Former Spalding High School and Tydd St Mary student Molly Dodd's racing career taking off at Silverstone
An underdog tag isn’t proving to be a roadblock in Molly Dodd’s rise through the motor racing ranks.
The 18-year-old, who attended both Spalding High School and Tydd St Mary Church of England Primary School, decided four years ago that she wanted to turn her passion into a full-time career.
Now, she is nearing the end of her most successful season to date - and lives and works at the world-famous Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire.
“Living at the race track is just another experience. It’s just brilliant,” she told the Spalding Guardian.
“It’s pretty much the gospel of motorsport. Even abroad, Silverstone is the circuit that’s the cornerstone.
“I’ve got a ten-minute cycle to work, so there’s a fair distance between myself and the circuit, and when you wake up on a Saturday morning and hear the cars going round it’s just heaven.”
Molly has excelled during her first season at senior level, having impressed during her time in the Junior Championship.
She harbours ambitions of racing in the high-profile W Series, and was only denied her first senior victory this year by a 30-second penalty handed to her after a transponder failure.
“Ironically when we got the car and turned up to the race weekend with it, a couple of people initially looked at us a bit sideways,” she said.
“Because it’s an historic championship, it’s a lot of older guys that have been doing it since it was a thing back in the 60s, and they told us that a Royale isn’t a front-runner car - you won’t get that to the top.
“Now we’ve been running fifth and third, and we’ve actually won a race in this car.”
Having raced at the likes of Snetterton and Brands Hatch, she has no doubts about where her inspiration comes from - her father Jake, who had an exciting career himself and works round the clock to support his daughter’s dream.
“I remember being five or six and going to circuits with my mum and sister and watching him drive around,” Molly says.
“I didn’t have a clue what he was doing driving in circles, but I remember thinking ‘I want to do that’!
“This year has been incredible.
“We had a bit of a sticky start in that living with a budget, we struggled with getting it going.
“I struggled a lot with confidence, so that kind of hindered me a bit.
“It took me my third year in the juniors to really start to gather some results together.
“We’ve had consistent top-five finishes, and obviously coupled with getting the job at Silverstone it’s just been a kind of ‘when’s the other shoe going to drop’ type thing!”
She looks up to the likes of seven-time F1 World Championship winner Lewis Hamilton, and it is clear she has a bright future ahead of her.
Now, she wants to inspire youngsters herself - and visited her former primary school last week in a bid to do so.
“Growing up, people were constantly telling me, ‘you’re not going to make it, this isn’t for you’.
“I wanted to come here and tell young kids that are going to experience something like that in their lives and say it is possible, no matter what anyone tells you,” she said.
“If you believe in yourself non-stop, no matter what anyone tells you, anything is possible.
“Every time I go out I’m reminded how much I love the sport, and I love it even more the more I do it.
“It’s one thing hopping in and doing it successfully, but going out there and actually enjoying it is a completely other thing. With this car, I find every lap, no matter where I am or what’s going on, I’m just having so much fun.
“I love driving this car, I love the circuits.”