Today’s motorcyclists are doctors, lawyers, accountants, even politicians. It is a lifestyle that has been embraced across the colour spectrum since the 1940s.
Motorsport South Africa (MSA) wants to tap into the rise and rise of black riders to attract more participants to the multitude of motorcycle racing categories across South Africa, especially black women riders.
Morongoa (Mo) Mahope, a 35-year-old mother, wife and accountant by profession is the only black woman motorcycle racer in South Africa; she represents the FIM’s Women in Motorcycling initiative and is also MSA’s brand ambassador representing women in motorcycle racing.
Her brief is simple: attract more women of colour into the sport. Mo has garnered a huge following on social media, enjoying a high media profile which makes her a perfect role-model for motorcyclists across the country.
MSA’s goal is to grow the new-for-2018 250cc Ladies Cup, an inexpensive introduction to motorcycle racing, featuring eight rounds across Gauteng and Limpopo with racers then hopefully progressing into regional and national racing.
Ten black riders were invited to the Vereeniging Kart Circuit on Saturday 08th September to attend a motorcycle racing coaching session. Participants arrived from as far away as Nelspruit, with the goal of sharpening their skills in a safe environment, skills that they can use to improve their everyday riding.
The course was headed by Neil Harran from the SA Motorcycle Racing Academy with another four coaches on hand to give personal instruction. After a detailed riders briefing, participants mounted Honda CBR 250 racers from the Cre8work Ladies Cup series. “SAMRA teaches kids to ride from a young age and aims to get more people involved in racing. There’s lots of young black kids showing world-class talent; it is our job to harness and direct that talent into a racing career”, said Harran.
The riders’ first lesson was to learn the correct racing lines, followed by smaller group sessions to get used to the racing gearbox, which operates the opposite way to road-going bikes.
After lunch, riders were encouraged to pick up their speed while the coaches (regular racers from the short circuit championship) circulated amongst them to help identify learning opportunities and needs.
The riders were particularly keen to sharpen their skills, especially cornering technique, which will improve their overall safety on the road. Simon Lamola, a professional nurse and member of the Paragon Motorcycle Club who rides a Suzuki Boulevard, said: “As motorcyclists, learning skills from professionals will increase our safety on the road”.
Lesley Nkosi, a 40-year-old IT specialist from Nelspruit rides a Suzuki Huyabusa 1300 and has been riding motorcycles since 2010. “It was scary at first, looking at the corners, but with the coaching provided, my confidence built as the day progressed. I attended to sharpen my skills to tackle curves in the road with more confidence but now that I have been introduced to the sport, I would love to race in the Ladies Cup”.
MSA is planning similar training days across the country to attract a wider involvement from black riders and replicate the successes already achieved by the effervescent and talented Mo Mahope.
For further information on the 250cc Ladies Cup, contact Nail Harran on email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography by: Dave Ledbitter