The Boyle sisters, Glenda and Jasmine, from Manorcunningham, are gearing up for their first event together at the 2017 Joule Donegal International Rally this weekend.
Rallying is nothing new in the Boyle household. Their father, Martin, and their uncles, Liam and John, are well-known around the rallying circuits of Donegal and beyond.
On Friday morning, they’ll roll their Class 22 Honda Civic off the start ramp on the Port Road and get their adventure underway.
Glenda is an experienced driver at this stage, but for Jasmine it will be a first taste of competitive action. They had entered last year, but after the delay in the delivery of a gearbox they had to withdraw at the eleventh hour.
“The buzz around on rally weekend you can’t get anywhere else,” Glenda says.
“I have had a few mishaps, but it’s a great rally.”
Their Group N Civic is in competition with the likes of Donegal Town’s Liam McIntyre, Bristol’s Nick Barrett and Antrim’s Liam McFall in what promises to be a competitive class.
Glenda, a Birmingham-based schoolteacher, says: “We have a wee chance of getting something on Sunday.
“We’re in there with Evos and good machinery.
“Just finishing is an achievement because it is such a tough rally in Donegal. There’s no pressure – all we have to do is finish!”
For most of her career as a driver, Glenda has been partnered by another sister, Kylie, but this weekend it’s Jasmine who’ll ride shotgun.
The 19-year-old will compete for the first time – but it relishing the task.
“This will be my very first competitive event. I’m excited to do it. I can’t wait to get in and get at it,” Jasmine says.
“We haven’t done much. For me, it’s just trying to keep calm.
“It’s very proud to see our names on the list. It’s nothing to Glenda. She’s done it a few times, but it’s my first. We have always had two females in the car. Kylie used to do it with Glenda, but she’s in England now based.
“We just want to enjoy it. Seeing as it’s my first event, I’ll get eased into it – but a three-day event maybe isn’t the best way to do that! But at least with three days we’ll have time.
“I can’t wait. We’re just counting down the days really.”
In a male-dominated environment, it could be something of a daunting experience – but not to the Boyle sisters.
Rallying has just been a way of life.
Jasmine says: “My family has always been in to rallying. We have always followed the rally. I’ve always been at the rally. We used to go and watch it in big groups.”
This weekend will be no different and the Boyles will be out in force on the famous stages.
In 2005, Glenda won a ‘Women in the Hottest’ challenge. As a prize, she got to rally a Peugeot 106 in the UK and Ireland with an entry in the ‘Stars of the Future’ class in the British Championship.
She says now: “We did the Isle of Man and we did different rallies in a Pugeot 106. It was great that experience. It was a full year of all expenses paid – arrive and drive. I still have the 106 in the shed, but it hasn’t been out in a while.”
In 2011, Glenda and Kylie were 30th in the Circuit of Ireland and a year later they were 24th overall in the Donegal International Rally.
As Jasmine graduates to the co-driver’s seat, the event takes on a new meaning but the old magic is still there for Glenda.
She says: “It means everything. Absolutely everything. You get lifelong experiences from it and I can’t wait to get out there again now.”