The world of racing is constantly evolving, opening many doors for would-be champions to take on the challenge of pushing boundaries. In recent years, women have made strides in motorcycle racing, setting and breaking records and making their mark in an industry dominated by men.
While there are still many more roads to cover, there are plenty of influential competitors ready to put on their helmets and ride into history.
Here are five prominent female motorcyclists who are leaving their mark and acting as beacons for future enthusiasts.
1. Maria Costello, British motorcycle racer.
This British motorcyclist is an icon who attracted the full attention of the media and motorsports when she burst onto the scene, and she has set more than a few records, including a Guinness World Record. Maria Costello held the record for the fastest woman to lap the island of Man TT with a stunning average speed of 114.73 mph per lap until her record was broken in 2009.
Costello was not only a record holder, but also created many firsts for women in motorsports. She was the first solo woman to stand on the podium at the 2005 Manx Grand Prix, finishing third in the ultra-lightweight category. She was the first woman to stand on the podium at a TT or Manx GO. A trendsetter for women in the sport, she won a total of 7 Manx Prix Silver Replicas and a Bronze TT Replica. With such an impressive resume, this freelance journalist and career racer is a true inspiration.
2. Melissa Paris, American road racer
A professional road racer hoping to inspire a younger generation of female racers, Melissa Paris is a top-notch team builder and owner. While her goal is to inspire new talent, she has some pretty impressive accomplishments of her own. She was the first woman to qualify for a World Supersport race, and she competed in the FIM World Endurance Championship.
Paris, the wife of four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes, scored top 10s at the Daytona 200 and was the only woman to test a Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP machine. She won a WERA West Superbike championship and was part of a class-winning team at the 24 Hours of Barcelona endurance race. Paris is a force to be reckoned with both on and off the bike, and shows no signs of slowing down as she continues to discover talent and encourage other women to join the sport.
3. Ana Carrasco, Spanish motorcycle racer.
Our next trailblazer in the moto world started racing at the age of just 16 and she is making history. She competed in the 2017 Supersport 300 World Championship on a Kawasaki Ninja 300 and was the first woman to win the solo class. She was also the first rider to score points in the Moto3 World Championship at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix. To top it all off, she finished 8th in the 2013 Valencia Grand Prix and is just getting started. With so many races ahead of her, the future looks bright and she will continue to inspire others to take to the road as she moves on to her next challenge.
4. Jenny Tinmouth, British Motorcycle Racer
Next on our list of top 21st century influences is the current female lap record holder for the Isle of Man TT, Jenny Tinmouth. This British racer not only broke the record in 2009, but broke her own record the following year with an average speed of 119.945 mph average per lap. Tinmouth is currently the Guinness World Record holder for her impressive performance. When she’s not breaking speed records, she’s breaking barriers as the first and only woman to compete in the British Superbike Championship. This is a major first for women in motorsport.
In 2010, Tinmouth became the first female racer to lead and score points in a British championship race, finishing on the podium and winning a British Supersport Cup championship race at Silverstone. She finished third overall, the highest finish for a female competitor. Tinmouth was also involved in running her own team, Two-Wheel Racing, in 2013 and competed with Team Honda Racing UK in 2015. She is still a presence in the field and continues to be an inspiration to future competitors.
5. Shelinda Moreda, American motorcycle racer.
When she’s not posing as a cover girl model, Shelinda Moreda heats up the race track. As the first woman to compete on a motorcycle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and part of the first female team to complete a Suzuka Endurance Race, this professional road racer is just getting started. Moreda was the first woman to race at the Zhuhai International Circuit in China, finishing third on the Splitlath EBR Superbike. She scored a win in 2016 and finished first in the Qatar Women’s Championship, but her ambitions are not limited to the track.
Moreda currently runs She’z Moto Camp, a program focused on building confidence and inspiring future female motorcyclists to develop their skills. Beyond racing, her goal is to inspire women of all ages to take an interest in riding, whether for glory or for fun.
Influencing the next generation
While all of these women have set the bar for future moto competitors, they are dedicated to inspiring the younger generation. Whether they are seeking talent, inspiring young people to get involved in the sport, or proving that any record can be broken, these women are determined to push the boundaries. They are just a sampling of the strong and capable athletes. With their leadership and the leadership of others in the industry, there is no telling what lies ahead for women in motorsports.