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Catalina the co-pilot

Climbing uphill in fast speed, this co-pilot takes you all the way to the top.

 

Adrenaline, excitement, power and pride. Those are all emotions that Catalina Perez connects deeply to the car racing format called hill climbing, which she practices being the co-pilot showing the way.

For Catalina Perez there has always been a special thing about fast speed. Already as a child she loved motorcycles and was thrilled with excitement when they swept past the family’s car on the streets of Bogota in Colombia.

“I am not sure what it is, I have just always loved high speed. It makes me feel powerful somehow,” she says.

When she reached a certain age she started racing with motorcycles in different ways, and two years back she entered the world of hill climbing.

“It is a sport for amateurs; if you own a car you can do it. You also need a helmet, gloves and a fire extinguisher in the back seat for safety reasons. We compete on serpentine roads going uphill, the police department closes the streets off for other traffic during the races”.

Catalina competes together with her husband who is behind the wheels, while she sits next to him and navigates the way towards the hilltops.

“There are no straight roads, but lots of tricky curves and dirt splashing around. We both need to be super concentrated to get all the curves right and still keep the speed at a high level. It is so much fun”!

The most important component of being a successful team is to have trust in each other.

“The driver needs to do exactly what the co-pilot says, the communication needs to be 100 percent. Otherwise it can quickly get dangerous,” explains Catalina.

Growing as a team during the races makes them grow as a couple too. And there is a joyful atmosphere and friendship between the people who compete in this sport; they all know each other.

“We are almost like a family. But there are groups of course, depending on which type of car you use. If you have a Volkswagen you mostly hang out with the Volkswagen people,” says Catalina and smiles.

The races takes place during weekends outside of Colombia’s capital Bogota, but there are people coming in from all over the country to compete. It is all part of a yearly tournament where you collect more and more scores every weekend.

“The first year we competed we got in the third place all in all. But last year we had improved some tactics and you know what? We won the entire tournament of 2018”!

Being a woman and competing in this sport is rather unusual and Catalina is proud to be an exception, even if she had loved to see more women on these roads.

“This sport is not just for men. Doing it makes me feel super strong and it serves as a good example when I try to boost my four year old daughter that women are capable of so many things. I want her to feel that it is in her power to do anything she really wants to.”

When Catalina isn’t spending time pushing the speed limits she works at Getinge as a Business Area Manager heading a team to support the sales force in Latin America.

Lately she has been keen on going back to the driver’s seat for a while which is why she has decided to take up motorcycling again.

“I will take a little break from the co-pilot seat this year but will probably be back soon again as I really enjoy it. Let us see what the future brings. For me the most important thing is to have a hobby, somewhere to forget about routines and find new energy. For me that thing is speed; fast speed.”