Women get in the fast lane for charity

RACING down a runway in a shiny, blue open-top sports car, with the wind in my hair and the sun shining down, I began to realise exactly why the Ladies Driving Challenge continues to attract huge crowds year after year.

RACING down a runway in a shiny, blue open-top sports car, with the wind in my hair and the sun shining down, I began to realise exactly why the Ladies Driving Challenge continues to attract huge crowds year after year.

Before I stepped into the Audi S4 Quatro, I was filled with apprehension about what lay in store.

Being a typical girl, I had no idea what a V8 engine was, but I was assured by my co-driver Barrie Marshall, of Ipswich Audi, it was fast. And he wasn't lying.

The adrenalin buzz as we raced along the tarmac at 120mph was incredible, but before I knew it, the ride was over and I was left desperate to have another go – a feeling which was echoed by many of the other women enjoying the day.


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Claire Billett, was part of a team raising money for Heathlands Community Primary School in Ipswich. She said: "It's just been absolutely amazing. Where else could you go and do all these things?

"I was so scared beforehand but I want to go back and do it again now!"

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Sports cars were just one of the many driving options open to women over the weekend. Other vehicles on offer ranged from huge HGV's to tiny Smartcars, as well as quad bikes, four by fours, double-decker buses, diggers and dumper trucks.

Women were also given escorted rides in limousines and fire engines.

Throughout the weekend more than 700 women took part, all raising money for charities of their choice.

Some chose large national charities, while others plumped for local good causes like Cancer Campaign in Suffolk or the St Elizabeth Hospice.

Raising money for Hadleigh's community responders team were Doreen Sillett, Christine Roberts and Annie Hyde-Johnson.

Mrs Roberts said: "I woke up sweating last night thinking about driving those HGVs, but it was nowhere near as bad as I imagined. I really enjoyed it and just want to go and have another go now."

Now in its seventh year, the event has raised over £250,000 for charity and this year's total looks set to stand at more than £30,000.

Frank Turmel, of event organisers Mega, said: "We came up with the idea seven years ago and it's just gone from strength to strength. People come back year after year and really enjoy it.

"Every year we get to a point where we think we'll never do it again because it takes so much organising, but then you come here and see people's faces and their reaction to it and it makes it all worthwhile.

"It's great to see people enjoying themselves while raising such huge amounts for charity."

NDo you enjoy taking part in driving events like this? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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