Seventeen-year-old Alyx Coby was on the grid in Galway last weekend as the 2021 Motorsport Ireland Karting Championship got under way.
Kildare native Coby had a tough battle on the grid but did well to place second in the final, leaving her second in the Championship.
It was an impressive debut for the teenager given this is her first full season in the IAME X30 Senior Class, which is for male and female drivers aged 15 and over. It was also her first home race in nine months after Covid-19 restrictions have prohibited any form of motorsport in Ireland since October 2020.
Karting races are typically structured with two heats, a pre-final and a final. Both heats act as a points race where drivers are awarded points for good results. In heat one, grid positions are assigned at random while they are reversed in heat two.
The higher amount of points earned, the better chance drivers have at getting a good grid position for the pre-final. The outcome of the pre-final decides the starting grid positions for the main race.
In Heat One, Coby started in fourth place before moving up to second and running out the eventual winner, and setting the fastest lap. Heat Two saw her start in 19th place but battle well to move up to sixth place by the second lap, finally coming into third and a late minute overtake to take second place.
These results meant Coby qualified for the pre-final in pole position. It was a tough battle with the leader but she did well to keep up and placed third in the race. An unfortunate start with the kart getting stuck could have caused hassle but instead she amped up the pressure and clawed back up the grid. The leading driver had already opened a considerable gap at this stage, with Coby unable to reduce it and she took the chequered flag in second place.
Coby spent the winter training with the help of her performance coach, Irish Olympic Hockey star Nicci Daly. Off the hockey field, Daly is a motorsport data engineer and founder of the Girls Go-Karting programme. Daly has spoke previously about the talent that Coby has and where her motorsport career could take her.
“I’d love to see her get to the W Series which is a female-only racing series that’s now being supported in the F1 calendar, so they will support the F1 races in eight different locations around the world.
“I think it will be fantastic seeing an Irish female driving and supporting Formula One and it’s nice to share that experience with someone who you see a lot of talent in.”
Those results leave the Kildare teenager in second place in the Championship as the series moves to Kilkenny in July.
She started karting at 6 and she’s already notched 14 wins and 38 podiums in her career and has firmly established herself internationally as one to watch.
The Championship will also visit circuits in Louth and Meath, with Coby will be hoping to build on her progress and secure her first Championship title as the season draws to a close in November.
She also intends to travel to Italy and Belgium for the final two rounds of the IAME Euro Series later this year along with some rounds of the British Karting Championship.