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How the Bellerby clan is en­joy­ing their sport­ing dis­ci­pline. By Hal Ridge SUB­SCRIBE TO MO­TOR­SPORT NEWS PLUS SAVE UP TO 30% ON THE COVER ER PRICE

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It isn’t un­usual for a father to be fol­lowed into mo­tor­sport by his off­spring, even at the high­est level. Look no fur­ther than Da­mon Hill, Nico Ros­berg or Max Ver­stap­pen. In ral­ly­cross, father and son rac­ing is com­mon­place, but it is rather more un­usual for a driver’s daugh­ter to en­ter the dis­ci­pline.

To have a father and two daugh­ters com­pet­ing in ral­ly­cross, and at the same time, is al­most un­heard of.

Dave Bellerby is re­garded as one of the most ac­com­plished driv­ers in the Bri­tish ral­ly­cross pad­dock, hav­ing won cham­pi­onships in both front- and rear-wheel drive. He has made spo­radic ap­pear­ances be­hind the wheel in re­cent sea­sons, while also help­ing his daugh­ters, Paige, 20, and Drew, 17, to run a pair of cars. In 2015, all three won a Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship event in their re­spec­tive cat­e­gories; Dave in RX150, Paige in Su­per­na­tional and Drew in the Ju­nior divi­sion.

The older of the sis­ters, Paige, was brought up on ral­ly­cross and moved to the sport af­ter a year in au­to­grass when she was 12. Im­me­di­ately com­pet­i­tive in the Ju­nior RX class, she won the ti­tle in 2010 – the youngest fe­male ever to win a Bri­tish ral­ly­cross cat­e­gory crown.

Since mid-way through 2014, she has raced a Lotus Ex­ige in Su­per­na­tional, not too dis­sim­i­lar to that in which her father dom­i­nated the class in 2006 and 2007. Hav­ing got to grips with the su­per­charged rear-drive ma­chine, Paige won the fi­nal round at Croft last sea­son.

Drew will grad­u­ate to the se­nior Swift cat­e­gory for this sea­son hav­ing spent the last two years bat­tling for Ju­nior hon­ours. In both years she’s won events, and only missed out on the ti­tle in fi­nal­round de­ciders. The youngest of the trio says she feels no pres­sure to per­form, de­spite the suc­cess of her father and sis­ter. “All Dad and Paige do is en­cour­age me, and to win is just a bonus for us.” says Drew. “We go out there to have fun and to win is even bet­ter. It was dis­ap­point­ing to just miss out on the ti­tle again last year.”

Ral­ly­cross week­ends for the Beller­bys are a busy af­fair, but ex­pe­ri­enced racer Dave says he wouldn’t have it any other way, and to see his daugh­ters suc­ceed is very nearly as good as rac­ing him­self.

“Paige was com­ing rac­ing when she was only a baby, sleep­ing in the back of a Tran­sit van,” he ex­plains. “Then when Drew came along, soon they were both there all the time. I don’t push them to do it, they want to. Just watch­ing them race is bril­liant – they don’t need to win for me, but when you see them do par­tic­u­larly well, it’s over­whelm­ing. I’m not one to show emo­tion, but it does choke you up a bit. I sup­pose it’s ev­ery dad’s dream. The key to it all is that they wouldn’t have a car to race if they didn’t fix it them­selves, so we all work in the garage to­gether most nights when we need to.”

Build­ing on strong per­for­mances last term, both sis­ters are aim­ing for sil­ver­ware this sea­son. Podi­ums in the Swift Sport class are a re­al­is­tic prospect for Drew in her first year in the class, while Paige is tar­get­ing the Su­per­na­tional ti­tle. “I’m get­ting there slowly with the Lotus,” says Paige. “I’m un­der­stand­ing how to drive it a lot bet­ter. I want num­ber one this year.”

Both girls are keen to see their father race at the sport’s high­est level too. “Nei­ther of us are happy for Dad to just watch, we want him to be rac­ing too,” con­tin­ues Paige.

Bellerby Sr has made the odd Supercar ap­pear­ance pre­vi­ously, and says that is likely to be his next move this sea­son. “I’m rea­son­ably happy to watch the girls race, but I think my next move will be into a Supercar. It’s un­likely to be early in the sea­son, but hope­fully to­wards the end of the year, that’s where I in­tend to be.”

There’s no doubt that in the Bellerby fam­ily, ral­ly­cross runs in the blood, and Paige and Drew are prov­ing that suc­cess can too. ■

Drew is part of a huge ral­ly­cross­ing dy­nasty Drew (l), David and Paige Bellerby

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