My road-racing “career”

After getting my motorcycle license, I immediately got a road-racing license and started racing that very same summer. In Sweden, you only ride motorcycles in the summer as it rains or snows too much during the fall, winter and spring — it actually rains too much during the summer too, but at least it isn’t crazy cold…

I think the stuff we learned in order to qualify for our racing licenses was skills that have stayed with me and kept me safe ever since. Everyone who learns to ride a motorcycle should have a mandatory track-day and learn to handle their motorcycle under various conditions and speeds without risking (anyone else’s) life and limb. The freeway is not the place to realize you don’t know what to do!

I loved being the minority!
I loved being the minority!

When I started racing in 1987, there were about 300 men and 5 women racers. That year was the first year there were enough ladies to start our own “Ladies’ Cup.” But the Ladies’ Cup was quickly renamed the “half-time show” by the media because we were all so damned polite to each other, drove carefully and pretty slow — no fun to watch OR race. Since we all felt that it got pretty embarrassing we instead decided we better just figured out how to beat the men at their own game. We wanted some action, and the men provided the action for sure.

Me and my Yahama RD 350
Me and my Yahama RD 350

I rode a bullet-proof bone stock 1980 Yamaha RD 350. I had purchased it from another racer who was ready for bigger and better things. The bike had already been raced (and sufficiently crashed) for six seasons when I bought it. I figured it would know its way around the tracks…

Glam-shot of me of my chief mechanic, Christer
Glam-shot of me of my chief mechanic, Christer

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “I’d rather crash than have a girl beat me!” Hearing that made me want to win even more, but on the other hand… I knew I was racing against stupid young testosterone that didn’t care if he took me out in the process of getting ahead of me — a 30-year old lady (he he). Dangerous. So I just had to be faster and smarter instead!

As a racer, I did pretty good! A couple of years after starting my racing “career” I was the fastest rookie of the year in the 400 cc class (2-stroke). Mainly racing men now since the other ladies were dropping out like flies. By the time 1990 came around, I was the only female racer left, racing about 30-40 guys in 125 cc stock, 400 cc stock as well as the new stock class I helped start, Suzuki RGV 250 Cup.

Horsepowered moms are faster!