By Douglas Whitbread via SWNS
A motor mad mom who founded a thousand-strong modified car club has revealed her identity – after keeping it hidden over fears she would be “judged” as a woman.
Misha Rogers, 26, gave up her secret after support for the club, Midnight Lancs, “exploded” and now hundreds of petrolheads attend her weekly "meets."
The mom-of-two said she began modifying vehicles right after learning to drive. She got her passion from her dad, who spent his free time tinkering with different motors.
But when she first brought her car to a local modified gathering, she felt excluded by the “cliquey” friendship groups, “antisocial behaviour” and boy racer antics.
So instead, Misha founded a car club based around “inclusive”, family-friendly values, and spread the word about the group via anonymous social media posts.
And before long, the club had a gained a cult following, with drivers from across the UK - ranging from teens to OAPs - turning out each week to chat about their motors.
Misha, who holds down three jobs alongside her role as founder of the car club, said its warm-hearted values have allowed more people to embrace motoring culture.
She said: “I wanted to create a very welcoming and safe environment for people to attend, where people will park up, turn their engines off, and where there was no racing.
“But when I first started the club, I kept my identity a secret – because of the stigmas around it, and due to how I was perceived when I first started going to car meets.”
She added: “It was quite difficult to keep that secret for so long, but the reason behind it was just because I wanted a judgement-free environment.
“And once I chose to reveal who was organizing it all, I received some really good support.”
Misha, from Chorley, England, said she first caught the motoring bug when from her father, who would regularly take her for a drive in different vehicles.
She said: “He was very, very into cars. He would be picking up a new car every other week and would be bringing them home and modifying them to his own taste.
“I was an only child, and I think he wished for a boy.
“But he’s really glad that I’ve taken that route, with my passion for cars, despite me being a female, which he’s very, very happy about.”
Misha began learning about vehicle mechanics when she got her first car, a 1.2 Fiat punto.
She said: “It had a lot of issues and it needed a lot of maintenance, which taught me the basics around cars.
“My dad supported me a lot with that as well, and I had to fix a lot of things when I first passed, which gave me some great insights.”
When Misha turned up at her first mass car meet with a Vauxhall Corsa 1.4, she said the experience left her feeling sidelined and excluded.
She said: “When I first started going to the meets, they were very large gatherings with hundreds of people attending.
“It’s fantastic for the car clubs, but there was lots of racing and lots of anti-social behaviour.
“I got out of my car, and I was on my own. Lots of people were in big friendship groups, and it was quite cliquey really.”
So in June 2020, she came up with the idea for a new car club - calling it Midnight Lancs - and began to share anonymous Instagram posts asking for others to join.
“I saw a gap in the community that should be filled – which was creating that inclusive environment for people like myself who were very new to it.”
Misha, who works as a private health care coordinator, a delivery driver and assists with vinyl graphics, created the club alongside her jobs and family commitments.
And after the number of people clamouring to join the group swelled, she finally revealed that she was the person behind the burgeoning organization.
Now, up to 300 people attend their monthly weekend rallies, while more than 100 drivers come to their weekly “mini-meets” in car parks across Lancashire.
The UK-wide membership of the club has also grown to almost a thousand people.
She said: “One of the best things about Midnight Lancs now is the variety of people that attend and the variety of cars that attend.
“Our age range is from people who have just passed, aged 17 and 18, and then we’ve got people in their 50s and 60s that still come and attend, and still hold that passion.
She added: Sometimes you’ll see someone who has just passed their test, a young lad, who is looking to modify their car and they’ll be speaking to this older man or woman.
“They’re having that conversation, and it’s really great to see the diversity in our group.”
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