The need for speed

July 26, 2016
Errol Crosby/Photographer. Ashli O'Connor posing in front of the 'Swiftune' banner at the Vernamfield Drag Racing track on Sunday.
Errol Crosby/Photographer Ashli O'Connor's Subaru Impreza (right) races ahead of a white Toyota Starlet at Vernamfield on Sunday.
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"I love the speed, I love the adrenaline, it keeps me going and I feel sexy when I am driving a standard car,”
In her day job she is pretty medical representative Ashli O'Connor.
   On the National Drag Racing Circuit (NDRC) track she is transformed into  one of the most feared female drivers around.
 
  O'Connor who turns many heads as she  journeys around the island in her bullet fast 1996 Subaru motorcar, competed in Sunday’s Supligen NDRC race meet number three in the 16 second class, clocking 15.1 seconds on her first run.
“I love the speed, I love the adrenaline, it keeps me going and I feel sexy when I am driving a standard car,” she told STAR Sports.
O’Connor is a full-time employee at Irad Disposables & Supplies Limited in Jamaica and her job takes her all over Jamaica. Everyone, she says, appears to be fascinated about a girl driving a standard car.
   “I always get stopped. Everybody, it seems, has to have a conversation with a girl driving a standard car. All want to know 'if it fast or not',” she said.
   Little do they know, the former Glenmuir High School student and University of California graduate is one of two females who race under the Swift Tune Subaru Racing Camp out of Barbican, St Andrew.
She has completed a degree in Neuroscience, and now works as a medical representative, while remaining passionate about drag racing.
“I’m a big part of Swift Tune, always at the garage working on the car, always helping.
"It’s a car I love and I don’t think I am going to improve it for now, or change it for now. I want to consistently win a class either 16 or 15 (seconds) before I move on to something else,” she said.
The car has a two-litre turbo engine, with stock clutch and manual transmission.
    She is no ordinary driver.
“No way I am gonna back down from a challenge, I had a Honda that tried to race me in Portmore the other day, and he stalled at the traffic lights so that was very funny,” said a cheerful O’Connor, who joked at some of the responses from males.
“ Friends can’t believe that a 'stush' girl is racing. I tell them anybody can compete, even your regular car you can modify it a little and  compete in the slowest class,” she added.
 

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