Mikayla Moore in program that helps women establish foothold in sport of motorcycle racing (2024)

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Mikayla Moore has been riding motorcycles since age 6 and started racing two years later, competing almost exclusively against males.

The 20-year-old Moore hadn’t been part of something quite like the series she’s hoping to win for a second straight year.

Moore is part of Royal Enfield’s Build. Train. Race. program, which is designed to teach women how to build and race their own motorcycles. The women selected to compete in this initiative are given a Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 twin that they convert into a racing bike they use throughout the season.

“To be here means so much,” Moore said.

The program has 13 women competing in the road racing division, which has held MotoAmerica races this year at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, and Road America at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Its final two stops will be in Shelton, Washington, and the Mid-Ohio course in Lexington, Ohio.

“It seemed like female racing was underserved. There was a lot of demand and a lot of passionate individuals out there who had expressed interest in racing,” said Nathan Kolbe, the head of marketing for Royal Enfield in the Americas Region. “So we just kind of said, “OK, what would this look like?’“


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The women were chosen from among 90 applicants by a group that included Freddie Spencer, a three-time world champion motorcycle racer. Spencer said his group interviewed the top 20 applicants before making the final cuts.

“There’s so many incredible stories and so many talented women riders,” Spencer said. “They’re inspiring. … The most difficult part is not finding riders. It’s selecting only the amount that we need.”

Ten other women are competing in the flat-track division, which has a different set of venues. The flat-track division enters its fifth season, while the road racing series enters its fourth year.

Most of the racers compete while also maintaining their day jobs.

Moore, who’s from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, works at her father’s motorcycle shop. Shea McGregor, who lives just outside the Twin Cities in Minnesota, designs drive trains and chassis for fire trucks when she isn’t racing. Kate West of Thorndike, Maine, works in a school with children facing social and emotional deficits.

Lucy Blondel, a veterinarian from Vancouver, says her time on a motorcycle “kind of almost relieves stress a lot of time from medicine, believe it or not.”

“I think I’m an adrenaline junkie,” Blondel said. “The adrenaline you get on a motorcycle is amazing. Just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, you don’t.”

There is no prize money at stake in these races, but sponsorships cover just about all the equipment and travel costs associated with competing. Before the season, the racers had five days to repurpose their motorcycles at Grapevine, Texas. The bikes are theirs to keep after the season.

The women have varying levels of racing experience, so they undergo training with Spencer and others after they get their motorcycles in racing shape. Three professional mechanics assist in repurposing their motorcycles and accompany each of the races. The competitors stay in the series for only one or two years.

“This is a stepping stone,” said Holly Varey of Brantford, Ontario. “(It’s) offering this opportunity for racers who may not be able to make it to MotoAmerica for financial reasons or whatever – certainly I couldn’t – and giving them a platform to perform and show off talent and hopefully get picked up by a pro team and continue that trajectory.”

The idea is to work their way up to some MotoAmerica circuits that offer prize money. MotoAmerica officials say five to eight women have competed across the various series each year since the organization started in 2015.

That list includes some riders with connections to the program Build. Train. Race.

Sonya Lloyd is a former BTR competitor who now is part of the MotoAmerica Twins Cup circuit. Moore competed in her first Twins Cup event at Road America this month.

While the Build. Train. Race. riders develop their skills in this series, they also benefit from the camaraderie that comes from being part of an all-woman initiative. They’re showcasing their competitiveness while also helping one another when they’re off the track.

“When the helmets go on, a racer’s a racer,” said Cassie Creer of Salt Lake City, who earned her first victory this month at Road America. “That’s the way I think about it. I love racing against all women because of the support in the paddock, and also we’re all doing something that’s a male-dominated sport. It’s something we’re all able to get together and do. But once the helmets go on and I’m on the grid, it doesn’t matter who’s there.”

It certainly matters to the young fans who gather around the racers before every event.

“All the little girls that we get coming through here, they look at us like, ‘We want to do that one day,’“ West said. “Pretty cool.”


AP motorsports: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing

Mikayla Moore in program that helps women establish foothold in sport of motorcycle racing (2024)


Mikayla Moore in program that helps women establish foothold in sport of motorcycle racing? ›

Train. Race. program, which is designed to teach women how to build and race their own motorcycles. The women selected to compete in this initiative are given a Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 twin that they convert into a racing bike they use throughout the season.

Who started motorcycle racing? ›

Motorcycle racing in North America began in 1903 with the formation of the Federation of American Motorcyclists in New York City. By 1924 this society evolved into the still-active American Motorcycle Association.

Who was the 15 year old motorcycle racer killed? ›

A teenage dirt bike racer has died after crashing on her bike during an event. Australian organization Motorcycling New South Wales (NSW) announced Amelia Kotze died at the age of 15 after “succumbing to injuries” sustained during one of its events, the Central Coast Cup, held on Saturday, May 25.

What is the sport of motorcycle racing called? ›

Motorcycle racing (also known as moto racing and motorbike racing) is a motorcycle sport involving racing motorcycles. Motorcycle racing can be divided into two categories, tarmac-based road disciplines and off-road.

Who started biker culture? ›

The emergence of motorcycle clubs did not imply that biker subculture was originated. As such, it appeared only after the Second World War, in the second half of the 1940s. There is a legend that it was founded by American pilots from the 330 squadron who came home after the war and could not find their place in life.

Where did bike racing originate? ›

The first documented cycling race was a 1,200 metre race held on May 31, 1868, at the Park of Saint-Cloud, Paris. It was won by expatriate Englishman James Moore who rode a bicycle with solid rubber tires.

Who was the first man to ride a motorcycle? ›

Gottlieb Daimler is often referred to as “the father of the motorcycle” because of this invention and it was his son, Paul, who rode it for the first time in November 1885.

Who was the first outlaw motorcycle club? ›

Originating as the McCook Outlaws MC, the club was founded by Electro-Motive Company employees at Matilda's bar on Route 66 in the southwestern Chicago suburb of McCook, Illinois in 1935. John Davis was reportedly the founder of the club.

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