02:35AM, Friday 28 February 2014
Motorbike racer Heather Belcher is hoping to rise through the ranks of the sport and go wheel-to-wheel with the best in the business.
On Saturday and Sunday, she completed a course at Brands Hatch to obtain her race licence.
Heather, who is manager of the Pinkneys Arms in Lee Lane, is now confident she can break the sport's gender barrier.
She said: "It's very, very male dominated."
"On Sunday it was curious to see how much faster I was then quite a few of the guys. It's very interesting."
The former pupil at Newlands Girls' School in Farm Road added: "I just want to win really."
Heather, whose ultimate ambition is to race in Moto GP, is entering her rookie season in the British Motorcycle Racing Club's 400CC class.
Between April and October she will ride in eight races, at tracks including Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Donnington Park.
Heather took the plunge after taking part in a track day in October last year at Silverstone with Maria Costello.
Maria once held the women's record for the fastest lap in the Isle of Man TT.
Heather, 21, said: "She said 'go for racing, just do it'. So that's what I'm doing."
Heather's dad, Roger, says it was apparent that his daughter is a natural as soon as she got behind the handlebars aged 16.
He said: "She really wanted to measure her ability. The only way to do that was to race against other riders."
The dad-of-three says that Heather has a cool head which sees her thrive in the wet conditions, which often put off other riders.
Roger, who helps maintain and tune the bikes, added: "She does seem to have an appreciation of the danger, she's quite sensible. You win races by strategy, you do not just go flat-out."
With race weekends costing up to £800, the father-and-daughter team are looking for sponsors to help move Heather to the next level.
Email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org
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