By “Dazzlin” Shannon Venturo
HER Track Days is dedicated to helping women on two wheels have a stronger presence on the track by promoting, sponsoring, and involving women in motorcycle riding and racing through all-female track days. “Ladies Only” track days is a pioneering approach to allow women of all riding abilities an opportunity to expand their skills and abilities. At the same time, they extract maximum performance from themselves and their bikes in a safe and controlled environment.
Organizers Sara Zomo and Sylvia Marie shared how they got into track riding themselves.
Sara dreamed of motorcycle racing for many years. Then four years ago, her mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Her mother’s fight inspired Sara to live life to the fullest and realize that tomorrow is never promised. You need to seize the day and follow your heart now. Sylvia was attending an advanced riding course, and the instructor identified her talent. He inquired if she had ever been to the track and encouraged her to go. She attended an event at Chuckwalla, and it was “love at first ride.”
Sara met Sylvia on her first track day. They became best friends and now partners. Sylvia took her under her wing at that event. Her kind and caring way of coaching her at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway that day resonated with her. “Receiving that guidance and support from another experienced female rider was so special to me. I wanted every woman to have the same special track experience. I was lucky to have that from Sylvia.” Sara said.
Sara and Sylvia shared that they were nervous about not being able to fill all the spots. There is a huge financial commitment upfront when securing the track, event insurance, medical personnel, track staff, etc. But guess what! HER Track Day Event sold out a month before the date and had a long waitlist going.
The bonus of an all-female event allows them to focus on learning in a more relaxed and comfortable setting, which tears down fears and creates a comfort zone of women cheering on women to success. Women supporting and empowering their tribe out on the asphalt keeps a mindset and vibe of security. If riding on the street does not satisfy your need for speed, you probably have at least thought about racing on a track.
A considerable benefit for track riding is that the pavement condition is predictable, with no unexpected or hidden obstacles in the road, and everyone is traveling in the same direction. The first thing you should ask yourself as you prepare for a track day is, are you fast enough? You might think you are fast out on the street, but you may even surprise yourself how much quicker you are than other track riders out there. Or, if you have no experience or are not riding fast enough, you run the risk of frustrating other track riders or getting in the way of other riders. So, do an honest assessment of your ability and ask for advice from track riders you might know. You will be asked if you are an A, B, or C rider. You can continuously get upgraded! This happened to both Sam and me at the track.
Founder of Sin City Moto Girls, Brandi Moya told me, “I saw a major improvement on the road from my track experience. I learned skills before speed. Learning to ride the track, and as I gain skill, I will get faster. I loved it, and I can’t wait to go again.” I agree. Each lap around the track, I learned more about what I needed to do with my body and bike positioning to smash a curve. I could hear my track coach William Russell in my head saying, “Turn your head, FURTHER! Turn the handlebars, lean the bike, slip the clutch, drag the rear brake, and control the throttle.” Is that too much to ask? Lean, maintain your speed, trail brake, and a steady drive! GO! GO! GO! Unfortunately, I dragged my rear brake a little too much and lost all rear braking in turn six. That took me back to the pits, and I was done for the day. A learning experience that stock brakes are not for the track. You live, you learn.
During the morning rider’s brief, these ladies experienced their proudest moment. Sara asked the question, “How many of you this is your first track day?” nearly two-thirds of the group raised their hands. That moment personally gave me goosebumps, too, and the group erupted into monstrous applause. “We had so many first-time track riders that just killed it!” she said.
Follow HER Track Days on social media and watch for another All-Female Track Day soon. There are so many folks to thanks for making the event a success. A huge shout out and thanks to Alpinestars, Dani, and Heath for hooking up the ladies with a FREE suit rental for the day. I feel this was the deciding factor for many that attended. It’s a big financial commitment to purchase all the gear. It holds many people back from jumping into the sport. To have this provided and paid forward for them by Alpinestars was quite a gift. I heard so many attendees express their gratitude and say they would buy their own soon since they know they want to do it again and again.
Her Track Days event organizers want to say thank you. “WOW, ladies. Thank you so much for coming and riding your hearts out. Each one of you inspires us. Thank you for allowing us to create these empowering events. I loved my first full track day and can’t wait to get back out there smashing curves. One of my friends Matt Cobra had a view of my “Taste of the Track” previously. He said I missed every apex. Boo hoo. I am confident that he would have been proud of my performance and progress at Willow Springs, Horse Thief Mile. I had a blast!
I look forward to attending another Her Track Day event soon.
Photo Credits: Dylan Raduenz- Eternal Visions, Glenn Ducusin and Dustin Perkins.