Ahead of the Sportsbike Curve – You Go Girl!
Office employee during the week, Bianca Martin steps into sportsbike racing mode on the weekend. This is a woman who is truly fascinated by her pastime on the track.
As a volunteer rider for an organization called Trackfever, Bianca watches out for the safety of track participants and makes sure everyone respects safety regulations. Plus, she acts as a guide for those with little experience riding the circuit.
"I used to go motorcycle riding with my dad when I was a kid," says Bianca. "So, it was only a matter of time before I got my licence and bought my own bike."
Full of determination, she enrolled in a track riding course... just 2 days after obtaining her licence. Bianca has been nuts about sportsbike riding ever since. So much so, that now a full decade later she's ever-present at the track, but has practically given up on regular road riding.
"When Trackfever's founder Céline Gignac, asked me if I wanted to work with her in 2008, I accepted at once because that meant I could help others enjoy my favourite pastime as well."
According to Bianca, the women she meets at the track fall into one of two categories: first, there's the group who appreciate having a woman to assist them because it means they can go at their own pace, without anybody pressuring them. On the other hand there are those women who absolutely want to compete with the guys, to prove they're just as capable of winning as any man. Indeed, Bianca puts herself squarely in this second group.
"I was very proud, and I always wanted to perform and show them that I was at their level," she continues. "At first, I was under a lot of stress and always on edge. But as I got older and more experienced, I eventually realized that the important thing was to have fun, regardless of what others thought."
Bianca's integration into the team went smoothly. The guys working alongside her readily accepted her into the group and everyone gets along well. There's the odd tasteless joke here and there, but that's about it.
"It's all good-natured fun... nothing nasty about it, and everybody gets a good laugh, me being the first," she points out.
And as for any rider who is nonchalant about safe riding, she quickly puts them in their place. Bianca doesn't think that the fact that she's a woman makes a participant react differently. And that's because if the warning comes from a male colleague the reaction from the participant, whether good or bad, is the same.
Bianca is the only female safety officer at Trackfever. She knows of other women who hold similar positions in other organizations, but as far as she can figure out they are few and far between.
To all those who want to follow Bianca's example, she offers this piece of advice: "You shouldn't be shy about stepping up. If you want to do it, you can do it. Just set aside any negative feelings that might pop up along the way. And don't forget; at the end of line, we're in the sportbike game to have fun -- and plenty of it. "