Rising Irish rally star Aoife Raftery will switch disciplines to make her rallycross debut in the final round of the RX150 Rallycross Championship next week at Lydden Hill in Kent (November 4-5).
22-year-old Raftery will step into the TSL-backed single-specification RX150 machine just days after competing in the Cambrian Rally in Wales, the final round of the British Rally Championship and the latest event in Raftery’s schedule.
The first female to be selected to join the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, which she has been part of since 2022, Raftery made her rally debut on the Nicky Grist Stages in 2021 and has subsequently driven a range of front-wheel-drive machinery in rallying across the UK, Ireland and further afield, having contested the Junior European Rally Championship this year.
Driving a Peugeot 208 Rally4 in the Czech Republic-based Barum Rally recently, Raftery battled back from early time loss to overhaul many of her competitors and finish as the leading female in a two-wheel-drive machine.
She will add a new string to her bow while posing a threat to both the regular RX150 contenders and other new drivers to the category in the final weekend for the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy support category, which includes a heat race taking place after dark under floodlights on Saturday evening, as she makes her competitive rallycross and rear-wheel-drive debut.
The RX150 Rallycross Championship delivers some of the fastest and most competitive racing in the 5 Nations BRX package, the single-seater, single-specification RX150 machines weighing 430 kilograms, powered by a 200bhp 1000cc motorcycle engines, driven through the rear wheels by six-speed sequential gearboxes.
Former RX150 title-winner Stephen Jones leads the 2023 championship standings and is in the thick of the battle for the crown with event-winner Nick Priddy and reigning title-holder Ben Hardy.
“I can’t wait to compete in my first RX150 race at Lydden Hill. I’ve been rallying over the last two years, but this will be completely new for me. There are a lot of new challenges but I’m ready to take them on and I’m really looking forward to it. This is a great place for me to both have fun and to also work on my car control in something that is very different to what I’m used to, especially at a historic rallycross track like Lydden Hill.”
Ollie O’Donovan, RX150 Rallycross Promotor:
“Like Aoife, I started in rallying and then had the opportunity to switch to rallycross, and I hope she has the same feeling that I did when she races at Lydden. I remember my rallycross debut very well; it was an assault on the senses but I really believe this will only help Aoife in her rally career and whatever she chooses to do in future. She hasn’t been rallying long but has gained a lot of experience in the last couple of years and rally drivers are always great at reading the track conditions, especially when it is changeable, so she can certainly challenge for a place on the podium.”