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Home Advantage

We speak to Paige ahead of a homecoming race at Croft, her local circuit



Paige Bellerby racing in the VX220 earlier this season – Photo: Phill Andrews Media ©

‘Tactical, patient, persistent’. This is how Paige describes her driving style, and given the manner with which she has dealt with challenges this season it seems these words aptly describe herself too. We caught up with Paige before Round 3 of the Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship on the 6th May, held at her home track: Croft Circuit.

CW: Why is racing at Croft important to you? Does a home advantage really exist?
PB: Croft has always been one of my favourite tracks, even from when I used to watch my dad racing when I was growing up. It’s special to me for many reasons, with one being that it is where I have taken my most event wins. I’m not sure about it for any other drivers, but a home advantage definitely exists for me.

It’s also really important to me to be able to have the support of my family, friends and sponsors, and being my home track, I always have so much support from everyone at the circuit. Having that with me really does take the edge off the nerves and makes the experience so much more enjoyable.

CW: Describe the course to us. What’s good and bad about it?
PB: Croft is a great track to compete on and I’ve had a lot of my best races there. I love the combination of fast straights followed by the long right handers into the tight chicane – it provides excellent racing and has to be one of the best tracks for spectators to come watch at.

A downfall of Croft’s is that it’s the only circuit that doesn’t have a joker lap available. These are a crucial part to a rallycross circuit now and provide a lot more mixed racing, and drivers are able to use this to their advantage throughout the race.

In comparison to other rallycross circuits, Croft is slightly shorter and is very much a power track. You really must be able to commit yourself to every corner and give it maximum attack to get the edge on your competitors. Croft doesn’t provide many overtaking opportunities so you have to create them yourself and that’s got to be one of the best challenges, especially when you succeed.


Paige Bellerby led the Super National category after round 1 last year at Croft Circuit – Photo: Phill Andrews Media ©

CW: For you, what makes the perfect circuit?
PB: The perfect rallycross circuit… It’s got to have a jump! With a mixture of 60% tarmac and 40% gravel – you want to be able to build up good speed. A rallycross circuit should provide plenty of overtaking opportunities to provide the best racing not just for drivers but also spectators. You’ve got to have a joker lap in there in case any driver is being held up and needs some clear space.

CW: You’re using a VX220 after some bad luck with an engine supply earlier this season. What happened and do you think this has affected your performance?
PB: The VX220 was a new car for me to adjust to but at the same time it’s the same chassis as the Lotus and we put the Lotus’ suspension onto the car along with a few other bits to still allow me the best chance. I wouldn’t say it has affected my performance as such, however we suffered with engine issues in the first round which massively affected my championship points.

The second round proved a lot better as we made some adjustments to the car and managed to finish second. My new engine for the Lotus will soon be ready and it will be back in action better than ever; we just have to put 110% effort in to make sure we make up for the bad result at round 1. I’m not too worried about this though; I have a great team behind me and I’m confident I can bring it back.

CW: After winning ‘Best Promoting Driving Team’ at the British Rallycross Awards, have you made any changes this season?
PB: I’m extremely proud of my team for achieving this award. It’s more than fair to say we all work extremely hard to not just promote ourselves and sponsors but also the sport. Going forward into the 2018 season we are always looking at different ways to go one step better in promoting all aspects of rallycross and our team as it is just as important as winning races. Changes this year include a new race awning and clothing with all our sponsors’ logos around the cars. We want to provide maximum coverage for everyone that supports us in what we do.

CW: How are you feeling with five races still to go?
PB: I always try to be positive about the remaining race season. After the difficult start we’ve had this season I have no doubts it is going to be hard but I’ve never been more ready. I’m extremely confident with what we are going to have once the Lotus is back on the track and I know we can still achieve great results. I have the most hard working team and support behind me which just encourages me to do better every time.



CW: How has Christopher Ward and the Challenger Programme helped you so far?
PB: Christopher Ward has promoted me exceptionally so far this year and I’m truly grateful for their efforts. It’s really great to have this extra support behind me and I’m looking forward to what the remaining years are going to offer. CW have set up newspaper and TV interviews for me which is not something I’m used to but I’m really enjoying learning how to publicly promote myself and CW. I was amazed at the variety of unique watches CW had to offer on my visit and am in love with my new moon phase watch. CW: How have you been wearing your new CW watch?
PB: I wear my new watch daily to all events I attend, including race days, and although I can’t wear it in the car, it certainly goes straight back on my wrist after races. I’ve never been one to wear watches but the moon phase watch provides comfort to my wrist and style to everything I wear.

CW: Describe your driving in three words.
PB: Tactical, patient and persistent.

CW: Describe the ultimate road trip.
PB: Taking an electric blue Ford Mustang up route 66.

To learn more about the programme and our other exceptional challengers, visit the Challenger Programme.


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