It’s always a good feeling when you find your life’s calling and for Tasmanian Sheridan Budsworth, hill climb could well and truly be her motorsport purpose.
Quickly establishing herself as one of the most popular figures in the Tasmanian hill climb scene, Budsworth's exciting style of driving and her stunning car often pulls a crowd at the events she attends.
But what makes her and her Skyline R32 so popular?
It’s not that she’s a woman or that she is often fighting it out for outright victories and podiums, it’s most likely the fact that she is possibly the only driver in hill climbs and motorkhanas who can drift her way around the course.
While it looks difficult, it comes as second nature for her due to her time in the drifting world, where she was highly respected and had fun, but didn’t have the competitive drive to try and win events.
That all changed when she made the decision to join the North West Car Club and branch out into hill climbs, which came so naturally to her, it was only a matter of time before she started getting good.
Having become a bit of a cult figure in the sport, a result of being approached at many events by fans or other competitors, Budsworth admits that the attention was difficult at first, but she has since learned to embrace it.
“It’s taken a while to have that belief in myself that I know what I am doing. Over the past couple of years, a lot of people I don’t know have been coming up and talking to me at events,” Budsworth said.
“It was hard to originally accept that people were paying me this sort of attention, but it made me proud of what I am doing.
“I might be doing okay and getting good results now, but I certainly wasn’t when I was starting out. We have to start from somewhere and I find it really rewarding that initial hard work is paying off.
“As I stick with it for longer and longer, I feel like I am getting more passionate about the sport. Especially when you get those people come up to you and say you inspire them. Even at motorkhanas, I have begun to have people come up to me telling me I am a draw card and I am the reason they are there competing.
“It just feels amazing to be considered a role model for some of these young people coming through. I would hope people find me approachable and certainly if anyone wanted to ask me questions, I would be happy to offer any advice.”
Despite being one of the only women in the field at the events she attends, Budsworth never lets that get in the way of her performances with the 38-year-old comfortable with her position in the sport.
“People say they come to watch these hill climbs because of me and I think that it’s good to be a woman in that position. It would give a lot of younger girls a feeling that they can do it too,” Budsworth added.
“Obviously I get that attention not just because I am a woman, but because I am a competitor and a contender for outright wins.
"When I put the helmet on, I don’t myself as anyone different and just another entrant. I expect to be treated the same as anyone else, which I am.
"I am super supportive of not just girls wanting to approach me for advice, but also boys. I just love our sport and the more people we have competing, the bigger our family grows.”