Ali Bohm attended the University of Bristol, first as an undergraduate in psychology and then as a Masters student in law, between 1996 and 2001, before going on to become a solicitor with Norton Rose from 2003 to 2007. She qualified in 2005 as a dispute resolution solicitor, specialising in construction and engineering work.
Grace Kishino (née Owen) worked as a field agent for a private investigator while finishing her undergraduate study at Bristol. She then went on to work as assistant manager as an antiques shop, a driving instructor and an assistant at the BBC before becoming a web developer and systems analyst at Lincoln Financial Group and HPD Software.
Grace and Ali first became interested in cars – and particularly rallying – in 1996, when Ali was on her gap year and Grace was in her second year of university. At Bristol, they both joined the University’s car club, where they took advantage of the tools for hire to mend their own cars and rebuild a rally car (a Mini Cooper).
Their rallying career took off when they met Wayne Butterworth, director of West Pennine Motorsport. Wayne managed the preparation and servicing of the car during events, supported by many of Grace and Ali’s friends and family, and his input ensured an almost 100 per cent finishing record.
After a year of participating in small events, Grace and Ali decided they wanted to experience the more serious, competitive side of rallying. They competed in the British Rally Championship for two years, which consisted of events in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. Events lasted for two or three days and totalled several hundred miles of competitive driving. The Mini’s 60-year-old design struggled to cope with such demands, and so the girls then moved on to a Peugeot 106 and the Peugeot Championship, where they competed in various events in Britain and also Belgium, winning the ladies’ prize in 2000.
Their rallying career ended soon after university, when the pressure of jobs meant that the girls could no longer devote the time and energy needed to pursue rallying as more than a casual hobby; although the expense of spare parts, event accommodation and professional mechanics was also a factor in ending their rallying experiences. Happy memories abound of the people they met whilst rallying, and the excitement of careering at high speeds through forests. The less good memories are those of sleepless nights preparing the car, and the moment Ali’s parents discovered that she planned to spend her student loan on the rally car.
After working for five years as a solicitor in London, Ali moved to Sheffield to undertake another Masters, this time in international relations and international law. She is now studying for a PhD in international law at the University of Sheffield, and has given up Minis in favour of a camper van. Grace has moved to Tokyo where she works as an analyst programmer for Emissary Computer Solutions.
The city of Bristol was a vibrant and exciting place to live, and the University was a great place to study – after three years of undergraduate study in Bristol there was no question of me leaving to do my Masters elsewhere.
Ali Bohm (BSc 1999, MA 2001)
My time at Bristol is full of happy memories and many of the people I met there are still great friends. Bristol provided me with the freedom to study as well as continue my hobbies alongside. It’s also a great city – I still miss the chocolate milkshakes from Rocotillos on the triangle!.
Grace Kishino (BSc 1997)