To mark International Women’s Day, we take a retrospective look at one of the biggest women’s only track-days held to date in Australia, Ladies Day at the Raceway, recently hosted by The Motorcycle Sportsmen of Queensland.
The Motorcycle Sportsmen of Queensland are a motorcycle Circuit Racing club based in Brisbane Australia. They hold many club and state level race meets each year along with track-days and coaching days. The club also run and host the Queensland round of the Australian Superbike Championship at their home track, Morgan Park Raceway in Warwick.
Ladies Day at the Raceway was the Motorcycle Sportsmen’s inaugural women’s only track-day. The “Sporties” are a racing club, and the primary aim for the day was to introduce women to track riding and racing. Women make up a large percentage of road riding motorcyclists but make up a much smaller percentage of track riders and an even smaller percentage of racers.
Ladies day at the Raceway had to be different from normal track-days, which usually assume a high level of experience and preparation from the participant. Sporties expected that many of the riders would be new to track riding and this was borne out in the entry list: 64 riders attended the day and the majority were first-timers to track riding, with machines ranging from cruisers and retros to the latest model sportsbikes.
Motorcycling Australia accredited coaches are always on track at Sporties track-days but the low percentage of female track riders means there is also a correspondingly small percentage of female coaches. To help new riders feel comfortable and encourage interaction, Ladies day at the Raceway featured rider mentors recruited from the ranks of our female club racers. Easily identifiable on track and in the pits wearing their Ladies Day at the Raceway bibs worn over their leathers, the rider mentors ranged from teenage hotshots who compete in the Moto3 category at National level through to mums who are regular track-day riders and racers. In addition to this, graded groups, backed up by transponder timing meant that the ladies had a safe and controlled environment for their first track-day experience.
Ladies Day at the Raceway participants received a welcome pack from the event sponsors which included discount vouchers and a custom compression top. The generous sponsors also provided raffle prizes which were drawn for during the included buffet lunch.
The scene in the pits prior to Ladies Day at the Raceway was just like any other track-day, with excited chatter from people in leathers taping up headlights and removing mirrors, except that the chatter was in a higher tone, the people in leathers were women and when they went out to ride, it was the fathers who were left in the pits holding the babies.
Ladies Day at the Raceway will be returning to Morgan Park Raceway on 8 October 2017. The one day event will be preceded by a mixed track-day which, it is hoped, will encourage women and couples to come from farther afield to make for a bigger and better event.
Motorcycling Australia Communication