title. “The car worked perfectly during the entire rally and Ron drove crazy! We managed to complete the entire rally. It was a great time and a greater feeling after winning the title.”With her confidence in the fast lane growing, it was not long before Giselle moved to the next level. In 2007 she got the surprise of her life when her husband bought her a rally car. “I was so excited at the prospect of owning my own rally car, words cannot describe the initial feeling. However, my first experience in the driver’s seat was hilarious. Both Ron and I had gone to St Vincent to take part in a rally there, where we took turns in the driver’s seat. “The first time I got into the driver’s seat I was very nervous, especially when I headed to the start line. As soon as the starter dropped the flag, I slammed the pedal to the floorboard and was off flying in first gear. Ron shouted, ‘You got to change! You got to change!’  “All this time the engine was screaming and I was like, ‘Change?’ I eventually did; but again, the same thing happened in both second and third gears, with Ron screaming to me to change.“It was after eventually getting rid of all the butterflies and that initial adrenalin rush that I was able to get the hang of it.” Like her counterpart Shannon Kirton, Giselle is awaiting the completion and installation of her new power plant engine which is being prepared for her car. In the meantime she spends lots of time with her three dogs and her two beautifully decorated aquariums displaying a wide variety of tropical fish.Giselle, in her 30s, has a few more dreams which she hopes will become reality. One is to see many more women in racing. “At the moment there are not enough ladies involved. I am also hoping my sister Janine will soon join me in the navigator’s seat and let us have some fun. “My next step is to get involved in drag racing and go-karting. My friend Jackie Linton has joined the new drag racing club and together we plan to sock it to the guys,” she said, laughing.Just back from a very enjoyable experience at the Montreal Grand Prix, Giselle said she was really looking forward to taking the fight to the guys in 2011.

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