Best 10 female bikers of all time
Men dominate motorcycling and motorsports, but that doesn't mean that female motorcyclists and racers aren't building careers in the industry - they just don't get as much attention as their male counterparts. We've rounded up 10 female riders and riders you should have heard of for their exploits on the track, on dirt, or behind the handlebars.
Since International Women's Day falls in March, we thought we'd take a look at some of the most famous motorcyclists in the world.
1. Maria Costello MBE
Maria Costello is the only motorcycle racer with those three letters after her name, which means that she is quite special.
She held the Isle of Man lap record for a cyclist and was the first woman to get on the podium at the famous mountain circuit.
Since then, she has achieved podium finishes in the Senior Classic TT and holds the women's lap record in the Northwest 200.
Due to her impressive racing CV, she is a highly demanded woman and, along with mentoring young riders in the European Junior Cup , Costello is also part of the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclist (FIM) Women in Motorcycling Commission and runs her own women-only track days in the UK.
2. Laia Sanz
Laia Sanz is a Trial and Enduro superstar from Spain, a hotbed of motorcycle talent.
When it comes to women's championships, Sanz has won everything, including the Women's Trial World Championship 13 times and the European Championship ten times.
On top of that, Sanz has also dominated the Dakar Rally since she made her debut in the world's toughest endurance race in 2011.
In her first year she topped the women's motorcycle category, a feat she repeated in 2012 and 2013. In 2015 Sanz achieved his best result, finishing ninth overall.
3. Beryl Swain Beryl Swain's
name may not be familiar to many cyclists, men or women, yet her name is etched in history books.
In 1962, Swain became the first solo woman to compete in the Isle of Man TT when she took to the mountain circuit in a 50cc Itom Racer.
She finished 22nd in a field of 25 in the ultralightweight class before the motorcycling governing body eliminated female participants, considering the TT too dangerous for women alone.
However, that setback was not enough to keep Swain away from racing and he continued to compete in the UK in events at Brands Hatch and Snetterton, even engaging in sprint races at Hackney Wick.
4. Avalon Biddle
While Swain is a name from the past, Avalon Biddle is very much a name for the future.
The 24-year-old Kiwi is the reigning European Women's Cup champion, a title she has held for the past two seasons but will not defend in 2017.
This year promises to be bigger and better for Biddle with her place in the Supersport 300 World. Championship confirmed aboard a Kawasaki Ninja 300.
5. Ashley Fiolek
Ashley Fiolek is a retired motocross rider from Michigan, USA.
When it comes to motocross, few women can match Fiolek in terms of championships and titles, starting with her taking the 2008 WMA Pro National Championship when she achieved her first win.
Three more national championships followed along with two X Games gold medals in the women's Moto X Super X in 2009 and 2010.
LeSe retired at age 22 after just five years in the professional game.
6. Maria Herrera
Maria Herrera is a Spanish rider who currently participates in Moto3 on the biggest stage in the world.
The 20-year-old from Oropesa is the only female rider in the 2017 championship, where she will seek to improve on the 11th place she achieved in her career, which she achieved in 2015 at Phillip Island.
7. Veenu Paliwal
Outside of India, Veenu Paliwal's name may not be famous, but in a country where there are an estimated 37 million motorcycles or mopeds, she was arguably the most famous motorcyclist in the country.
Her fame stemmed from the fact that she was the only female motorcyclist in Jaipur, her hometown, and she was a common sight on the road on her Harley-Davidson, so much so that her nickname was HOG Rani.
Her bond with Harley resulted in an India sponsored trip, which encompassed all Harley dealerships, however it ended in tragedy when she was tragically killed in a road accident on the way to one of the dealerships.
8. Melissa Paris
One look at the Melissa Paris website and it is clear that she is an accomplished pilot.
Her resume includes a first place in the Barcelona 24-hour endurance race and a WERA West Superbike champion in the United States.
She also raced in the BSB at Brands Hatch, became the only woman to test Honda's MotoGP M1 race bike and was the first woman to qualify for a world supersports race.
9. Elena Myers
Elena Myers is a professional runner from California and has several firsts to her name.
In 2010 she was the first woman to win an AMA Pro Racing road race, the first to win a professional race of any kind at Daytona and was the youngest woman to participate in the AMA racing series.
She has publicly set her sights on riding MotoGP, however a lack of funds meant 2016 was spent on the sidelines.
10. Jenny Tinmouth
Jenny Tinmouth is a British rider and currently holds the record for the fastest female lap at the Isle of Man TT, something she achieved in her first appearance on the island.
The following year he broke the record again, setting an average of 119.95 mph around the mountain course.
In addition to her exploits at the TT, Tinmouth has also won many female firsts in track racing. The list reads:
- First woman to enter and qualify in the British 125gp, Supersport, Supersport Cup Championships and BSB.
- First woman to lead and score points in a British Championship race
- First to claim a podium in the Supersport Cup Championship
- First woman to compete in BSB