Local slot racer Louise Petzer, recently crowned the SA Model Car Association (Samca) national champion, is the first woman to achieve this title in 57 years.
The sport entails racing miniature cars on a track, with grooves or slots on which they run.
Slot cars are usually models of actual automobiles, though some are purpose-designed for miniature racing.
Speaking about her historic win, Petzer said: “This proves it is possible to break the male dominance, and show the sport is inclusive of all genders.
“It hopefully opens more opportunities for young woman to drive and to get into the sport, now that they know a woman can be the best in the country.”
Petzer hails from racing stock and is the daughter of Hennie Petzer, a 26-time Samca Grand Prix winner, and chairperson of the East London slot car club.
Her mother, Anita, has competed in 22 grand prix’s and her sister Debbie has raced in 18.
Louise competed for the first time at just nine years old in 2003, and in every grand prix thereafter, with a short break between 2014-2019.
The 2022 SAMCA championship consists of three rounds on three different tracks with the best two counting towards the championship.
Each track, situated in East London, Gqeberha and Brakpan respectively, presents its own challenges.
The East London track has the longest straight and is the only one with four lanes, whereas the Gqeberha track is famous for its donut corner, short straights and other sharp corners.
The Brakpan track is tricky for those unfamiliar with it and many previous national champions have achieved this title partly through mastering this track.
The championships consist of two classes: the 1/24 Production and GT12.
Pezter entered the 2022 season with the intention of claiming the national title, partnering with long-time racer, champion and race car constructor, Russell Sheldon, to achieve this.
She said: “He [Sheldon] is the best in the business when it comes to building the cars.
“His attention-to-detail and knowledge of spares and the strength and weaknesses of each brand of spare is unmatched.
“Owing to his spectacular building skills, racing the cars filled me with the utmost confidence as I know the car is in the best possible shape it can be.
“Even though I have driven for almost 20 years, this one year with Uncle Russell by my side, has resulted in me learning so much more about the cars and the sport I love.”