This year, the Women Bikers Association in collaboration with Inked Sisterhood and Throttle Queens organised a short circuit ride within Nairobi to mark the 17th IFRD attracting over 70 female bikers and enthusiasts who came out to commemorate the day in Kenya.
This was followed by an in-person event hosted to demystify stereotypes of female riders and provide basic information a beginner would be seeking to get into biking.
A diverse panel composing of women as young as 19 and veterans, business owners, and a bike trainer discussed business opportunities in motorcycling, female bikers at the workplace, getting back to biking after an accident, training opportunities, and motocross biking for women.
Later, the ladies had an opportunity to interact and share the realities of women who ride as mothers, professionals, daughters in law, businessmen, etc
The day ended with a highlight of the ladies testing out various BMW demo bikes availed by sponsors and got all necessary information on the various models.
South Africa’s only female superbike racing duo has established a non-profit company called Basadi in Motorsport with the aim of making a lot of noise about motorsport to a female audience.
The directors are Morongoa (Mo) Mahope, aka “Mo83”, and Nicole van Aswegen, aka “Nix21”. Mo only learnt how to ride a bike at the age of 30 but the bug soon bit and she became the 1st black female superbike racer in South Africa in 2016. In 2016 she was also appointed a brand ambassador for Motorsport South Africa and then later also for Ducati South Africa and most recently BMW Motorrad SA. Her partner Nix21, who was also a Ducati South Africa ambassador and is currently a BMW Motorrad SA brand ambassador, is a racing legend, being the first lady to race in the national 600cc championship as far back as 2009 and also the first lady to ever podium in a national Supersport race. Nicole also won the Ladies 600 class in the 2010 Northern Regions Motorcycle Championship.
For these two adrenalin junkies there’s no such thing as work is work and play is play. They’re as serious about motorsport and the future of the sport in South Africa as they are about their day jobs.
Nix 21 explains that Basadi (which is Sesotho for Women) in Motorsport is focused on rider development, safety campaigns and promoting racing among women and others not currently exposed to the sport.
“Our target market is women road riders and aspiring racers. If Basadi can be an overall brand ambassador for motorsport, we can help raise the numbers of female riders,” she said.
“South Africa is relatively far behind most developed countries; female rider numbers have dropped over the years. There is a lot of work to be done to get the numbers up to a level where we can have a good representation of female riders and, ultimately, at least two female-only race classes.”
The pair is confident the initiatives they have planned through their NPC, like rider development, safety clinics and track days, will unearth the ladies out there who may very well be SA’s next big thing in the sport.
Upcoming on their calendar is the Motorcycle Racing Series of South Africa (MRSSA). The goal of this series is to inject the fun back into competitive racing; keeping it simple with minimal rules while still racing in a safe environment.
Nicole explains the MRSSA motorcycle-only racing series is founded on the idea of catering for every kind of racer in an affordable manner.
“In this sense, the series welcomes all riders, no matter their age, skill level, type of motorcycle or preference of tyres. We love the slogan – ‘a motorcycle racing series by the riders, for the riders’. No politics, just affordable racing that’s open to all.
“It’s a cheaper form of racing for street bike riders with uncomplicated rules. There are nice feeder classes to start off in and there is room for progression to other classes as a rider’s skill levels improve.”
Basadi aims to present a programme for women who ride on the road but have never ridden on the track.
“We would start off by taking them on a race simulator, then to a small track on smaller bikes and from there to a big race circuit to help get them faster,” Mo says.
Both agree the sport is still male dominated but use this as extra motivation to perform and prove women are as capable and can succeed.
“Women should never feel inferior to men. They can achieve anything they set their minds to and we are excited to show women this through Basadi in Motorsport,” says Mo.
“The best way for us to promote the sport is by participating in it and competing against the best male racers in the country. We believe we have inspired other women and hope to inspire many others.”
This can be an uphill battle, Nicole adds, as there is still a lot of misconception out there.
“Many people think motorcycle racing is not safe when, in fact, it is much safer than riding on the road. The sport is also not only for ‘rich, white men’ as it is often perceived to be – anyone can take part. Another myth is that it’s just an expensive hobby with no career prospects. The sport is, in fact, diverse and offers many and varied potential career paths.
“Safety in racing is not our biggest concern as there are measures in place to mitigate risks on the track. Of course, there is always room for improvement by upskilling riders, but we feel the biggest risk is on the road adds Mo, being an occasional road rider herself.
“This is why we want to target women riding on the road. Most people buy motorcycles without possessing the necessary skills or training to adequately handle these machines.”
Nix21 was in love with fast cars and motorbikes from a young age, but Mo83 only explored her interest in bikes at the age of 30, oblivious to the fact there was a sporting side to it until two years later.
Adrian Scholtz, CEO of Motorsport South Africa, is firmly behind these two riders’ dream of garnering enough stakeholder support to enable their NPC to promote and build female numbers on the track.
“Basadi brings something fresh and exciting to the table from the perspective of two ladies who are active racers and therefore know what they’re talking about. The potential impact this organisation can have on motorsport, especially in terms of female participation, is enormous. “MSA is exceptionally proud of their vision and fully supports their initiatives,” he said.
Nicole and Mo have certainly proven women can multi-task. Mo is a mom to three daughters and Nicole also has a daughter. Their families are firmly behind their motorsport aspirations and always raring to go when it’s family time next to the racetrack.
Follow Basadi in Motorsport on @basadiinmotorsport or @momahope83 for Mo and @nicole.vanaswegen and @Nix21 for Nicole.
AN INTERNATIONAL MASS RIDE TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL FEMALE RIDE DAY
Unlike Alice, you don’t need to believe six impossible things before breakfast to enjoy an International Mass Ride on Saturday, 06 May 2023. The ride is in honour of International Female Ride Day (IFRD) and will end with an Alice in Wonderland-themed picnic at the Avianto Clubhouse in Muldersdrift, Gauteng.
Join in for a safe, smooth-riding and fun event, with various departure points all around Gauteng and each group led by an experienced lady rider.
The IFRD first took place in 2007, with this year being the 17th edition. The aim of the IFRD is to stage a globally synchronised motorcycling and scooter ride for women that encourages all women to ‘JUST RIDE’.
It provides the ideal opportunity for women to act as role models to the global community of women who ride, to raise awareness of the growing numbers of women who own or ride motorcycles, and to celebrate the achievements of women in motorsport.
The International Female Ride Day has a successful track record of unifying women across 120 countries around the world. In addition to these serious goals, the IFRD is also about having fun and making friends in a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere.
That’s where the Alice in Wonderland theme for this year comes in. The Muldersdrift picnic will be hosted by Alice and her friends, including the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Queen of Hearts.
“We’re all about encouraging women to find more reasons to ride, and what better opportunity than a fancy-dress picnic?” commented Kerry Puzey of Biker’s Warehouse, one of the organisers of the IFRD Mass Ride.
Registration is essential and the R50 fee affords riders participation in the Mass Ride, entrance to the wonderland ‘after-party’, a goodie bag and a picnic hamper. Once you have registered all the details will be shared including route and start point information and you can pre-order awesome IFRD merchandise and your picnic hamper. If you’re not in the mood for a picnic you can grab a pizza on the day from the Avianto Clubhouse. A cash bar will also be available to quench those parched from the ride.
Partners are welcome to participate and dressing up is definitely encouraged, with prizes for the best outfit. There will also be lots of chances to win lucky draw prizes.
“International Female Ride Day is all about celebrating the growth in female motorcycling, keeping the momentum going and encouraging more women to ride motorbikes and scooters,” commented Mercia Jansen, Motul Area Manager for Southern and Eastern Africa. “I’ll be leading one of the offroad groups myself and doing my bit to encourage ladies to take part. I’m excited for this chance to demonstrate the passion, fun and camaraderie that can be found on two wheels,” she added.
To register for the IFRD Mass Ride and picnic or to learn more, visit www.ifrd-sa.co.za
Share and follow all the fun on social media using #FemaleFocusForward #IFRDSA and #IFRDGauteng
Motul is a world-class French company with 170 years of experience in the specialised formulation, production and distribution of high-tech engine lubricants (for two-wheelers, cars and other vehicles) as well as lubricants for industry via its Motul Tech division.
Since its inception in 1853, Motul has been recognised for the quality of its products, commitment to innovation and involvement in competition, and is also acknowledged as a specialist in synthetic lubricants. In 1971, Motul was the first lubricant manufacturer to pioneer the formulation of a 100% synthetic lubricant, derived from the aeronautical industry and making use of esters technology: 300V lubricant.
Motul partners with many manufacturers and racing teams in order to further their technological product development through experience gained in motorsports. It has served as an official supplier for teams competing in iconic Road racing, Trials, Enduro, Endurance, Superbike, Supercross, Rallycross and World GT1 events, including 24 Hours of Le Mans (cars and motorcycles), 24 Hours of Spa, Le Mans Series, Andros Trophy, the Dakar Rally and the Roof of Africa.
To mark International Women’s Day this coming Wednesday 8 March, the FIM has released a documentary entitled Women in Motorcycling.
Produced in conjunction with online broadcasting specialists WebsEdge, the FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission (CFM) has partnered with Can-Am, BMW Motorrad and MUNER University for this very special project with the aim of raising the profile of female motorcycle sport and inspiring the next generation of riders.
Featuring interviews with iconic female competitors, the twenty-two-minute film shares the inspirational stories of FIM World Champions Laia Sanz, Iris Kramer and Kiara Fontanesi along with trail-blazing road racer Andrea Coleman and up-and-coming prospect Ran Yochay.
A celebration of female motorcycle sport, Women in Motorcycling showcases three key areas in the motorcycle industry from on the road to engineering and racing.
“As soon as you put on the helmet it doesn’t matter what your gender is,” explains nineteen-year-old racer Ran Yochay. “What matters is our love for the sport and what matters is how we ride. If you’re good, you’re good – it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman.”
Janika Judeika, FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission Director: “The FIM is devoted to making motorcycling an open, inclusive and benevolent environment for all. That is why the Women in Motorcycling Commission continuously seeks ways to showcase role models who can inspire more and more women to not only join our sport, but also strive in it, no matter which path or discipline they choose. Joining forces with WebsEdge, BMW Motorrad, Can-Am, and MUNER University was a great opportunity to deliver our message to a wider audience and show girls and women everywhere that they are strong, capable, unstoppable and, most of all, supported by an extraordinary community of people!”
Stephen Horn, CEO, WebsEdge:“We were delighted to partner with the FIM to produce a film that explores the challenges and achievements of women in motorcycling. This is a ground-breaking and unique point of view of women in the industry who have made a difference. As a company we feel strongly about advancing gender equality and breaking barriers, we know the most powerful way of doing that is to share knowledge and experiences through storytelling.”
Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad: “Women are a strong part of our BMW Motorrad community. We have more and more female participants in track days and it is great that their interest in being actively involved in motorsport is also rising. As BMW Motorrad, we support them with many activities. The FIM commitment to support women in motorsports is fantastic and it has high importance for us to be a part of it. Our common goal is to interest even more girls and women for bikes and for racing and to assist them on their way into motorsports. We are excited about a future with more and more female racers competing in the different levels and disciplines of racing.” – Watch the BMW Movie Click HERE
Francesco Leali, MUNER professor and Advanced Automotive Engineering Program Director: “MUNER is promoting the value of diversity, with the belief that being able to attract more and more talented young women is not only a matter of equality, but it is a requirement to enhance the overall quality of the world of motorsport. For years we have been carrying out activities that aim to encourage women’s empowerment through, among others, creating a valuable network at both the national and international levels. The collaboration with FIM on the Women in Motorcycle project makes us proud and confident towards a richer and fairer future.” – Watch MUNER movie Click HERE
Martin Ethier, Can-Am Marketing Director: “Can-Am is extremely proud to once again be a corporate partner of the International Female Ride Day for 2023 and support this global movement. With the largest female presence of any powersports manufacturer and programs like Women of On-Road Can-Am is committed to breaking down barriers and opening the open road to all. We look forward to celebrating this amazing event and empowering the next generation of female riders.” – Watch CanAM Movie Click HERE
It’s not just a ride – it’s a movement! Unified action fuses common passion with women rider enthusiasts for yearly synchronized action.
Toronto, Canada (22 February 2023) – Women motorcycle, motorsport and powersports riders prepare for an incredible day of camaraderie in one synchronized action for the 17th edition of International Female Ride Day® (IFRD). Saturday 6 May, the global “just ride” day celebrates the spirit of woman riders and spotlights women who ride. The day will be an exciting day for women everywhere!
IFRD is an inspiring movement created to bring together women riders from all walks of life to celebrate and boost female equity and shared solidarity among women in motorsport, motorcycling and powersports. The IFRD platform highlights and promotes its participants who equally enjoy connecting with other like-minded individuals. Whether solo or in groups, structured events, or weekend-long celebrations, IFRD takes place in 120 countries around the world.
The IFRD call to action “just ride” encourages female motorcyclists to get out there and be visible. By taking part, women demonstrate first-hand the vast numbers of women who ride while breaking down stereotypes or preconceived definitions of female riders. IFRD provides an opportunity for women of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to come together and celebrate their unified passions.
“Riding a motorcycle or a powersports vehicle is an exhilarating experience that can bring out your best self. IFRD gives woman riders a platform for recognition, support, and acknowledgement. I hope together we continue to create an inclusive community that celebrates female rider enthusiasts from all walks of life and encourages more women to get involved in the activity – to enjoy the experience without apprehension or judgement.” states Vicki Gray, Founder.
The IFRD sidebar theme, “Focus-Female-Forward” first introduced in 2021, continues to be a focal point for 2023. This initiative aims to keep women at the forefront while striving to promote female equity of all aspects of the motorcycling and motorsport industry.
This IFRD please show your support and get ready for an incredible journey of friendship, passion, and accomplishment for the 17th edition. About International Female Ride Day®
International Female Ride Day® is a globally synchronized ride day for women motorcycle riders and women powersport enthusiasts. Referred to as a “movement” by its participants, its call to action, “Just Ride!” asks women to be on their motorcycles or powersports vehicles on the first Saturday of May each year. Created in 2007 by Vicki Gray, a lifetime motorcycling advocate, road, and race instructor – with the purpose to profile and highlight the many diverse women enjoying the activity of motorcycling. Its mission, among several, is to that of building awareness and parity for women globally across all forms of motorsport and powersports. IFRD simultaneously encourages other women to take up the activity. The event is managed under the MOTORESS® canopy.