Gaining Traction: 5 Influential Female Motorcycle Racers of the 21st Century

The world of racing is constantly evolving, opening many doors for would-be champions to take on the challenge to push through boundaries. In recent years, women have taken strides in motorcycle racing, setting and breaking records while making a name for themselves in a male-dominated industry.

While there is much more road to cover, there are many influential competitors willing to strap on the helmet and ride into history.

Here are five prominent female motorcyclists leaving their mark, acting as a beacon for future enthusiasts.

1. Maria Costello, British Motorcycle Racer

This British motorcyclist is an icon who attracted full media and motorsport attention when she burst out on the scene, and she has set more than a few records, including a Guinness World Record.Maria Costello held the record for the fastest woman to lap the Isle of Man TT course at a staggering 114.73 mph average per lap until her record was broke in 2009.

Aside from being a record holder, Costello established many firsts for women in motorsports. She was the first solo woman to stand on the podium for the Manx Grand Prix in 2005 placing third in the ultra-lightweight category. She was the first women to take a podium at a TT or Manx GO. A trendsetter for women in the sport, she won a total of 7 Manx Prix Silver replicas and a Bronze TT Replica. With such an impressive resume, this freelance journalist and career racer is a true inspiration.

Melissa Paris talks with her husband, AMA SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes


2. Melissa Paris, American Road Racer

A professional road racer hoping to inspire a younger generation of female racers, Melissa Paris is a first-class team assembler and owner. While she sets her sights on inspiring new talent, she has pretty impressive accomplishments of her own. She was the first female to qualify for a World Supersport race, and she raced in the FIM World Endurance Championship.

Paris, the wife of four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes, scored top 10 in the Daytona 200, and was the only female to test a Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP machine. She conquered in a WERA West Superbike Championship and was part of a class-winning team in the 24 Hours of Barcelona Endurance Race. A force to be reckoned with both on and off the bike, Paris shows no sign of slowing down as she continues to discover talent and encourage other women to join the sport.

3. Ana Carrasco, Spanish Motorcycle Racer

Our next trailblazer in the Moto world started racing at only 16-years old and she is making history. She competed in the 2017 Supersport 300 World Championship riding a Kawasaki Ninja 300 and became the first woman to win the solo class. She was also the first female rider to score points in the Moto3 World Championship at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix. To top it all off, she scored 8th place at the 2013 Valencian Grand Prix and she’s only getting started. With so many races ahead of her, the future is bright, and she will continue to inspire others to take to the road as she tackles on her next challenge.

4. Jenny Tinmouth, British Motorcycle Racer

The next on our list of top influences from the 21st century is the current female lap record holder for the Isle of Man TT, Jenny Tinmouth. This British racer not only broke the record in 2009, but she re-broke her own record the following year at an average speed of 119.945 mph average per lap. Tinmouth is currently the Guinness World Record holder for her impressive achievement. When not breaking speed records, she’s breaking barriers as the first and only female who competed in the British Superbike Championship. This is a huge first for women in motorsports.

In 2010, Tinmouth became the first female racer to lead and score points in a British Championship Race, stand on the podium, and win a British Championship Race in the Supersport Cup at Silverstone. She placed third overall, the highest placement for a female competitor. Tinmouth also had a hand running her own team, Two-Wheel Racing in 2013, and competed with Honda Racing UK team in 2015. Still ever-present in the field, she continues to be an inspiration for future competitors.

5. Shelinda Moreda, American Motorcycle Racer

When not posing as a Covergirl model, Shelinda Moreda is tearing up the racetrack. As the first woman to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on a motorcycle, and part of the first female team to complete a Suzuka Endurance Race, this professional road racer is only getting started. Moreda was the first female to race the Zhuhai International Circuit in China and finished third on the Splitlath EBR Superbike. She scored a win in 2016, finishing first in the Women’s Championship in Qatar, but her ambitions aren’t limited to the race track.

Moreda currently runs the She’z Moto Camp, a program focused on building confidence and inspiring future female motorcyclists to develop their skills. Beyond the racing, her goal is to inspire women of all ages to take an interest in riding, for glory or for fun.

Influencing the Next Generation

While all of these women have set the bar for future moto competitors, they are dedicated to inspiring the younger generation. Whether they are seeking out talent, attracting youth to the sport, or demonstrating that any record can be broken, these women are determined to push the limits. They are only a sampling of the strong and capable athletes. With their leadership, and the leadership of others in the industry, there’s no telling what lies ahead for women in motorsports.