Kerry Hufton, after a long love affair with Ultra4 Europe, made her debut as co-pilot at BF Goodrich King of Spain Les Comes. She is certainly not the first woman to sit next to the pilot in an Ultra4 rig but it is interesting to feel her story and her impressions just after her first time in a race.
Photography and story by Paolo Baraldi
My first meeting with Kerry Hufton took place in Wales when she was in charge of media for Ultra4 Europe. The memory is that of a very helpful and nice person with whom it becomes natural to establish a relationship of esteem and friendship. From that day there have been many opportunities to meet her on the competition fields and each time has always been a pleasure. From media manager, Kerry became part of Wep Racing WSR team. This new role has not changed her and with her smile she has always been able to bring serenity even in the hardest moments of the team.
Kerry Hufton: her first time as a co-pilote in a Ultra4 rig
This year, the first race of the Ultra4 Europe championship took place in Spain and as usual I went to greet the teams in the paddock. I meet Nicolas Montator and Kerry Hufton in the pit of Wep Racing WSR and talking, I discover that this year it will be Kerry who navigates Nicolas in the race. I immediately ask her some questions related to this decision and we agree to an interview after the race.
Here my exclusive interview with Kerry Hufton
- When and how did you meet Ultra4 Europe?
I first met Richard Crossland through a mutual friend around 8 years ago and shortly after he invited me to join a local 4x4 club NCGL (Northern Counties Green Laners). Through this club I became involved with Ultra4 Europe.
- Tell me about those early days, what did you do for U4E?
In the beginning I would help with anything that needed doing, course marking, merchandise, admin, social media, but my role developed more towards looking after admin and media over time.
- Do you practice off-road vehicles before Ultra4 Europe?
My love affair with 4x4 began around 30 years ago when my friend let me drive her Land Rover 90. It had no power steering and a tricky 3rd gear and I was hooked. I’ve had a passion for the 90 ever since but I didn’t own my own until around 7 years ago as the reality of family life made it a little impractical as a daily drive. My son and his friends we’re into 2 wheels and most of my weekends were spent at motocross tracks and holidays to Western Super-mare for the beach race.
- What's your job?
Most of my career has involved horses and I worked in Equine Nursing for around 10 years. I now run a canine Hydrotherapy Pool which I opened 12 years ago and it’s possibly one of the best jobs in the world.
- What does the world of Ultra4 Europe mean to you?
Ultra4 Europe is like a huge family. I’ve met so many friends and I’m very proud to be part of it.
- At one point you became a member of the WEP Racing WSR team, how?
That is a very very long story... to tell in another interview.
- What is your task in the team?
Chief car cleaner and race event domestic goddess and kickass co driver.
- You've been to the King of the Hammers with the WEP Racing WSR team, tell me about your new experience
Well everything is just a bit bigger over there ha ha. Dress for every season in 1 day and plan plan plan. It was an experience of a lifetime being on the lakebed with all our friends and I enjoyed every minute of it. If your a girl on the lakebed check out the ladies off-road network, I did their welding workshop and it was brilliant.
"If you ever get the opportunity to go in a Ultra4 car grab the experience with both hands and go!"
- This year in Spain did you start as co-pilot of Nicolas Montador, was it the first time you sat in a race car in the race?
I’ve sat in the car many times but yes this was the first time in a race situation, the tension on the start line is electric.
- What were your feelings before the race started?
Nervous excitement pretty much sums it up.
- What did you think during the pre-raunning and patrol of the prologue?
It was a great course and the car felt amazing out on course and as I didn’t need to get out it was an easy lap. The calm before the storm!
- What did you think just before the first start of the prologue and just after the start?
I had just seen a car flip itself over just off the startline of the prologue so I was anxious that we take the first 100 meters off the start steady and once that was cleared it was go but the prop shaft decide not to play the game and 5 seconds after we were off course. I was so disappointed but with lots of team work we were up and running again and back on the start line for our second prologue lap. We finished in 8th position which I was very happy with.
- What are your co-pilot tasks?
In the car I’m another pair of eyes, looking for course directions and any hazards. Out of the car I’m another pair of hands to help change a wheel or anything that the race might throw at us. I’m also responsible for the winch.
- Tell me about your first race experience.
The first lap at Les Comes gave us rain and mud, it was everywhere and visibility was difficult. The car was going great until we picked up a puncture and then a steering belt snapped. We stopped to change them and this was no easy task with the mud on the car. Other issues saw us take early retirement from the race but the experience was great.
- Surely we will see you again in the race in France, how do you prepare yourself?
The plan is I will co drive the whole series and with a busy home life this needs lots of planning and support from family and friends, and our sponsors BFG Tires, spidertrax, Access Cars, Visionx, Rugged and WSR Parts and Chassis who without non of this would be possible.
- Finally, what is it like running with your partner?
It’s a great experience to share together out in the car. Nicolas is a very experienced driver and I have every confidence in him. What happens in the car stays in the car.
- Anything else that you want to add?
If you ever get the opportunity to go in an Ultra4 car grab the experience with both hands and go!