Spain’s Women in Motorsport are super special – who are they?

Spain’s Women in Motorsport are super special – who are they?

Spain’s Women in Motorsport are super special – why? – because each produces results across multi-disciplines in both FIA and FIM World Championships. More specifically, these Spanish women drivers, riders, and racers have the unique ability to pivot when necessary to sustain upward trajectory of their racing careers, a character trait which takes courage of conviction to attempt racing in a new field.

Laia Sanz Women Trials World Champion 14x Image: Laia

One key component in each women stands out: gender has never been a deterrent to achieve results on the track, and nor has the challenge of gaining financial support to race. Dialing down even further: these women are adept at re-orientating their sense of purpose and fulfilment on and off the track, setting goals well outside their known discipline, and well outside the boundaries of what can be achieved, as a woman.

And, these traits are backed by facts. Records have been etched in Motorsport history, results have set new bench-marks of achievement, and odds have been defied breaking tradition along with expectation. All of which begs the question: who are Spain’s Women in Motorsport who have been so resilient to up the ante when needed, while at the same time switch skill-sets and achieve results in completely different disciplines?

As Laia Sanz’s racing career has evolved, there remains one outstanding character trait which has propelled the Spanish rider/driver to achieve phenomenal success on the track – balancing perfecting race-craft techniques with inherent desire to always want to improve. Holding record of FIM Women Trials World Champion 14x, Women Trials European Champion 10x, and Dakar Rally finisher 12x, Laia epitomizes the ability to build on foundation skills on a bike – from the controlled race environment of Trials GP to the speed and navigation of racing Dakar.

Cristina Gutierrez 2021 Rally Kazakhstan Image: Red Bull Off Road Junior Team

If Laia’s switch to racing behind the wheel in Extreme E and 2022 Dakar Rally extends her portfolio, Cristina Gutierrez outstanding performances in The Dakar – winning Stage One in 2021 and finishing 3rd this year, represents full quota of determination, given the effort, time, and physical stamina required for Cristina to recover from back injury in 2021.

Going well within normal time-frame to regain race fitness, Cristina not only completed Extreme E Championship finishing 2nd Overall with driver Sebastien Loeb, but also sent clear message that overcoming adversity was not only necessary for her racing career, but part of her DNA.

If overcoming daunting challenges are enshrined in Spain’s women in Motorsport, Sara Garcia turned long-held goal of finishing Dakar with No Assistance into reality in 2020. Breaking historical record as the first woman to finish Dakar Rally in Original by Motul category, Sara repeated the performance in 2021, along with completing her 3rd consecutive Dakar earlier this year.

Such grit and steely determination to race and finish each and every Stage – 12 altogether – to grin and bear completing her own bike mechanics at night, to persevere with lack of sleep – spearheads conventional thought that racing alone in Saudi Arabia’s desert can be done by a woman.

If Sandra Gomez follows her own calling on which Enduro/Hard Enduro events to race, the Spanish rider has proved her weight in gold. No pun intended, as Sandra became the first female to complete Red Bull Romaniacs Gold Class in 2020 and 2021, followed by debut entry and finish in The Dakar Rally this year. Add to the bucket list of skills, Sandra – a National Trials GP Champion – raced the world’s most physically challenging Red Bull Erzberg in 2021 and 2022, finishing 85th from 400 rider’s recently.

Sandra Gomez ahead of racing Red Bull Erzberg Rodeo 2022 Image: Sandra

Given only 8 rider’s completed Red Bull Erzberg Rodeo 2022 within time limit of 4 hours, Sandra’s result represents the unifying link between all women stated above – nothing short of bravery for the decisions these women have made to pursue their respective racing careers. Yes, each woman has the aptitude to deliver high end results in whichever discipline, but more to the point, each woman has the edge over others to attain goals no matter what the odds. That is quite something!

Part Two: Spain’s Women in Motorsport on Ana Carrasco, Maria Herrara, Nerea Marti, Belen Garcia and Monica Plaza.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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