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2014-09-19 10:13

GIRL POWER: Andrea Bate poses with her Monroe Racing VW Polo ahead of the VW Engen Cup at Killarney scheduled for September 27 2014. Image: Reynard Gelderblom


CAPE TOWN, Western Cape - Killarney stunner Andrea Bate will up against some of the best drivers in SA when she lines up in the national Volkswagen Cup events during the South African Championship Super Series at Killarney on September 27.

Andrea, who is also an accomplished motorcycle rider, was a late starter when she ventured onto the track for the first time in 2009.

However, despite not having had the advantage of beginning as a junior kart racer while still at school - like most of her rivals - she soon learned the trade.


In fact she did so well that she became the first woman to be selected for a course at the FIA Institute’s exclusive Young Driver Excellence Academy in France, where her tutors included former Formula 1 drivers like Alex Wurz.

She soon found on her return that the one-make VW Cup is known for its robust racing and where polite terminology like, “ladies first” is unheard of. So much so that she had the unfortunate experience of being involved in one of the biggest crashes on a South African track.

It happened in 2012 when 13 cars were caught up in a horrific crash that resulted in seven  having to be written-off. Although her Polo was damaged, fortunately she was not injured.

Currently contracted to drive for the Monroe Racing team, her opposition at Killarney on the 27th is going to include Tasmin Pepper, the only other young woman in the competition.

Pepper, who hails from Gauteng, has the advantage of a kart grounding that includes overseas experience and began when she was just five years of age. She finished third in the most recent round of the Engen Series and means to do even better at Killarney.

However the girls are going to be up against another Gauteng prodigy in the form of 15-year-old, Grade 9 schoolboy Sheldon van der Linde. Still too young to drive on public roads, Sheldon is in his first season of senior National championship racing, after a distinguished career in karting. He is the current Engen Championship leader and he’s determined to retain his position.

Their battle is certain to be worth watching.

Read more on:    killarney  |  cape town  |  motorsport  |  racing

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