Since taking part in her first motor sport event more than 13 years ago, Madison Dunston has always been a fierce competitor.
From when she was just seven-years-old racing go-karts to standing on stage at the 2018 CAMS National Awards receiving a national accolade, Dunston has constantly been challenging the norm to follow her dreams.
Part of a motor sport family, the Queenslander has followed in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, making her a third-generation racing driver in order to break the gender stereotypes that currently occupy the sport around the world.
After racing in karting for around nine years and winning her fair share of races, she had been considered one of the leading female karting drivers in Australia, however Dustan admits it was difficult start to her career.
“Starting in go karts as a young seven-year-old female, I gradually got the hang of competing against the boys,” Dunston said.
“To be brutally honest, my first few years of being in competitive racing was difficult because I would be pushed off the track and made fun of for being a girl.
“However the boys were very surprised seeing me eventually win races and there were points where I even made some of them cry.”
During her time in Karting, the Townsville-based driver managed a host of solid results which included club round victories and a career-high first place at the State titles second round in 2015.
After nine years of building a reputation as an intelligent and competitive driver with great professionalism, Dunston took the nerve-wracking step onto the national stage in 2016, joining the popular Aussie Racing Cars Series.
It didn’t take long for her to find her feet though, securing some podium finishes in the 2017 season’s Ladies Cup, which ultimately set her up for breakout season last year.
Behind the wheel of a Camaro, Dunston claimed four Ladies Cup round victories, including an outstanding win at the Shannons Nationals in Sydney and a runner-up the following round which saw her crowned as the Ladies Cup champion.
With her current dream aimed at becoming a regular driver in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Dunston believes the time in Aussie Racing Cars has put her on the right path and educated her more about the industry.
“Stepping up into Aussie Racing Cars at the age of 17 was a very big step for me and I admit I was as nervous as I have ever been,” Dunston explained.
“But all the guys I was competing against were so nice and loyal and we were all being treated equally no matter who we were.
“As time flew by, I soon realised how hard it was just being a female in a male dominated sport, whether it’s making friends or finding sponsors who want to help pursue my dream in becoming a fulltime Supercars driver.
“It’s crazy how the older you get, the world changes people’s perspectives.”
Despite Dunston yet to commit to any series this year after having a stellar season, the 19-year-old is proud of her journey so far, encouraging other females to get involved.
“If a girl ever wanted to jump in a go kart or anything, I would say do it,” Dunston added.
“Motor sport has changed my life, and I’ve never regretted a second of it.
“It comes with sacrifice and hard work but if you just push yourself enough you will achieve so much.”
This feature is part of a series highlighting the success and contributions to motor sport from women around the world in celebration of International Women’s Day 2019.