Finland’s most successful female Circuit Racing riders get together for a “Women & Motorcycles” exhibition.
This week, Raisio (Finland) hosted an historic event, the first Women & Motorcycles Exhibition, in the presence of several very special guests:
• Taru Rinne, the first female rider to score points in Circuit Racing World Championship (125cc)
• Heta Koivuniemi (born Lauslehto), the first woman to win the Nordic Championship in Circuit Racing
• Kirsi Kainulainen, the first woman to win a medal at the Sidecar World Championship
• Jasmin Sarjos, one of the most promising Finnish female riders from the Kallio Racing team.
They were accompanied by FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission Director Nita Korhonen, also from Finland, and by Soili Karme, widow of the 1972 World Champion Jarno Saarinen. Soili played a major role in the “Saarinen Team”, helping and supporting Jarno to reach his goal and become World Champion.
All these prestigious ladies had the opportunity to compare their career paths and review their races, sharing experiences ranging from Taru Rinne’s racing time in the 1980’s, when, in 1989, she made second place at the Hockenheim 125cc qualifying race and finished 7th, to Kirsi Kainulainen’s 2015 title and what it feels like to be the only woman in the Sidecar World Championship, as passenger to Pekka Päivärinta, four times World Champion.
“My team members always treated me fairly already at that time, even if it was quite new for them to have a female rider; I must say that for some riders it wasn´t easy to be beaten by woman”, Taru explains.
Kirsi Kainulainen underlined that recently she had received a lot of positive feedback from her rivals: “When I started, 10-15 years ago, in motocross, it happened frequently that a boy wouldn’t join me on the podium, as he was too upset to accept that a girl had been better. After a while, they would always come back and admit my success. Now things have changed. In the Sidecar World Championship, many of my male colleagues come to me for tips and ask me how I manage to pass certain spots”, laughs Kirsi.
This event was a unique occasion to celebrate women in Circuit Racing in Finland and to gather together the pioneers who have helped women to get a foot in the door and the future talents who will throw it wide open.
FIM Womens Commission