Carbon Positive Motorsport catches up with co-driver Cat Lund
In the next of our next ambassador features, we talk to Cat Lund, who is not only is a well-known competitor, but also a brand ambassador for Carbon Positive Motorsport with an important place in our team and story.
We talked to Cat ahead of the McRae Rally Challenge, where she was competing in the event's Junior Rally, co-driving for Daniel Taylor in his Citroen C1.
Picture of Andy Rowe and Cat Lund competing on the East Riding Stages courtesy of Paul Marshall
CPM: Hi Cat – it's great to focus on you in our ambassador feature rather than our usual work-related calls! but for those who may not know our story – how did you get involved with Carbon Positive Motorsport?
CL: Did you want a short reply?!
As you know the motorsport world is a close one with many interconnections. Although Paul and I didn’t know each other, Paul had heard I built websites and reached out to me for my help with another project. As we worked together we discovered many mutual friends and shared interests.
When Paul told me about his vision for Carbon Positive Motorsport I was able to share my experiences from Rockingham, working to make the circuit carbon neutral in 2009 and 2010 – the first circuit in the UK as far as I know to do so.
I was thrilled to be asked to create the website for CPM. One of my roles as a website designer is to simplify difficult concepts in order to make them understandable and accessible for more people, while staying true to the vision of the client. I hope I’ve achieved that.
I’ve always had concerns about the conflict between motorsport and the environment. Because I love gardening, I’ve always tried to put something back by creating an organic garden at home with lots of wildlife friendly planting, but the idea that Paul and Steve have come up with means that we can all finally start to act to make a difference on a bigger scale. I’m honoured to be an Ambassador, promoting this great concept wherever I’m competing. Joining together with others means we can invest in some fantastic projects actually on our doorstep which will really make a difference to the environment - like gardening, but on a massive scale!
On Trackrod Rally Yorkshire with Andy Rowe - courtesy of James Ward, Chicane Media and Jakob Ebrey Photography
CPM: How did you get started in motorsport? and what was your attraction especially to rallying?
CL: I remember as a child spending holidays with relatives, and my Uncle Pat would always watch the Grands Prix. This was in the days when Formula 1 was still interesting, and I was hooked.
I think the first event I ever went to was a banger race at Hednesford Raceway, then I worked in a shop for a while after leaving school and got chatting to the only customer who ever bought Autosport magazine. He was a DPRAC member and took me to Donington in his Porsche for a meeting.
There weren’t really race or rally schools in those days like there are now, or I would certainly have gone to one. In fact there wasn’t really any way of finding out how to get involved in motorsport, no websites or anything like that. The internet was only in it’s infancy, nobody had computers and Google hadn’t been invented! It seems unthinkable now. The only way people could learn about motorsport was from a friend already in a club, from Autosport, or from the odd thing on television like Grandstand or Top Gear Rally Report.
After university, I decided I would get a job in motorsport, having no idea how, I once again turned to Autosport, which had a good job section at the time, and I saw an advert for mechanics for Silverstone Driving Centre. The ad mentioned “due to expansion” so I sent a letter to them which basically said ”If you’re expanding, you need me” and they asked me for an interview. I was so nervous, but a young Martin Rowe (who would become British Rally Champion in 1998) happened to be in the reception area and he chatted me up while I was waiting which took my mind off things! I expect he’s forgotten now, but he was so friendly it really put me at my ease and I got a job working with Paul O’Brien, the SDC director.
We had a lot of fun working for SDC and used to party with the instructors and of course it was the rally boys who were the most fun. I was driving an Alfasud at the time, the 1.5Ti Quadrifoglio, and I decided it would be fun to go and do a Sprint at Croft. The rally boys gave me some tuition at Silverstone, I got my licence, fitted a timing bar and some ducting to cool the inboard brakes and drove to Croft to take part in my first ever sprint, run by DDMC. Then I drove back home again! No van, trailer or service crew.
My partner Andy Rowe is the one who made it possible for me to compete on rallies though. I think he had been looking for a partner in crime, and when we started going out we did a few events together so I could upgrade my licence, then built our first Evo (M963FUA) for the Omloop van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders, a Belgian Rally Championship event). That was a great car and we used it for a few years, winning the Flanders International Rally Challenge in 2010 and 2011, competing in Belgium against people like Patrick Snijers and making a lot of friends and memories along the way.
Picture of Andy Rowe and Cat Lund on Omloop van Vlaanderen courtesy of Koen De Meyere
CPM: You have been very active in the BWRDC, why’s that organisation so important to you and our sport?
CL: Originally I loved the idea of belonging to a really prestigious club that had years of tradition behind it. Obviously working at Silverstone I’d heard of BRDC but they didn’t let women join, so the BWRDC (the British Women Racing Drivers Club) was the next best thing. Then as I got older I realised how important it is to have a club that stands up for your values. It doesn’t matter how prestigious they are, it’s how they back you up that counts. The support and respect that BWRDC members have for each other is why I stayed with the club.
The BWRDC was essentially started because women racing drivers had no changing rooms at Silverstone, but the men did. Attitudes towards female competitors have changed, but there is still a place for a club which supports and champions women. There are still some issues women encounter which they don’t feel comfortable raising in a mixed group and our Club aims to give women space to raise them. We offer friendship, guidance, help, advice and mentoring. We also have some really fabulous trophies!
Picture of Dale Glover and Cat Lund on the Malcolm Wilson Rally courtesy of Ben Lawrence
CPM: You have a lot of experience co-driving with many drivers – this year in addition to your regular co-driving partnership with Andy, you are co-driving for Daniel in the Junior championship. What makes you enjoy sitting with such a variety of drivers?
CL: I should say right at the start that my favourite driver is Andy, not just because he’s my partner, but because when he’s behind the wheel it’s like poetry.
It’s an absolute joy to co-drive for him.
Why do I sit with so many drivers? Andy gave me the rallying bug and we can’t afford to do that many rallies together, so when I’m asked by friends to sit with them I can’t resist.
I competed for a couple of years pre-covid with my dear friend Ady (Adrian Drury of Drury Deliveries) in his little yellow 106 because he wanted to do the Protyre Championship which included rallies like the Manx. You can’t say no to an opportunity like that.
Picture from Rally Wervik of Adrian Drury and Cat Lund courtesy of Ginver Ginver
I also do a couple of rallies a year with another friend, Kevin Haselden, in his Mini. He’s great fun to rally with as well – he only ever does epic events like Ypres and there’s always great food involved too!
Picture of Cat Lund and Rob Brook at Cadwell courtesy of Jeff Bloxham
Another of my drivers Rob Brook, who runs Clubman Motorsport, is a good friend and also a client, and we did the championship he sponsored last year and promoted both our businesses at the same time.
Dan’s mum Cathy and her partner Mike (who run the LotusBits Rally Team) have become great friends and I was very honoured to be entrusted with Dan’s welfare in the junior championship. They want Dan to have the chance to rally for a year, have some fun and see if he likes it. My plan was to concentrate on sitting with Dan this year and just do the occasional rally with Andy, but somehow I’ve already found myself sitting in with two new drivers this year! I guess I am just addicted to rallying.
Picture of Dan Taylor and Cat Lund courtesy of LotusBits Rally Team
CPM: Thinking of that next generation of drivers and events in the future, how do you view the challenges the sport faces today?
CL: There’s a whole range of challenges for rallying, more so than any other discipline I think.
You can’t pin down the sport and put it neatly in a box. Motorsport UK understandably want safe, regulated, controlled, disciplined, accountable motorsport, but rallying isn’t like that. It’s a think outside the box, do things your own way, risk-taking, thrill seeking sport. How are we going to keep that character and still manage the risk? How are we going to grow the sport? It’s going to take some special people to come up with some great ideas.
I’m a passionate advocate for closed road rallying, because I see it as a great opportunity to bring the sport to the wider public, to generate interest from the younger generation, and to interact with mainstream everyday life. Closed road rallying has far more chance of reaching and touching the lives of the wider community than any other form of motorsport. When done well – like the recent East Riding Stages Rally – it can only create a positive impact.
Picture of Andy Rowe and Cat Lund competing on the East Riding Stages courtesy of Carl Wiles
We can even square the circle of wasting precious resources for our fun, as with Carbon Positive Motorsport we can now demonstrably make restitution for our environmental impact. For example, the East Riding Stages was the first UK event to offer it's competitors the opportunity for carbon offsetting, and they also fully offset the carbon footprint from fuel usage for all spectator travel to the rally.
The CPM offer also allows the clubman competitor to continue to use older cars. The next challenge I see us facing is how we’re going to move the clubman competitor from fossil fuelled vehicles to electric vehicles. There are loads of competition vehicles out there that people are invested in - not just in rallying - and I can’t see that people will be prepared to give them up. How MSUK handles that will be a huge challenge.
CPM: Final question – and it's looking to this weekend’s celebration of Colin McRae – apart from the rally itself, what are you looking forward to most?
CL: As always, I really enjoy the social aspect of all the events I compete on, and I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making some new ones. Despite my long involvement in motorsport, I‘ve never been to Knockhill, so it will be great to get there at last! Finally, the event will be a great tribute to Colin McRae who was such an inspiration for rallying worldwide - and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
To keep up with Cat's rallying adventures, follow her on facebook @fastestcat or take a look at her rally website fastestcat.co.uk - and if you need a website, you can secure her services via catlund.com
It only costs a little to make a big difference for the sport, so whether you're a competitor or spectator, why not join with us to help make motorsport sustainable. To become Carbon Positive yourself, visit our website www.carbonpositivemotorsport.com