By PHILIP CHANDLER
Glenorchy’s Anita Sloot is putting pedal to the metal in Cromwell today as one of only two women entered in the New Zealand Saloon GP, run by Speedway NZ.
The 56-year-old, who’s registered to Cromwell’s Central Motor Speedway, will be footing it with 36 other drivers, including the top three in the country, and just one other female, Christchurch’s Billie Woodhouse.
Sloot, who drives a Holden Monaro V8, was one of four female drivers at last weekend’s NZ Saloon Champs in Invercargill.
‘‘I just missed out on the main final but got third in the non-qualifiers’ final which is pretty good.’’
As to how her male rivals react to her, she says: ‘‘Some men don’t care, some have got the
old, ‘can’t have a girl beating me [attitude]’, but in general most of the guys are pretty
She first got into the sport about 16 years ago while she was living in the North Island.
‘‘My partner dragged me down to the track in a silly little Ford Cortina as a passenger, and I thought, ‘I quite like this’.
‘‘Then I started driving and it spiralled from a dirty 2-litre car to a 3-litre production car to another production car and then to the V8.
‘‘We don’t pump a lot of money into it but some of the guys are spending, I hate to think, $70,000 to $80,000, probably more.’’
Asked what she likes about speedway, Sloot says ‘‘it’s the actual racing, just the V8, the smell of Avgas and, outside of the racing, it’s the people.’’
At Cromwell, she expects her top speed will be 90kmh — ‘‘it doesn’t sound a lot but when you’re getting into a corner on dirt …’’
The grade of racing she’s in is non-contact — ‘‘it’s not like the stockcars where they smash each other off the track’’.
‘‘Being fibreglass, you sustain quite a bit of damage when there is contact.’’
She’s had two nasty accidents.
‘‘I had a fire that I got pulled out of, and at the Auckland champs, years ago, I had a huge rollover and got air compression fractures in my back.
‘‘It can go pear-shaped pretty quick.’’
Gates open at 2pm, with racing from 4pm on Saturday.
Entry’s $25 for adults or $10 for kids aged 6-15.