The British Army Motorsport Association (BAMA) has taken the opportunity to highlight its Women in Army Motorsport initiative after successfully hosting the final round of the inaugural Extreme E series.
The Jurassic X-Prix unfolded on Bovington Training Area from December 18 – 19 2021, as a last-minute substitution to the cancelled Patagonia round. It was testament to the Army’s logistics capabilities that the tank training ground was quickly turned into a viable racing arena, with soldiers helping to marshal the event. Extreme-E shares many of the same values as the British Army, with its focus on sustainability and gender equality – each electric SUV is piloted by a male-female pairing – the most pertinent.
With female participation prevalent throughout the event, the British Army Motorsport Association is now highlighting its very own women in motorsport, and the initiative that it hopes will grow their numbers.
Still in its early stages, the Women in BAMA group hopes to foster female talent and encourage young soldiers to try out the male-dominated sports of car and motorcycle racing. British Army Motorsport has existed since the 1960s and in its modern form comprises eight disciplines of 4×4 Navigation, Sports Car racing, Karting, Stage Rallying, Trials, Enduro, Road Race and Adventure.
Media Lead for British Army Motorsport, Craftsman Laura Thomson, 103 Bn REME, is behind the idea.
“Women have historically been under-represented in the military and motorsport, and with both sectors now moving towards more equal terrain, I realised that Army Motorsport was at risk of being left behind. We have some incredibly talented female competitors within our ranks but we are still greatly outnumbered. I hope that by creating such a group, we can advertise the opportunities and encourage female soldiers to venture into the exciting world of Army Motorsport. The recent Extreme E at Bovington was testament that women can compete successfully on the same level as men in Motorsport.
“And above all, it’s important to highlight that as well as being a lot of fun, the skills and strengths gained within Army Motorsport – from logistics to physical endurance – are directly transferrable to a soldier’s military career.”
Private Maisie Dove, 3 RLC, is currently the only female member on the Army Enduro Team. She elaborated on what Army Motorsport brings to her job.
“Enduro is a very physically and mentally demanding sport, so the two work in harmony. If I am fit and strong for my sport I am therefore fit and strong in my job. Equally the mental strength I am developing from the sport carries over in to my work environment.”
She continued: “I have ridden motorcycles and competed from a young age but never imagined I could have such welcome support from the British Army as an adult. The opportunity to train and enter some of the world’s toughest races had been beyond my wildest dreams and with the Army providing both the crucial time and encouragement to further my sporting potential, I feel certain I will be the best that I possibly can. I have been made to feel very welcome and certainly a valued team member. I wouldn’t hesitate to encourage women to take up motorsport in the Army.”
Colonel Lucy Giles, Member of the Women in Defence Governing Body, Chair of UK Armed Forces Orienteering and Director for the Foundation of Leadership through Sport, commented:
“The Women in Army Motorsport initiative is a brilliant idea to set up a forum of like-minded individuals that can provide a supportive peer network and a strong voice amongst the British Army Motorsport Association. I have been involved in sporting teams since I joined the Army 30 years ago and recognise the power that can be harnessed from this approach. There are some amazingly talented women out there, so let’s get into top gear, drive up the revs and accelerate forward!”