I have reason to be optimistic about motorcycling’s future. Not for any single great technological leap or political bill or segment of riding, but of who is actually doing the riding.
As motorcycle manufacturers sweat about how to get new riders into the fold, there’s one section of the market in a glory period—female riders.
Thanks to a whole range of factors—social media coolness, female empowerment, proper targeted riding gear, a social movement that encourages women to take up riding, among others—we are seeing more girls and women taking up riding than ever before in our history.
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So, I thought I’d highlight some of the girls who are doing motorcycling some serious good right now. These are in no particular order or preference, just girls that deserve some recognition.
Pint-sized Shayna Texter is one of the fastest dirt trackers in the world and will smoke almost anyone on a single-cylinder racer. She’s won five AFT Singles rounds this year in AMA Pro Flat Track and is currently second to Kolby Carlile in the 2017 series.
With 197,000 Instagram followers and counting, Anna is carving a niche for herself as one of the premier female sportbike faces in the world. She’s a racer on a CBR600RR, ambassador for Dainese and one very savvy social media advocate.
Spaniard Ana Carrasco’s place in world motorcycling is assured after she became the first female to win a world championship race at Portimao this year in the Supersport 300 class. She’s also an accomplished Moto3 racer, alongside countrywoman Maria Herrera.
This girl is a bad ass. She’s one of the main stars in Travis Pastrana’s insane Nitro Circus show, the first woman to nail a backflip on a dirt-bike ramp to dirt and ramp-to-ramp and the first Female Canadian Motocross Champion. She’s hard as nails.
Another product of Instagram, Keerati is usually being photographed wearing not much or full leathers, helping promote sportbike riding with MotoAmerica Supersport star Benny Solis and Jason Pridmore’s Star School, held out at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway.
Norwegian Olsen has been racing in the U.S. for five years now in the MotoAmerica Supersport Championship. She’s had a rough run recently, breaking up with her team and going through a massive crash at New Jersey a month ago. But she’s fast. Damn fast, and will be back next year for more.
There’s no faster, fitter, better prepared woman in the world of Rally than Spanish legend Laia Sanz. Sanz is a 13-time Women’s European Trials champion, Women’s World Enduro Champion and the highest-placed female at the Dakar Rally in 15th in 2016, and 16th in 2017.
Instagram model Yazdi has carved a niche in the motorcycle community of late by putting on women’s only events, including the first all-women’s rally at the Buffalo Chip in Sturgis this year, and always encouraging women to get behind bars.
Melissa’s name has long been associated with going as fast as possible. The Oceanside, California, resident has been racing at the top level in America for years and has Endurance World Championship credits to her name. She’s also helping bring the next gen of female riders through in the KTM RC Cup.
Ellis is the brains behind the Babes Ride Out movement that’s introducing riding and motorcycle culture to a massive array of women. The Babes Ride Out concept takes in road, dirt, camping, big rides, short blasts to the bar—everything—and is an important part of the modern American biking scene.