Off Road racing can often be perceived as a male dominated discipline, but there is one particular driver looking to break that stereotype and inspire young women.
At just 17-years-old, Perri Guidolin has proved that it doesn’t matter what age or what gender you are – off road racing is a sport that anyone can enjoy.
Just over two years ago, Perri’s father Jo bought a second-hand buggy for her and her twin sister Peta with the hopes they would compete in local off road events.
He had raced a buggy for years and felt it was time his daughters got the chance to forge a career of their own.
While the girls were shell-shocked at first with their dad’s latest purchase, one lap around the backyard at their Port Augusta home and they were instantly hooked.
“Our introduction into the sport was a little weird, as our dad went to Adelaide for a work trip one day and came back with a buggy for us,” Perri said.
“We were only 15-years-old at the time and very confused, but he explained that it was our time to race after had raced himself back in the day. That first experience around the backyard was fantastic and we were instantly in love.
“We have always had quads and other machinery like that around the house because we live rurally, so there is lots of space to do stuff like that. We loved doing things like this already.
“We also really liked watching Bathurst but I never really thought I would be doing something like that myself. Couple of years later, there I am in my own race car.”
The twins had decided they would share driving duties each day, with Perri to take the wheel first as she was the more confident of the two.
When the duo eventually attended their first ever event, they were nervous. And they had every right to be as they didn’t even have their road licenses yet and they were entering unknown territory.
However the twins secured their licences, held themselves well and as they continued to race throughout the year, they improved significantly, picking up results in their out-dated 2015 Can-am Maverick.
As their skills grew, so did their confidence and soon these 16-year-olds were holding their own in the SAORRA multi club series, finishing the year in 12th outright and second in class.
“I was so nervous leading up to our first event. It’s a big responsibility to take on – especially with someone else sitting there,” Perri added.
“We also didn’t know anyone which made us a little more nervous but as soon as we got into it, it was fine. It’s such a big community and we made lots of good relationships.
“Being a girl, it’s a big thing going into a male dominated sport but they all made sure I was okay and I was comfortable. It was very nice to know I wasn’t being judged for being in the sport.”
In 2019, Peta was unable to commit to the sport, however Perri continued to race, with her twin sister joining on her on the one occasion throughout the year.
With an updated Can-am x3, Perri got even better as she continued to get more races under her belt and by the end of the season, she had secured sixth outright and first in her class.
While it was a thrill for Perri to do so well in just her second year, she believed her performance stood for much more than just a simple off road racer.
“I feel there is a big stigma about girls being able to navigate and can’t drive, but here I was beating around 60 men at just 17-years-old, so I proved that we can do it,” Perri explained.
“I find it a huge achievement I am not just making up the numbers, I am doing well because I am breaking all the stereotypes and showing that it can be done.
“I think there is lots of talk around sports that women can’t reach the same level as men I am really grateful that I get the opportunity to prove that thought wrong.
“Gender shouldn’t be holding us back so my advice to other girls my age would be to get out an try because it’s lots of fun. Take the chance and give it a go.”