Hillclimb

Beatrice Flik

Racing has been part of Beatrice Flik’s life for as long as she can remember. When she sets off to an event, the whole family comes along. And they aren’t the only ones there to cheer her on. Meet a hill climb driver with a surprising day job – and two families.

WHEEL SISTERS: Beatrice, please introduce yourself. Your whole family is involved in motorsports. At what age were you introduced to motorsports? And how? Please describe your motorsports background.

Beatrice: My name is Beatrice Flik, I am 28 years old and live in Althengstett (Germany). Motorsports have always been part of my life. I was born with fuel in my blood and grew up in a racing family. My father has been actively involved in motorsports since the 80s. As a small child I visited all the hill climb events in Germany. I helped my father to clean the tyres and repair racing cars.

I have wanted to be a racing driver like my father for as long as I can remember. I didn’t have the classic entry via karting as a child. Instead, in 2006, when I was 15 years old, I entered active motorsports. I started as part of the young talent promotion initiative of the German ADAC e.V. Here I could drive automobile slalom on a provided Opel Corsa for 3 years and I gained my first experience. In 2009, I finished my professional training and the desire for my own racing car grew and grew. At this time, my father and me started to build my first racing car. In 2010, I completed several automobile slaloms with my newly built Renault Megane in order to obtain the license for hill climbs. In the same year, I switched over to hill climb racing. Since 2011, I have been an integral part of the international series KW Berg-Cup. We drive 13 hill climb races per year – 9 of them are in Germany and 4 are abroad.

Beatrice started her racing career as part of the young talent promotion initiative of the German ADAC e.V.

Picture: private

WHEEL SISTERS: What was your first race and how did you feel on the start line?

Beatrice: My first hill climb race was in April 2010. At that time my Megane had a production engine with 140 hp, but like my father I wanted to start with up to 2000ccm in group H. Unfortunately, the organiser of the Schleizer hill climb race (which was my first hill climb event) thought that I had a very fast car and gave me a competition number directly between 2 winning candidates. Of course, these two drivers had known me for years and teased me that they would catch me with my small car and overtake me. Strangely, even though I wasn’t nervous at all, my whole body began to tremble when I crossed the finish line for the first time. The tension I hadn’t noticed was suddenly released. I even trembled so much that I really had problems unfastening my seat belts. From that moment I was the happiest person. Oh, and by the way: nobody caught up with me and I was not the last one!

WHEEL SISTERS: You drive a Renault Megane Cup 2.0 16 V. Why did you choose this car? Is it your dream car? If not, what would be your dream race car?

Beatrice: My father Thomas has always driven a Renault, so it was clear to me that I wanted to drive the same brand. My father does everything on our racing cars himself, even the engines. He knows how to improve my car again and again and I think with another brand it would have been much harder to become successful quickly.

I can’t describe how much I profit from the knowledge and skills of my father. We all know what motorsports cost and if I had to pay for an engine builder to create an engine like this, I wouldn’t be able to drive at this level.

My dream car would, of course if we stay with Renault, be the RS 0.1. The technology, the design is simply a dream, but unfortunately I can’t afford it at the moment.

I was born with fuel in my blood and grew up in a racing family.

WHEEL SISTERS: Which race track do you like the most? And why?

Beatrice: My favourite track is Glasbach in Thuringia. The track has 44 curves, 1 chicane and the distance is 5.5 km. It is the longest, safest but also most demanding track in our hill climb championship calendar. You will only be the fastest if you know every curve, turning point and pitfall. The curve combinations are a lot of fun. At this event, the German competitors can battle with the elite of the European Championship. It is an amazing event with approx. 10,000 spectators.

WHEEL SISTERS: Motorsports is your hobby, what’s your day job? Does your job influence your activity as a driver? (Organizational talent, self-confidence)

Beatrice: I work as a banker. I look after many customers and always try to advise them in the best possible way and according to their wishes. If you are a “young” girl and advise people who are twice as old as you and therefore have more life experience, you naturally have to be very confident and down-to-earth in your communication. You also need to be self-confident and come across well. You have to be determined, diligent and persevering.

Of course, you benefit from many qualities that you apply every day in your job. You have to know where you want to go and what you can do in order to be strong and achieve your goals!

“I really have to say it doesn’t matter – friends, fans and driver colleagues all think it’s great when I can celebrate success and get good places”, Beatrice said.

Picture: private

WHEEL SISTERS: What do you feel most proud of achieving on the track? What was your greatest failure?

Beatrice: I am particularly proud about the fact that I became the best woman in the German hill climb championship in my first hill climb season. I didn’t expect anything from my first season, so I will always remember that! I became junior champion in the KW Berg-Cup. In the course of my almost 10-year motorsports career, I have achieved several top 10 places.

There are not only positive sides to motorsports. I also had to experience for myself what it means to have an accident and to be rescued from the vehicle.

Fortunately, I have never suffered permanent injuries, but my heart always bleeds when I see the wreck in the aftermath. All the love, time and money you’ve invested over many years.

WHEEL SISTERS: What do motorsports give you personally? What aspects of it do you love the most?

Beatrice: For me, motorsports are a way of life. I love this hobby and every “hill climb weekend” is like vacation. Since I was a child, I’ve had a lot of friends at the hill climb events. I go with my family and meet my second “hill climb family” there. The community and the contrast to everyday life give me so much.

Of course, I am lucky that my whole family supports me in my hobby. We drive to hill climb races with 3 racing cars. My father, my partner and me. In addition, my mother, my sister and her husband are always with us. When we go to a hill climb race, my sister’s 2 children (3 years and 1 year old) are already fired up and excited about the event, like I was at that age.

WHEEL SISTERS: What has had the biggest impact on improving your driving skills? And generally: what is necessary to become a successful hill climb racer?

Beatrice: I think the most important thing as a hill climb racer is to have the ability to instantly operate at full capacity and to totally focus on the moment. Experience in motorsports is also very useful.

In 2016, my father and I formed a team with my Renault Megane. In the KW Berg-Cup you have the opportunity to name a team consisting of 2 drivers for one car. So, you can take part in different hill climb races alternately. We could develop the vehicle so much that year. I had confidence in the car and my father knew what we could keep changing in the vehicle and how we could do it. It was this combination that led to success.

We drove very curvy and fast tracks. I had the feeling that we knew every blade of grass at the roadside and exactly where to turn and where I had to watch out, because a bump is coming. And exactly this knowledge you can only achieve by driving. So, experience and willingness to develop further is an enormous factor.

I can’t describe how much I profit from the knowledge and skills of my father.

WHEEL SISTERS: Have you experienced any sexism when racing and, if so, how do you deal with it? Does it bother you?

Beatrice: Motorsports will probably always remain a male domain. Of course, not all men can handle it that well when a woman is faster than they are, but this is the incentive and proves that we women do everything right. The goal is always to get as far forward as possible and if only men are driving in my class then it is the men who move one place back. I really have to say it doesn’t matter – friends, fans and driver colleagues all think it’s great when I can celebrate success and get good places.

A few years ago, I was able to finish 7th in my class, which is called the King’s class, in extremely demanding conditions with more than 40 competitors. Of course, some of the competitors said, “Now we have to deal with you too” and I knew exactly what they meant. But they like to take care of their ego and it grates that a woman simply did better in such demanding conditions

My tip to all women in motorsports is to live your dream and be self-confident.

WHEEL SISTERS: Although there seem to be more women becoming involved in motorsports, why do you think there are still so few? What can be done to encourage more?

Beatrice: “Women can’t drive a car”, that’s a phrase you often hear in everyday life. I think many women don’t dare because they are afraid to listen to things like this. I think everyone should do what they want and if it’s motorsports then go for it! It doesn’t matter if the car costs €10,000 or €100,000, it doesn’t matter if you need a minute or two for 2 km, the main thing is that you do what you want. I think the only thing you can do as a woman is be self-confident about women in motorsports. Find an idol and get in and drive, you won’t regret it!

Beatrice said: “The goal is always to get as far forward as possible and if only men are driving in my class then it is the men who move one place back.”

Picture: private

WHEEL SISTERS: What is important for anybody who wants to become a driver? What tips do you have for beginners?

Beatrice: I love hill climb racing and I still hate automobile slalom today, I just can’t cope with the pylons standing in the middle of the road. But of course, I have to say that this is the best way to get to know your car better. You drive it at its limits and if you drive over there is usually a run-off zone. On a hill climb race you’re directly confronted with a ditch, a guardrail or the forest. In addition, I can recommend starting with less powerful vehicles. My first car had 140 hp. If you reach its limit you can develop your car further. Today I’m glad that I didn’t have 250 hp when I was starting hill climb racing. And the most important thing is to drive and drive and drive!

WHEEL SISTERS: What are your sporting goals for the future?

Beatrice: After a heavy crash in 2018 my car was completely broken and I had physical problems for a long time. I am glad that we were able to build up a new car quickly during the wintertime. After an accident, and especially with a new car, you have to get back on the track ASAP. It will take time to get back to your previous level. My target is of course to constantly develop myself further and to achieve great rankings.

The most important thing for me is fun and that nothing goes wrong. Although I have to say that my desire to achieve is equally strong. My goal for the next few years would be to further develop the Megane and perhaps add more horsepower.

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