'I'm hooked on rallying - the thrill of competitions is amazing!'
The thrill of burning rubber is one that is not easily forgotten and rally driver Becky Kirvan has not dealt well with her year off the track.
"Rallying is one of those things that when it gets into your blood, it's very difficult to shut the door on it," says Becky.
"It is very male-dominated, however that's changing."
She is pioneering the sport for more women to take the wheel – although there has been more of a surge in female interest, Becky says that it gives her a thrill to go metal- to-metal with men.
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"I'm one for encouraging more women because it's one of the few sports you can compete against men on equal levels," mum Becky said.
"During competitions there's a lot of pressure and a lot of adrenaline. It's a serious job to do."
To race, you need a whole host of helpers – a team of mechanics and a co-driver to tell you where to go.
The teams can comprise a mix of male and female members but Becky says an all girls' team is a "girls' day out, in a whole different way".
There are so many safety precautions inside the cars – there is a roll-cage, a six-point harness seatbelt, two fire extinguishers and even the driving suit is fire-proof.
"I feel invincible when I'm strapped in the car," Becky said.
But it is not always plain sailing and there can still be mishaps.
During a rally in 2010 her co-driver, Rob Walters, who guides the car and controls the timings, dislocated his collarbone.
During a turn downhill, the car spiralled and dropped hundreds of feet into a valley.
"The car was totalled. We were lucky to walk away from it," she said.
Back when Becky had her first flavour of rallying, she asked for a taster day for her 21st birthday present, which her family did not see coming.
"My parents looked at me like I was crazy," she said.
Although they knew she had an interest in cars, they did not realise she was a full-on petrolhead.
"I'd been obsessing over learning to drive since I was knee-high," she said. "I love trying new things and new speeds."
She had her first taste of speed at Silverstone racecourse, where they taught her how to do handbrake turns and power slides.
"I got really hooked – the adrena- line from driving a car around the gravel track was amazing," says Becky, who is originally from Essex.
"I thought, 'I have to get into rallying'.
"I didn't know anything about it, apart from I liked watching it on the telly."
Immediately she found it an uphill struggle to get into the sport.
Becky joined a local motorsport club and marshalled events but the opportunities to get behind the wheel were scarce.
When she was 26, she entered her first competition, Lady Quest, and won it. It was not that simple, however. There were ten heats and the winners from each race were pitted against each other.
The prize was fully funded rallying for a year and she believes she owes everything to that win.
"If I hadn't won that, I honestly don't think I'd be doing it now," Becky said.
Far from beginner's luck, it was the start of a winning streak that was also down to grit and determination.
"Rallying took over my life from there," says Becky.
"I was rallying every weekend."
She is a dab hand behind the wheel but she still needs help underneath the hood.
Although it is useful to know your cambelt from your carburettor, Becky does not always have her head under the bonnet and has plenty of help from her team at the workshops in Owstwick, east Hull.
She is keen to learn day by day but she emphasises that you do not need to be a mechanic to get involved in the sport.
Hopefully the need for speed is going to be a family trait – her six-month-old, Isaac, went to his first rally three weeks after he was born.
More impressively, it was Becky who was back driving, just three weeks after giving birth.
It is a whole family day out, with Becky's husband, Tim Rogers, keen to get their son into a helmet as soon as possible and Isaac has already been on the sidelines for five races.
The couple met at a rally in Wales, when their eyes met across a starting line. Although there was a spark, they initially decided that the North-South divide would prove too much of a problem.
"We thought it would never work – he lived in Hull, I lived in Essex – but we went up and down the country at weekends," said Becky.
After a year and a half of commuting, Becky moved up to Hull in 2008 with no regrets.
She left her full-time job on the trading floor at global bank Deutsche to up sticks and now works in communications at a chemical manufacturer.
"I really loved the buzz in London but it was such long hours and so high-pressured," the 32-year-old said.
The driver has many strings to her bow and moonlights as a soprano soloist.
"Music was my life before rallying," says Becky, who studied music at Kingston University.
She had a sudden hiatus from the world of racing last year when she found out she was pregnant in December 2011.
Unwittingly still rallying, luckily she found out just after she had taken part in one of her biggest races.
Becky still went to rallies and stood on the sidelines, listening to the cars' engines rev, itching to get back behind the wheel.
The couple were already engaged but planning to wait a while to say "I do" and the big day was hastily brought forwards to two weeks later.
"We live life fast so we thought we may as well get married fast," she said.
Now Becky is in the limelight for her driving, husband Tim has sacrificed his rally days to push her forward.
"He's taking a bit of a backseat and he's now manager of my team," she says. "We couldn't afford for both of us to drive."
For each event, you have to replace six tyres, buy mechanical spares, pay for specialist high octane fuel, not to mention travel and accommodation when you're there.
Becky said: "You don't tend to get cash prizes, but you do get a nice, shiny trophy.
"Last year I came second in the mixed class, which was a big achievement."
The season does not start again until April, so it is all about practising for the next couple of months, then this year she wants to step up to the British Rally Championship.
While she had her time off, Tim made the most of it.
"I said, 'You need to take advantage of the fact the car's in the garage'.
"I picked the graphics though, so it's a bit pink."
Picking up the bill for entering a competition can cost up to £1,000 a time, and another £3,000 to put the car through its paces, so sponsorship deals are like gold dust.
Becky approached KC in 2010 and being a woman came in handy.
"It can be lucky to be a girl in a man's world," she said.