Women in Motorsport mid-season snap-shot of disciplines

Women in Motorsport mid-season snap-shot of disciplines

Women in Motorsport mid-season snap-shot of driver’s, riders and racers competing across varying disciplines marks significant milestone on the achievements of female athletes competing on the world stage. From the successful results of women crossing The Dakar Rally Final Stage 12 in Jeddah earlier this year, to 18 talented drivers lining up on the grid in 2022 WSeries Opening Round at Formula One Miami Grand Prix, women have cemented their place in Motorsport history.

Cristina Gutierrez finished 3rd Overall with Francois Cazalet in 2022 Dakar Rally Image: ASO

Specifically, women racing The Dakar Rally, WSeries, Women Motocross World Championship, Moto3, MotoE, and Extreme E, along with America’s Grand National Cross Country Series and AMA Pro Outdoors Motocross Nationals have taken on board challenges to race against field of women and men with results dependent on resources available.

For certain, unlike many sports, women racing Motorsport make calculated decisions on how to achieve short and long term goals on their respective careers. Crunching the numbers to gain all important financial backing remains high on the list of priority, along with selecting which Championship to race for desired results.

No doubt, the task is not simple. Women have to raise the bar on pushing through barriers to race, from achieving step-by-step results up their career ladders- gaining results at World Championships year-in-and-year out, to intuitively deciding on which race would contribute to the bigger picture of securing financial backing for the future.

Women racing 2022 Motorsport season have shifted paradigm on what can be achieved post COVID era. No longer will gender prevent women from gaining results on the world’s Motorsport stage rather women have been saluted for their tenacity on gaining respect on track from event organizers, manufacturers, promoters, Media and fans.

WSeries Opening Round at Formula One Miami Grand Prix starting grid Image: WSeries

After 6 months of women racing this season, the following information provides snap-shot on women who have made decisive moves on and off track to sustain upwards trajectory of their careers. The list is not inclusive of all women racing Motorsport, rather a selective synapsis on MXLink’s coverage of stated disciplines.

The achievements of women competing in The Dakar Rally break precedent with 2 all female Teams entered in Light Prototype category: Annett Fischer and Annie Seel (Yamaha Powered by X Raid Team) and Merci Marti paired with Margot Llobera (FN Speed Team), both finishing 15th and 33rd Overall respectively.

Top honours went to Spanish driver Cristina Gutierrez and co-driver Francois Cazalet finishing 3rd Overall, with Italy’s Dakar Legend Camelia Liporati and co-driver Xavier Blanco completing 12 Stages in 6th Overall. Given mere 7 females completed 12 Stages in Light Prototype category from total of 74 competitors at the finish, message remains clear, gaining entry to race is one challenge, finishing remains the other.

Equally, racing and crossing the finish line at end of Stage 12 in Bike category brings ultimate mix of emotions, not just for women but for men as well. From total of 124 competitors who made the final flag, 4 were women. Mirjam Pol finished in 49th position, debut entry Sandra Gomez in 62nd, Sara Garcia (2x Original by Motul finisher) in 75th and French rider Audrey Rossat completed her 2nd Dakar in 98th place.

Ana Carrasco enters 2022 Moto3 Championship Image: Team BOE SKX

If Spain punches above their weight on delivering fiercely determined women in Motorsport, Laia Sanz debut entry in 2022 Dakar Rally Car category consolidated her illustrious career profile, finishing 23rd with co-driver Maurizio Gerini, while South African born Taye Perry finished 19th with driver Cyril Despres.

Most certainly, navigating the world of racing WSBK, MotoGP, Moto3 and MotoE remains daunting challenge for 2018 WSBKSSP300 Champion Ana Carrasco and her Spanish counterpart Maria Herrara. It is not just funding and securing place within all important Team set-up, it is access to training sessions on track. As NZ’s Avalon Biddle stated post winning 2015 and 2016 European Women’s Junior Cup, the almighty task of gaining sustainable funding to race is the most difficult part of the sport.

Ceasing the opportunity to race 2022 Moto3 with BOE Motorsports has certainly made forward movement possible for Ana Carrasco’s racing career, while Maria Herrara secured ride in her 4th season of racing MotoE with OpenBank Asper Team, currently standing 19th Overall after 3 Rounds.

Women racing 2022 Women Motocross World Championship 5 Round Series rise to each and every race with main goal in mind- to bank valuable points in overall standings. With gaps between Rounds stretching from 2 weeks to mega 14 weeks, all women lining-up develop, refine and perfect strategies to deliver best possible performance on track.

Nancy Van de Ven holds Red Plate with 173 points with Lynn Valk on 148 and Shana van der Vlist on 135. Image: Ceres 71 Racing

With little or no room for mistakes come racing, overall standings can tumble as in the case of defending WMX Champion Courtney Duncan who struck misfortune in Free Practice at Round 2 in Portugal, forcing the Kiwi to watch from the side-lines for next 2 Rounds. As expected, when one door closes another opens, with Dutch rider Nancy Van de Ven proving her heart really wants the Championship Title this year, currently holding the Red Plate with one Round to go.

In matter of 20 minutes racing on the track, hopes, goals, and results can alter each rider’s level of confidence, and no more so than for Spanish rider Daniela Guillen. Having already missed WMX Opening Rounds at Mantova and Portugal, the fiercely, determined debut entry made nice work of slicing her way through the standing order, finishing 3rd on podium in both Round 3 at Sardegna and Round 4 at Spain.

For sure, Women racing 2022 Motorsport cross disciplines have found verve to pursue their respective racing careers. Some women have drawn on raw passion to push every obstacle which is blocking their path to achieve upward trajectory of their goals, and some have wrestled with shifting from no-win situations to win-win arrangements supporting their presence on the track. Either way, women defy the odds that the future of females racing Motorsport is dictated by past traditions, rather embracing new thinking which elevates each and every women to a higher standing on the table board.

Header photo: WSeries.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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