Hell yes, that sounds like fun! Your bro races under the Mendoza Drag Racing Team banner too, are you and Jackson competitive?
We were very competitive when we were younger but now we’re in separate classes it’s calmed down a bit. I think once he moves up to Super Street with me, that will change very quick! I’m excited to see him in a full size car, I think he will do really well. I hope I get to teach him how to do a burnout, that’ll definitely be great sibling bonding time.
What kind of road car do you drive and what’s your driving style off the track?
Honestly, I drive like a nana. I’m just saving the speed for the track I swear! My daily is an 05 Mazda 6 - you wouldn’t look at my car and think “this girl drag races the BurgerFuel Camaro”.
There are so many! But none of them are fords.
I’d say my dream car would be a 1959 Chevy El Camino or a 1960 2 door Chevy Impala, followed by a 2017 Holden Maloo, or a dirty old commodore - like an old 80’s VK or VN. When I was a kid, I wanted an EK holden like my Dads - but painted barbie pink with purple flames.
But then there’s the dream race cars. To be safe, I think one race car for each class will suffice. But I would definitely love Doorslammer, or a nostalgic FED that had a lot of history in NZ. I have big goals in life!
Career highlight to date?
Definitely getting sportswoman of the year in 2019. To have what my efforts recognised like that was amazing and humbling, especially at that age.
Another one was winning Wellington Invasion at NAPA drag way in Meremere this year. It was an awesome day and the Camaro drove hard, and that was the moment I felt like had made my parents and Matt most proud. I rewatch the video of the Finals all the time, just to hear my Dad and Matt cheering at the end. I felt so supported all day, by the boys and girls from Team Wellington, the other local racers and all the crew. NAPA dragway really made the effort to make us feel welcomed and went the extra few 1/4 miles for us.
That’s incredible. Do you have a dream track, either locally or internationally, that you’d like to experience one day
I would love to watch NHRA 4 Wide Nationals at Las Vegas. But to race at - I want to tick off every track in the country. COVID cancelled that for us this season so fingers crossed we can try again next season if I’m given the opportunity again. So far, I’ve been to Masterton, Meremere, Taupo and Tokoroa. Just have the South Island ones to go!
Who do you draw inspiration from? Are there any drivers that you look up to?
There are so many people within the sport I look up to for not just their driving capabilities.
Tamara Silk, Vanessa Lilly and Karen Hayes are a few female drivers I’ve followed since I started racing. I’ve watched them make milestones and set records in their respective classes, and are definitely great role models for other females wanting to get into the sport.
I also look up to Josh Trybula in the Bad Habit Coupe and Ben Winters, who is one of many awesome photographers. Both were diagnosed a few years ago with different types of cancer. They are living embodiments of the saying “live everyday like it’s your last”, and are stark reminders that any day above ground is a good day.
Another racer I look up to is Ryan Sheldon, in the Joker Plymouth. Not only is he a great driver, he also helped revived the Wild Bunch class, and brought a new audience to drag racing in New Zealand. His efforts will last for seasons to come!
I also idolise my Mum and my Dad. My Mum is a tough lady, who has been through a lot throughout her life and doesn’t take crap, but is still kind hearted and will go out on a limb for anyone. My Dad is a very very smart man, I think he has a crystal ball for a brain, especially when it comes to anything with a motor. And another important mention is Rodney Benjes from DB race cars. He is a talented racer, but is also one of the most awesome people in the sport. He is so supportive of every person that goes down that strip. You’ll almost always find him at the startline helping someone!
And can you tell us a little more about yourself? Do you have any hobbies outside of motorsport.
I live and breathe drag racing! My life basically revolves around it. I also enjoy hot rodding with Dad - we often go to the Rodders Breakfasts held monthly, along with a few hot rod runs and garage raids.
I’m also a very creative person, I enjoy all things arts and crafts!!