Launched alongside our newly updated Rapide Collection at the beginning of September, our Need for Speed Competition was established to discover the first motorsport-related candidate to join our Challenger Programme, a scheme dedicated to supporting grassroots-level individuals with world-class potential. After working through a number of applications, we eventually whittled them down to two. But we hit a problem: we were so impressed by the two remaining entrants and their dedication towards their sports, we couldn’t choose between them.
Which is why today we are delighted to announce two brand new Challengers, racing driver Jody Fannin and Rallycross driver Paige Bellerby.
Based a sprint around the M25 from our Maidenhead HQ, Jody is a 24 year old racing driver based in South Godstone, Surrey. Racing is in his DNA: he is named after 1979 F1 World Champion Jody Scheckter, while he remembers the first time he sat in a kart as the moment he knew he wanted to become a motorsport professional. Having visited Le Mans aged 7 – setting himself the target there and then that one day he’d return to compete and win – Jody progressed from karting to the motorsport circuit, with wins following at the 2012 British GT4 Championship and 2017 European LeMans Series GTE Championship.
With experience racing at internationally acclaimed circuits such as Silverstone, Spa and Monza, Jody’s most recent competitions have also had him racing cars including the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 and Ferrari 488 GTE. We look forward to hearing more about Jody’s plans for 2018!
Transitioning from smooth asphalt chicanes to ever-so-slightly more uneven terrain, rallycross driver Paige has too been raised at the altar of motorsport. Born into a racing family – Paige had her first car aged 7, which she raced around their Yorkshire farm – she joined the rallycross circuit as soon as she was allowed. Within a year, at only 14 years old, she became the first female to ever win a British Rallycross Championship.
Now 21, Paige is looking to compete for next years’ British Championship, as well as elevating her driving skills to an international level in RX2, also known as the FIA World Rallycross Championship. For the uninitiated, head over to Youtube to educate yourself on the realities of the competition: there’s full-on contact between racers; cars overturning; jumps, thrills and extreme power-sliding. It’s a riveting watch, and we hope to see Paige involved soon (the right way up, of course!).
Jody and Paige visited Christopher Ward’s HQ on the same day, with both making such an impression on co-founder Mike France that he ignored the Need for Speed’s single Challenger prize and signed them up immediately. “We’re thrilled to welcome both Jody and Paige on board the Christopher Ward Challenger Programme”, Mike says. “We established this Programme to ensure that up-and-coming sportsmen and women have the support they deserve and it’s clear to see that they both possess a real talent in their sports and we look forward to working with them on their journey to success.”
Watch out for interviews with Jody and Paige in due course!