Two 17-year-old daughters of well-known racers and a knife-juggling unicyclist barrister are among the eclectic mix of new drivers joining the Caterham motorsport clan this season.

They are among the 56 track newcomers who over the last week successfully completed their Association of Racing Drivers Schools (ARDS) tests at Castle Combe in preparation for a season of competitive action in the evo Caterham Academy.

All passed their track tests with flying colours and will begin their motorsport careers at a sprint event at Aintree in April.

"The examiners from Castle Combe Racing School were impressed by the knowledge and commitment shown by the Academy candidates," said Caterham director of motorsport Magnus Laird. "I’m sure that they will all enjoy a fantastic season and that we are in for some great entertainment."

Seventeen-year-olds Katy Richards and Emma Frost are the youngest of this year’s Academy intake.

Katy, from Itchingfield, West Sussex, is the daughter of multiple Caterham champion Clive Richards, and the granddaughter of ’50s Lotus sports car racer Jack Richards. "I’ve been going to race tracks from the age of about six months," said student Katy, "and I’ve always wanted to compete. Dad’s going to be a great help in teaching me what it’s all about."

South Londoner Emma is only a few years behind her father, Steve, in terms of experience - he took to the track, naturally enough in a Caterham Roadsport, in 2001 at the relatively advanced age of 41. He continued in the Superlight Challenge and latterly the Autosport Caterham Eurocup, but has now sold his R400 to concentrate on helping his daughter.

"I am looking forward to being on the other side of the fence this year," said Steve, "and in helping Emma to get the most out of the Academy. In fact, I’m really very excited about it."

Another illustrious motor sport name from the past is returning via the evo Caterham Academy in the shape of Rick Scannell, son of the late BRDC secretary Desmond Scannell, who was co-driver to Sir Stirling Moss on three 1950s Monte Carlo Rallies.

South Londoner Rick, 44, is a barrister specialising in refugee and human rights law and, when he’s not in court or on the track, likes to relax perfecting his circus skills, which include the flying trapeze, juggling and unicycling.

This year’s Academy sold out in June last year, and places on the 2006 grid are filling fast. The Academy offers the budding racer unique value; cost to compete next year is just £16,495, which includes a road-legal 1.6-litre Caterham Roadsport to keep, the ARDS track licence exam, training seminars and all event and championship fees. Competitors get to sample hillclimbing, three sprint events and four circuit races.

Published : 12/02/05 Author : Melanie Carter

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