John Clark Motor Group supports women in sport via Clarkie’s Clan project

Clarkie’s Clan – realising the dreams of young women driven by sport Clarkie’s Clan – realising the dreams of young women driven by sport
Clarkie’s Clan – realising the dreams of young women driven by sport | Picture supplied
Young female sports personalities across Scotland are being helped by this innovative programme.

The John Clark Motor Group has always supported their local community either with charitable donations or sponsoring sporting events, and is continuing to do so.

Clarkie’s Clan was created to help realise the dreams of young, driven sport enthusiasts by offering them financial support or vehicles. Selecting the sportswomen to be part of the “Clan” was extremely challenging but following much deliberation the 2024 sponsorship programme will launch with a team of 7, all from varied sports.

Mastering the slippery slope

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Kirsty Muir, a Scottish freestyle skier, established a relationship with the John Clark Motor Group when she was just 15 years old. The Group offered financial support to help her travel to Canada to train and compete. Hard work and focus delivered results when she took to the world stage at the Winter Youth Olympics in 2020 and at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, where she was the youngest member of Team GB. Kirsty now has the coveted title of being a Red Bull athlete and at the young age of 19, has an exciting career ahead of her and is most certainly “one to watch”.

Kirsty added: “I’m really grateful for the support & proud to be part of this amazing project.” 

Downhill racer on the up

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Clarkie’s Clan will also support Mikayla Parton, from Fort William. A sensational downhill mountain bike racer who has no fear of speed and tearing up the mountain trails with absolute determination. Having only got her first downhill bike in 2015, she progressed quickly and was placed fifth in the Mountain Bike World Championships in 2020. Like Kirsty, Mikayla’s success is attributed to immense talent along with a consistent commitment to train hard and the group look forward to working with her in the months ahead.

“It's an honour to be working with John Clark Motor Group. I love that the company is supporting a group of female athletes in different sports, and I am so grateful to represent downhill mountain biking,” Mikayla said

A racing success

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John Clark Motor Group have also welcomed Chloe Grant into the Clarkie’s Clan. An impressive young woman who started a racing career go karting and very quickly progressed to a racing debut in 2021 at the Junior Saloon Car Championships, finishing 14th. She was only 15 years old at the time. A year later she graduated to the F1 Academy and she is now part of the GB4 Championship racing on familiar territory across the UK’s best circuits. It will be an exciting year ahead hopefully culminating in a second-year place in the F1 Academy for 2025.

Chloe said: "I'm excited to partner with John Clark Motor Group again this year, even more so to be invited into Clarkie's Clan!

"This is especially exciting - seeing a team of us women come together and be supported to excel in each of our fields."

In it for the long run

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Natasha Phillips, also has speed but this time it is not driven by an engine. A truly up and coming athlete, Natasha is currently the U20 European and British Half Marathon record holder completing the 13.1 miles in just 71 minutes and 19 seconds. She is also the Scottish senior champion over 10km, 10 miles and half marathon. Originally a swimmer and a triathlete, Natasha became more focused on running during the pandemic and has progressed from strength to strength. She is an aspiration to young athletes as she demonstrates a real maturity to her sport and competitions. As expected, her training is intense, but she makes a point to stress it is important to add variety and always listens to her body and varies her programme accordingly.

Natasha said: “Running has become a huge passion and part of my life. The generous support from John Clark has enabled me to concentrate on my training and studying without the worry of having to finance good nutrition, travel and training expenses.”

In the swing

The John Clark Motor Group has always had close relationships with golf and holds a yearly golf event to raise funds for its chosen charity, The Race Against Dementia. Furthermore, the franchise partners that the group represents, such as BMW, have extremely strong relationships with the sport, being the main sponsors for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Therefore, it was logical to include two professional golfers within the programme, Ellie Gower and Kirsty Mitchell.

Professional golf is highly competitive, and athletes require exceptional skill, precision and mental fortitude to deal with varying course conditions and high stakes, something both Ellie and Kirsty certainly possess.

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Kirsty, currently 19, turned professional at the age of 16 and represents Forfar Golf Club. Kirsty is continuing her progress on the Ladies European Access Series (LETAS) which is the official development series for the Ladies European Tour. Kirsty is hoping to qualify for the European Tour by earning valuable Order of Merit and world ranking points. Kirsty will be taking part in the up-and-coming John Clark BMW golf day later this summer as well as taking part in the remining Ladies Access tournaments.

Kirsty said: “Golf is a solitary sport and now to be a part of Clarkie's Clan and to have them rooting for me, feels invaluable. I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of a group of young athletes all across Scotland chasing their sporting dreams”. 

Ellie, 21 is also a member of Ladies European Access Series (LETAS) and has three top 10 finishes within the Access Series. Ellie has started her 2024 season well with four top 10 finishes in the recent Rose Ladies Series in the UK. Ellie is currently preparing for the summer events in the Ladies European Access Tour as well as the up-and-coming John Clark BMW golf day later this summer. We are also looking forward to welcoming Ellie back to take part in the John Clark Motor Group charity golf day in September. It will be an exciting year ahead for both Ellie and Kirsty and the group look forward to working with them in the months ahead.

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“I feel so privileged to be sponsored by John Clark Motor Group and to be a part of Clarkie’s Clan. It’s so amazing that they are sponsoring females across lots of different sports and I am so happy to be part of it. I could not have been happier to be part of Clarkie’s Clan”. Ellie added.

Putting both feet to the pedals

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Eilidh Shaw, 19 is a hugely successful cyclist who has transferred her track speed to the road and has become a two-time Scottish Cycling champion in 2023. Eilidh had a great start to her 2024 season with a 5th place finish at the National Track Championships in February. Elidh had multiple podium finishes during March and April and finished 11th overall at the Tour De Feminin event in the Czech Republic this May. Eilidh is part of the Alba Development Road Cycling Team which is an all-female elite cycling development team based in Scotland. The team has also achieved UCI Woman’s Continental status allowing riders like Eilidh to compete in road events on the international calendar. The John Clark Motor Group is proud to be supporting Elidh and we look forward to some exciting results during the summer season.

Eilidh said: “It means a great deal to be part of Clarkie’s Clan. It’s an exciting project and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of it. I really appreciate the support for both me and the team”. 

Continued support

Chris Clark, Managing Director of the John Clark Motor Group said: “The biggest excitement for me in terms of supporting these incredible young sports personalities is not only the ability to help them achieve their dreams and to see how they progress, but also to share their stories with our local community and encourage other youngsters to believe in themselves. All the Clarkie’s Clan members have one thing in common and it is absolute dedication, commitment and focus on becoming the best they can be in their chosen field of sport. Hopefully, this will be recognised by our younger community and encourage others to do the same.”

To find out more about the work of the John Clark Motor Group click here