In 2012, British rally driver Louise Cook won the two-wheel-drive FIA Production Car Cup title, and became the first woman to win an FIA rally title. After sponsors backed out days before the Rally Sweden deadline, Cook put the trophy on eBay to raise the entry fees, reports Racer. Man, that’s dedication.
Racing is great, but funding it sucks. Prestigious international rallies such as Rally Sweden, which is part of the World Rally Championship, don’t come cheap. For some competitors, just one sponsor can make or break their ability to run.
Cook told Racer that several sponsors delayed their plans, hence her precarious predicament:
I sadly found out over the past two days that major sponsors have to delay their plans and I now have only four days before my entry fees are due. I am hoping as [the trophy] is the only one in the world, if I can attract the right collector, it may save the day.
Cook’s trophy is the only one of its kind, as it was the only non-gender FIA rally trophy ever awarded to a woman. The eBay listing notes that Cook was left with a $9,800 shortage in funds, so off to eBay the trophy went. You can view that listing here.
This isn’t the first time Cook has sold previous trophies in order to keep competing. In 2012, she put trophies up for sale in order to make a rally in New Zealand, per the BBC.
Naturally, the eBay listing for the trophy also notes that “Louise is seeking sponsors for the first event and the 2017 season in the WRC.” Anyone who’s willing to sell their own trophy just to keep competing certainly deserves to keep running.
Upon hearing of this predicament, Cook’s fans have also started a GoFundMe to buy the trophy back for her as well, as it’s really sad to see a competitor give up one of their most prized awards just to keep competing.
[Update: Fans also started a JustGiving campaign with the same aim as the GoFundMe: to buy Louise’s trophy back. Pretty incredible.]