WHEN Susan Pollonais puts on her seat belt and helmet aboard Paramount this morning she will make history, becoming the first woman to compete in the A Class 130 miles per hour category of the TT Great Race.
Pollonais will be a navigator for Paramount in the 50th edition of the Great Race today, which begins at 7.15 am. Women have taken part in the Great Race before, but not in the A Class category which is the fastest category in the competition.
Pollonais, who went through a test run with her team-mates yesterday morning, said it is a great feeling to be the first woman to compete in the A class. “It is amazing. Donald Webster who is the throttleman had mentioned it to me a few weeks ago...the more I thought about it the more excited it sounded,” Pollonais said.
The Great Race is a male dominated event, but Pollonais said growing up with a lot of brothers has helped her step up to the challenge. “I grew up in a household of five brothers so, I grew up in a patriarchy and I think I could handle my own, honestly. I was a bit of a tomboy and I think it is exciting, why not look back at something amazing in your life,” Pollonais said.
The name Pollonais will be a popular name in this year’s Great Race, as two of her brothers will also be participating.
“I also have two other siblings racing this year as well. One is also in the A Class, he is in Cat Killer and I have another brother in the 110-mile an hour class and that boat is Global Warmer. So it is three Pollonais,” she said laughing.
There is expected to be a lot of rain over the weekend, but Pollonais said the race should proceed as normal. “We had lovely weather this (yesterday) morning and we went for a test run and the water was calm. They were predicting some bad weather, so we will have to wait and see. They have never cancelled Great Race, they have postponed it. Depending on how terrible it is (it may affect the race), but hopefully it won’t come to that.”
Pollonais said rainy weather may affect the race saying, “It will affect visibility and you might get a lot of debris in the water so safety would be an issue.”
Asked who Paramount has to look out for in this year’s competition, Pollonais said all the boats are in contention for the crown.
“Who Paramount has to look out for, who they don’t have to look out for? I think it is going to be a good run for their money all round. They have a foreign boat Lucas Oil, (Motul) Monster, Cat Killer and of course Mr Solo Too. Solo has been in it for years. I think everybody is waiting with bated breath to see what is going to happen.”