Posted: 22 Mar 2013
Motorcycle racing is traditionally a male-dominated sport – less than five female riders compete on a professional level in the UK and Europe. Jenny Tinmouth’s on-track success over the past 14 years is an inspiration for many females wanting to get into motorsport. She’s the fastest female to lap the Isle of Man TT course, finished third in the 2010 British Supersport Cup, and was the first ever UK electric bike racing champion.
Arguably the most successful female motorcycle racer of all time, the 34-year-old full-time bike mechanic also holds two Guinness World Records and has achieved 39 podiums including 14 victories during her racing career so far. In addition, she was recently presented with the 'IT award' for her accomplishments, courage and dedication to motorcycle racing.
However, despite her obvious success in the male-dominated world of motorsport, Jenny takes her achievements in her stride. “Being a woman in a man’s world doesn’t bother me really, it’s quite a friendly world so it’s fine,” she explains. “I’m one of the lads anyway and work as a bike mechanic, so it’s alright!”
It’s her job as a mechanic, Jenny believes, that gives her an advantage in racing. “I actually trained to be a mechanic, because I wanted to go racing,” she continues. “As a privateer rider, I needed to know how to look after my own bike, and set it up.
“Riding a race bike is very different to riding a road-going version. I’ve got to concentrate really hard when riding on the road, whereas on the track I just go for it – I go as fast as I can!”
Jenny currently competes in the British Superbike Championship, and is preparing for the start of the 2013 series in April. However, it hasn’t been an easy progression for her – she originally began club racing in 1999 and has slowly built up her ability until confident enough to ride in the prestigious championship. “BSB is the premier two-wheel race championship in the country, and probably the best championship in the world,” continues Jenny. “I used to watch the races from the side-lines when I was younger, and BSB has always been my ultimate goal – it’s a real dream come true for me!
“I really hope we get more girls into racing – there are certainly more ladies coming through the ranks and there are now a couple of girls in the 125GPs. If I could offer any advice to them, I’d tell them to just keep going. Racing can get tough and you can have ‘down days’ – everyone has – but always remember the good days and just keep going and plugging away. If they enjoy racing, they’ll do good.”
Jenny had a tough year in 2012, but has high expectations for the 2013 series. “I want to do well but I know it’s easier to say than actually do it!” she says. “BSB is such a tough championship. It’s so hard and the teams I’m up against and the riders I’m up against… they’re so talented. Realistically, I’d like to score some points but the ultimate would be to go out there, be amazing and win!
“I’m still learning though. We’ve improved the bike and I’ve done a little bit of training over the winter, so hopefully, we’ll have a good run this year.”
The BSB season opener kicks off at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time.