Superbike racing has a huge following, but female participation is limited. This is about to change.
Basadi’s directors, Morongoa (Mo) Mahope, aka “Mo83”, and Nicole van Aswegen, aka “Nix21” are local trendsetters in this sport.
Mo only learned how to ride a bike at the age of 30, but went on to become the first black female superbike racer in South Africa in 2016.
In 2016, she was appointed a brand ambassador for Motorsport South Africa, and then later also for Ducati South Africa and, most recently, BMW Motorrad SA.
Her partner, Nix21, a past Ducati South Africa ambassador, is currently a BMW Motorrad SA brand ambassador and is a racing legend. She was the first woman to race in the national 600cc championship as far back as 2009, and also the first lady to ever podium in a national Supersport race. Nicole also won the Ladies 600 class in the 2010 Northern Region Motorcycle Championship.
Nix21 explains that Basadi (which is Sesotho for women) focuses on rider development. This includes safety campaigns and promoting racing among women and others not currently exposed to the sport.
“Our target market is women road riders and aspiring racers. If Basadi can be an overall brand ambassador for motorsport, we can help increase the number of female riders,” she said.
“South Africa is relatively far behind most developed countries; female rider numbers have dropped over the years.”
Basadi is aiming to establish at least two female-only race classes.
The pair are confident the initiatives they have planned through their NPC will unearth the ladies out there who may very well be SA’s next big thing in the sport.
Upcoming on their calendar is the Motorcycle Racing Series of South Africa (MRSSA). The goal of this series is to inject the fun back into competitive racing; keeping it simple with minimal rules while still racing in a safe environment.
“This series welcomes all riders, no matter their age, skill level, and type of motorcycle or preference of tyres. We love the slogan ‘a motorcycle racing series by the riders, for the riders. No politics, just affordable racing that is open to all.
“It’s a cheaper form of racing for street bike riders with uncomplicated rules. There are nice feeder classes to start off in and there is room for progression to other classes as a rider’s skill levels improve.”
Basadi aims to introduce women who ride on the road to riding on a track.
“We would start off by taking them on a race simulator, then to a small track on smaller bikes, and from there to a big race circuit to help get them faster,” Mo says.
“Women should never feel inferior to men. They can achieve anything they set their minds to and we are excited to show women this through Basadi in motorsport,” says Mo.
“The best way for us to promote the sport is by participating in it and competing against the best male racers in the country. We believe we have inspired other women and hope to inspire many others.”
This can be an uphill battle, Nicole adds, as there is still a lot of misconception out there.
“People think motorcycle racing is not safe. It is, in fact, much safer than riding on the road. Another myth is that it’s just an expensive hobby with no career prospects. The sport is diverse and offers many and varied potential career paths.
“Safety in racing is not our biggest concern as there are measures in place to mitigate risks on the track. Of course, there is always room for improvement by up skilling riders, but we feel the biggest risk is on the road, adds Mo, being an occasional road rider herself.
Adrian Scholtz, CEO of Motorsport South Africa, says, “Basadi brings something fresh and exciting to the table. It knows what it is talking about. MSA is exceptionally proud of its vision and fully supports its initiatives”.
Source: Cathy Findley PR