The Speed Queens

The North West 200 race in Ireland this month will see two internationally renowned female riders making their mark on the circuit

Although largely unknown to most Indian bikers, the North West 200, held in the month of May every year in Northern Ireland, is quite a significant motorcycle race in Europe in its own right. Held on a street circuit made up of public roads running between the towns of Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush (also known as The Triangle), the North West 200 is one of the fastest road races in the world with speeds well in excess of 320 kmph.

And, slowly but gradually, this usually male-dominated sport is witnessing a perceptible shift with the inclusion of more and more ladies brave enough to demolish popular opinion that they’re are just there as eye candy and are actually capable of rubbing shoulders with hardened men at speeds that will make ordinary mortals flinch.

Returning for their second year at the NW200 are such two internationally renowned female riders, Simona Zaccardi and Ornella Ongaro, from Italy and France respectively. Of them, Zaccardi (37) has taken part in the Manx Grand Prix as well as the Italian and the European Championships, providing stiff competition to her male counterparts on championship podium finishes and overall points.

She say’s being a woman in this male dominated sport usually throws her in the lime light but still admits that it is not a problem for her and she does not mind it as she is a road racer and not some movie star. Event technical director Mervyn White states that he would like to see more female competitors at the North West event and he says that it is great to have women competing in the NW 200 and proving a point in competitive racing. Here’s wishing the two brave ladies all the best for the North West 200 and all their future racing endeavours.

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