If you’re a fan of motor racing, then remember the name: Alyx Coby.
She’s an 11-year-old from Newbridge in Co Kildare, who’s already setting her sights on the F1 starting grid.
The prodigious driver is about to embark on her first full season in the IAME X30 Junior class in karting, in which she will be competing against drivers as old as 16.
She will also be the only girl on the grid and will be clocking speeds of up to 100kmph as she looks to repeat her success in the previous racing category, in which she was leading the field only to have to pull out because a growth-spurt meant she was too tall for the car.
A student at Gaelscoil Chill Dara, Alyx has grown up in a family of petrol heads, led by her father, Gary, who was himself a talented karter.
Alyx was born in Dublin but has lived in Newbridge for the past nine years, during which her prowess on the track has grown. She has already had one race in her new category, at much quicker speeds than she was used to, and she said: “It will be a lot faster but you just click at it and you want to be as fast as you can and get faster every day.”
So far, no female competitor has broken into Formula One, but Alyx has set her sights on making it.
“That would be amazing,” she said. “It would be a dream to get to Formula One. I would probably be the first one there.”
In her karting career so far, she has only had three female competitors in amongst the boys and this year she will be the only girl in competition in her class.
The idea of crashing at high speeds does not appear to faze her either. “In Cadets [class] I had a crash — it was pretty bad but you just shake it off,” she said.
The schoolgirl has yet to have a serious injury, much to the relief of her parents, including mother Frankie, who admitted that motorsports tend to dominate the TV in the Coby household.
“It has been a family thing,” she said of racing, and voicing her support for her daughter’s efforts to make it to famous tracks such as Monaco and Nürburgring in future.
Frankie also believes that in future, there will be an equivalent to F1 for female racers, such is the growing level of interest.
In the meantime, Alyx intends to continue with her regime of early-morning karting sessions on the track, even if it is a hobby that she doesn’t share with her friends.
Supported by her own team, Coby Motorsports, she will be on the grid when the first round of the Motorsport Ireland Karting Championship takes place in Watergrasshill in Cork on March 6. The signs are good — it also happens to be her favourite track. The season is young yet.
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