So, was an ability on a bicycle an accident or is there a secret history of extreme sport endeavour? “Well, I grew up rock climbing” she says, nonchalantly. I apply the brakes and stop my bike. With a shake of my head and a wry smile I am done. Time to go for some much-needed refreshment before I end up in an ambulance. Continuing our conversation in a safer environment I find myself on the end of an explanation about how it’s sometimes safer to climb without ropes, “there’s less chance of pulling your partner off the cliff if you fall then”, the logic seems chopped to me, but Amy has been climbing since she was 7 and has scaled various faces in the Alps, so I’ll defer to her knowledge.
It wasn’t only a passion for climbing that began in childhood, but the connection with motorsport as well, as she recalls marshalling on night rallies with father Rob, who with Amy’s mother Emma run’s Amazon Cars, a workshop specialising in Volvo’s of the 60’s and 70’s. The apple rarely falls too far from the tree, and it only requires a brief scan of Rob and Emma’s CV’s to understood how the chromosomal soup came together to form Amy. Rob, formerly an electrical engineer with the Navy and then time spent on marine survey vessels, navigates in historic cars and as well as the four wheeled pursuits enjoys his motorcycles, Emma on the other hand is a driver and worked at one time as an ocean-going geologist. So that’s both two and four wheels covered, and rallying as both a driver and a navigator, all that’s missing from Amy’s copy book is the sea.
Well, actually, that isn’t the case, as it turns out Amy, after graduating from Liverpool University has worked as an ocean-going Geo-Phys scientist, a job that has taken her all around the world. “I worked on non-invasive surveys trying to find oil” she tells me and describes ships that would tow vast rigs of apparatus through the oceans, firing compressed air at high velocity into the ocean bed and mapping the makeup of the sea floor with the returning signals. It’s fascinating stuff but is a world that Amy has recently turned her back on. “You could be away on these ships for 12 weeks at a time and called away at any moment. It’s not conducive to a well-planned life.”
So, what next? Perhaps a move into the family business? Well, not exactly as after spending her childhood in Suffolk her home is now in Yorkshire with Niall. But whilst not keen on a career with Volvo’s she is intent on working with her hands, “I prefer being creative [to the science]” she tells me, “I enjoy creating dresses from patterns, and making patterns, as well as other sewing. I’ve done some work in it before and there are plenty of wedding boutiques in Harrogate, so there’s potentially an opportunity to become a wedding dress maker.” With an academic background and her love of extreme sports the answer takes me by surprise somewhat, but then that is perhaps to underestimate Amy. After all that I have seen I should have expected the unexpected and for someone so clearly multi-faceted, to be considering a move into a creative industry.
In the car though it is the maps that she prefers being hands on with, despite a clear talent for driving, but whichever seat she chooses to occupy in the world of classic rallying, and indeed motorsport, being a young woman is possibly as unusual as being able to switch successfully between seats. We discuss the fact and Amy refuses to be drawn on whether she is or isn’t some sort of role model, instead shifting the focus onto the fact that perhaps there ought to be more of a move to involve young people in general in a sport that often see’s involvement from those at a different time of life, and both her and Niall offer examples of the success of ideas elsewhere that could be applicable to those competing under the HERO-ERA umbrella.
It’s progressive ideas like these, coupled with success that sometimes unwittingly lead people to become a beacon of something bigger. One thing is for certain, at such a tender age there is potentially a lot of success to come, and with her clear talents Amy, and the few others in the sport like her, may yet find themselves the inspiration for other young and underrepresented groups in motorsport, at a time when there are already the undercurrents of a seismic shift in the way that women are seen in sport. The extent to which that mantle is seized is of course up to Amy, whilst the rest of us try and keep up!