BAS bringing ‘Girl Power’ to the racetrack
The all-female squad of the Bahrain Airport Services (BAS) racing team is bringing “Girl Power” in a big way to the motorsport-loving community of Bahrain. The diverse quintet is made up of BAS staff and students from the BAS Aircraft Engineering Training Centre (BAETC), all of whom have only been racing for a couple of months.
However, they are already making waves at the highest level of local competition and are showing vast improvement every time they take to the track. The team recently proved they can “hang with the boys” during a highly competitive second round in the 2019/2020 Bahrain Karting Enduro Championship at Bahrain International Karting Circuit in Sakhir. They took on the gruelling six-hour challenge head-on and finished just 22 laps behind the overall winners.
“I am proud of myself that I am here and doing this for the first time in my life,” said Fatima Zainudeen. “We got all the support from BAS experienced drivers. They taught us the rules, how to drive and everything we need to know. “It was great to do this and we cannot wait to take part again.” Aircraft Engineer Marwa Mandeel shared Fatima’s sentiments. “We are an all-female team. There are not a lot of girls in my field of work, which is the same as in karting.
It is nice to have female competitors,” she said. “I am looking forward to doing it again and I want to race for even more laps.” Thanks to their time in the kart, the team members say they have built a high level of self-confidence which they can take with them in everything they do both on and off the racetrack. “We have to encourage women to come and do this; it is nice,” said Fatima.
“It will give you confidence; you will believe in yourself. You don’t have to go and race right away, but at least you have t o c o m e and try it and see what it is like.” Young BAETC students, Jeiel Macaraan, Christina Anieliesa and Alanoud Allawi, are now enjoying the karting experience after dealing with some early nerves. “This is my second endurance race now and when I first started I felt it was really scary,” said Jeiel.
“One of the things I least like to do is drive, but BAS allowed us to try and I’m so glad we did it. “To race in an environment like this and learn new things is enjoyable.” Christina added: “This is my first race and in my opening two laps and I felt a bit scared. But, I got to relax after that and began to enjoy it. This is something anybody can do and it makes us proud to be here. It is a big privilege BAS gave us.” No matter how they place on the final classification or regardless of their lap times, it is certain that the impact this team is making is of great significance.
It is not only good for the company culture but it has also boosted the staff confidence. They are pioneers in Bahraini motorsport and are paving the way for others to follow in their footsteps. “As a woman, it is great to be a part of this kind of sport,” said Maryam Qassimi, who was not a part of the all-female team, but raced as part of the BAS B squad with four other male drivers. “It is great for BAS to support an initiative such as this for us women. It takes confidence to race.
I am sure that we can improve even more in the future and maybe even beat the guys one day!” Jeiel added: “At first I didn’t know it was such a huge thing. I was here just for fun. Now I realise it is a significant thing we are doing and I hope to be able to enjoy it for a long time.”