THURSO motor racer Heather Calder has been crowned queen of the racing track after becoming a British motorsport champion.
She is thought to be the first woman to win the British Sprint Championship title since 1970.
The 27-year-old clinched the coveted title at Knockhill in Fife, with three rounds to spare. It was a family affair for the Calders as dad Colin was the runner-up in the championship, having won it for the last four years.
On her way to the title, she also broke a number of track records, including the flying lap record at Knockhill which was held by a Formula 1 racing car.
Heather, who designs pipeline bundles for SubSea7, has previously been a runner-up and placed third. She and Colin drive a Gould GR 55 3.5 litre car which has a Nicolson McLaren engine.
“I am absolutely delighted to have won the championship. I have been doing the sprints for a few seasons now so it is great to win the title. It is what I have been working for. It is a strange feeling to beat my dad… but it is great that one of us has won it.”
Heather travelled more than 5000 miles to take part in 10 rounds of the sprints over the season but it was worth it as she achieved seven wins and five outright circuit records.
Mum Marina says she is delighted with Heather’s success.
She said: “We are delighted to have managed to keep the title with the car for the fifth year in a row. It is great for Heather to win the title and Colin to be the runner-up. They both started competing at the same time. They took part in the Scottish sprints for a few years but have been involved in the British championships for about eight.”
The British tracks tend to be longer and faster than the Scottish ones with the drivers reaching speeds of up to 186mph.Seventeen competitors took part in the championship and came from all over the UK, although Heather and Colin are thought to be the only representatives from Scotland.
Events take place at various tracks around the country, including Knockhill in Fife and in Northern Ireland, but most are staged in England and Wales.
Heather says she will now take a well-earned rest, but plans to defend her hard-won title at the start of the next year’s season which begins in March. But she may also try her hand at circuit racing or hill climbing.
But whatever she does, she will be looking for sponsors to help her continue in her sport. Meanwhile, this weekend Colin and another daughter, Louise, will be taking part in the Golspie Sprint which is being run by Caithness Car Club.