Warboys banger racer Steph wins national title

Banger Racer Stephanie Street, with her trophies, at her home in Pidley.

Banger Racer Stephanie Street, with her trophies, at her home in Pidley. - Credit: Archant

When you’re successful at something isn’t it nice to have your family there to celebrate with you?

It wasn’t much of a surprise to Stephanie Street that her family helped her celebrate after she won a national banger racing title last week. To be honest it’d have been a surprise if they hadn’t been at the Norfolk Arena, King’s Lynn, at the very moment she was crowned Gold Roof Champion.

After all, her dad Andy, granddad Alan and partner Lee Wilderstin are her support team and mechanics.

And then there’s her younger sister, Natasha. She just happens to be a banger racer, too, and just happened to be in the same final.

Steph, who is 27 and lives in Warboys, was a bit reluctant to talk about her triumph when we called.

“I won it by default, really,” she said. “I crossed the finish line in second place and was more than happy. Then they told me the lady who finished ahead of me had been disqualified because her car was below standard.

“That made me champion, although it took a little while to sink in.”

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If you don’t follow banger racing I will divulge all. You and 20-30 others get into a car and pretty much look to reach the front of the field by any means available to you. You have a number of laps of a circuit in which to bash, crash and, yes, race past others.

Not likely to win any safe driver’s award in this sport, eh?

Steph was leading the 14-meeting series at the end of August. She missed a few races after that but accrued enough points to start on the second row, on the outside of the grid – effectively fourth – in the final.

“I was taken out early and was near enough at the back after four laps,” she said. “But I made my way back to second place and that was where I thought I had finished. Happily –although not for the woman who was disqualified – I wound up with the trophy.”

Sister Tash, who did start at the back, wound up fifth so it wasn’t that bad a night for the Street clan.

Whatever possesses women to positively thrive on car crashes?

“It’s in the blood I suppose,” said Steph. “Dad was a banger racer, his brother, Ivan, did bangers and now races two litre stock cars, granddad drove grasstrack meetings. And my partner, Lee, has also been a driver in the sport.

“I didn’t actually start until 2011, when women’s banger racing became a Formula recognised by the national association,” she continued. “By then Tash had already been driving for a year.

“It’s now a really successful formula with 25 to 30 female drivers at every meeting.”

She drove a Rover Tomcat in the final. It’s number was four, the same as Uncle Ivan when he raced bangers, while colours were those of dad Andy when he was a competitor. Coincidentally, sister Tash was in car 444 (dad’s old number) while her colours were those of Uncle Ivan.

“I have always been interested in cars,” said Steph. “Even as a child I preferred cars to dolls. I’m not that interested if a car is too slow.”

Wonder how that sits with dad, who is a sergeant in Cambridgeshire Police!

Not that Steph is a shrinking violet in terms of work, either. She trains prison custody officers – she was one herself – which again shows she’s probably someone you wouldn’t want to argue with.

Mind you, her banger success was emotional and she felt more nervous than in any other race.

“It had been a tough month or two for the family,” she said. “Granddad’s brother died two days before the race, so I wanted desperately to win it for him. I had granddad come round on the parade truck with me. It made the evening extra special for me and the family.”

One thing intrigued me. Above all others.

What do the sisters do when they’re on the track racing against each other? Do they make a point of crashing each other out?

“Er, no,” said Steph. “We try to avoid each other because mum doesn’t like it!

As it happened Mum Susan and Nanny Jen were there to cheer the siblings on and there was no reason for any lectures.

Indeed, the girls are best of friends.

The season doesn’t start again until next March, so what will they do with themselves for five months?

“I expect we’ll go shopping,” said Steph.