A former Ballymena Academy pupil is currently savouring success in the high-octane world of rally driving.
Paula Swinscoe (nee Gibson) has been named top lady co-driver in Scotland for the past two years, after forming a formidable partnership with Scottish driver Jock Armstrong.
Paula, who attended Ballymena Academy before going to Nottingham University where she obtained a B. Eng, (Hons.) in Manufacturing Engineering and Operations Management, was first introduced to rallying by her father David Gibson, a former Head Boy at the Galgorm Road school.
“I was also a Rally driver and taught her how to navigate and co - drive from the age of 15 and she excelled at it,” recalls David.
She and her husband John Swinscoe, who incidentally was the Race preparation Engineer for the TVR Works Team in Blackpool racing the mighty Tuscans for many successful years, rallied in a self prepared Ford Escort MK 1 and also a MK 2 in the Rothmans livery and came 5th overall behind World Rally Cars on the narrow single track roads of the demanding Mull Rally in 2001. For many years they also drove a variety of Mitsubishi Lancer EVOs with some success in Scotland, Wales and England. They also showcased the first ever EVO 9 to appear in Rally trim in the UK on the Mull Rally.
Paula has been a Co - Driver for Jock Armstrong from Dumfries in a Subaru Impreza for the past 2 years on the Scottish Rally Championship. In 2014 they were 2nd overall and Paula was crowned the No 1 Lady Co Driver in Scotland.
In 2015 they had great success in the SRC Championship with two winning 1st places and three 2nd placings to be crowned the Scottish Rally Champions. Paula also again was the top Lady Co Driver for 2015.
Both John and Paula are Directors of a very successful company called Rallytech Composite Engineering manufacturing all kinds of special parts for rally cars at Withnell Fold near Chorley, Lancashire. The company has played a supporting role in the development processes of the Ford WRC team run by Malcolm Wilson Motorsport who was a regular competitor on the Circuit of Ireland and the Ulster Rallies in years gone bye. They also have had development experience with the Proton Satria WRC rally cars and other recognized Rally Car Preparation teams in UK.
Motorsport runs in the genes as Paula’s youngest son, Archie (10) in 2014 became the Northern Karting Federation Honda Cadet Champion and received his trophy at the Kartmania Show at Silverstone. He is now competing in the MSA Super One Honda Cadet Championship series at ten Kart Circuits in Scotland, Wales and England.
Incidentally Paula’s uncle is Ronnie Trouton MBE, who is the Vice President of the UK Motor Sports Association (MSA).