News IWD: Challenge is on for Catford

When Kate Catford was growing up, motorsport was something she would watch on the television.

Events at Bathurst were her favourite races to watch as she constantly dreamed to one day compete there.

As the years went by, Catford was one day asked to jump in the navigator seat in a local rally and while it wasn’t a touring car at Mount Panorama, the young motorsport fan within her inspired her to do it.

From that moment, the full-time nurse was hooked.

Since that first rally, Catford has excelled as a co-driver and has enjoyed a successful career both at state level and on the national stage.

Her most recent triumph in a decorated career was as Paul Stokell’s navigator during the 2019 Motorsport Australia Targa Championship – a Championship which they won and were presented their silverware during February’s National Awards Gala Dinner, presented by Burson.

“I am really excited to be champion of Australia. It’s another feather in my cap,” Catford said.

“I kind of fell into it (rally) by accident to be honest. I always had a burning desire to do motorsport because I always loved watching it on the television. I never actually thought I could do it.

“But then one day, I was asked to navigate, and I fell in love with the sport. I loved the complexity of it, how much there was to learn and how it involved everyone in a big team.

“When I am not rallying, I am nursing so it’s a busy schedule. A lot of people are shocked when I tell them what I do out of work, but I feel you can’t judge a book by its cover and motorsport doesn’t discriminate, which is why I enjoy it so much.

“I love navigating and it’s a challenge. It’s what I feel I am good at. It keeps evolving, I keep getting opportunities and I am happy to keep going and knocking over the stereotypes.”

One of those stereotypes Catford is hoping to break is as a female excelling in a male dominated sport and Catford is hopeful her efforts as a co-driver can continue to inspire young females to get involved.

“There are more and more females coming into the sport,” Catford added.

“It’s great to see more and more women out there. I am proud to fly the flag for women in motorsport at the moment, I just hope more young girls are inspired to join.

“Co-driving is a great avenue into the sport for females because we have a lot of the qualities required. Women are organised, calm in the car and we can do a great job.”

This feature is part of a series highlighting the success and contributions to motor sport from women around the world in celebration of International Women’s Day, taking place on 8 March, 2020.

Motorsport Australia is eager to hear about the women in our sport making a difference, whether it’s as an official, competitor or as an administrator.

If you want to share your own story, like Kate Catford, simply email your story to [email protected] with any photos and you could be published on in the lead up to International Women’s Day.