Kate's on the podium

WINNERS: Kate Catford and Paul Stokell at the Targa Tasmania rally. Image provided by Lotus Cars.
WINNERS: Kate Catford and Paul Stokell at the Targa Tasmania rally. Image provided by Lotus Cars.

An ex-Jamestown resident Kate Catford and her rally partner, Paul Stokell have taken out a podium win at the recent Targa Tasmania.

Known as the ultimate tarmac rally in the southern hemisphere, Kate, 32, has been striving towards this win for the past nine years and was absolutely delighted when she found out they had won the second race in the Australian Targa Championships.

It is really just a sport that I was lucky enough to fall into...

Kate Catford

"My immediate family know how much it means to me to win a Targa Tasmania and understand it is a prestigious event and 120 people enter competitively each year. To come out on top, at a national event like that, they knew how much it meant to me," Kate explained.

Targa Tasmania, an endurance race, runs over six days and takes teams and their vehicles through 33 stages as they lap around the island.

Kate and Paul were racing in a Lotus Exige 350 sport, a 3.5L V6 'super car' as described by Kate and have gone to prove that the car can perform in rally conditions.

Over the six days, Kate was the navigator, whereas Paul was driving. She would call the pace notes to successfully navigate Paul through the windy roads as quick as possible.

She explains that the pair never expected the win, especially racing within a pool of highly experienced and competitive drivers and teams.

"I would never have predicted the win, it was a very tough competition this year with a very high calibre of drivers and teams.

WINNERS: Kate Catford and Paul Stokell at the Targa Tasmania rally. Image provided by Lotus Cars.

WINNERS: Kate Catford and Paul Stokell at the Targa Tasmania rally. Image provided by Lotus Cars.

"It was very nerve wracking and Targa is an endurance event, so everything and anything happened. By day four, we took the lead. It was only the last couple of days that I realised we were in the lead that we had quite a healthy lead and we had to try and maintain it," Kate said.

Career wise, Kate works casually as a registered and theatre nurse in Warragul, Victoria and has pursued both dreams of being a nurse and successful rally car driver.

She acknowledges it is such a peculiar sport but was lucky to become addicted to something she was so good at.

"It came about was nine years ago I started tarmac rallying with Tristan Catford who is another Mid North boy, their family were heavily involved in motor sport and I got involved through them.

"It is really just a sport that I was lucky enough to fall into, I excelled in it and then became my passion and focus," Kate said.

Looking forward, both Kate and Paul will try and hold their podium position throughout the next two Targa races later this year..