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September 10, 2007

Fearless and Feisty: Susie Grayson

Susieg_smiles_2Susie Grayson just doesn’t compete for Feisty Racing, she is feisty.

Grayson started racing her Minitwin in March 2005, coming 3rd in her Rookie Championship. In 2006 she competed in three Minitwin Series before moving to an R6 in the Clubman 600 Series. In 2006 she came 2nd in the Clubman 400/650 Shootout Championship. At the end of the year she was the first Brit to compete in the European Women's Cup.

2007 saw Susie (alongside teammate Deb Cartwright) on a new R6 and tackling the full European Women's Championship in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as competing in club racing in the UK, also on the R6. She aims to repeat this in 2008 as well as competing at the Manx Grand Prix in the Isle of Man as a "Newcomer".

"I’ve been through a variety of careers, including an being an Air Traffic Controller in the RAF, crane parts, steel sales and the last 10 or so years in IT. I spent 2005 working at BSB meetings and track days; building this site and the team in my spare time.

“I’ve always found myself gravitating towards more male oriented professions and interests; not through any particular desire to beat men or being a tomboy, more because they’ve been more my kind of thing.

“There is some kudos to be achieved from being one of few girls though, and generally it’s positive."

How long have you been racing?
I started in March 2005. I wish I had started when I first wanted to at 25 but money then health (I had 3 major back operations) prevented me.

Grayson_on_bike_2What first attracted you to racing motorcycles?
I met up with Deb Cartwright and the original Feisty Racing members after covering female racers on the site. I wasn’t going to race due to health but then my back showed drastic improvement and I couldn’t resist the urge.

Do you find it being hard being a woman in such a male dominated sport?
I absolutely love it, but then I’m an attention seeker at heart, and I don’t do too badly against the boys either so it’s good for personal pride.

How has Feisty Racing helped in your motorsports dreams?
Well, Deb and I have built Feisty Racing to what it is today, so it’s more a matter of what we’ve done with Feisty Racing rather than what Feisty Racing has done for us. Having said that it we hadn’t formed the concept for the team I may not have ventured out onto the grid... Who knows?

What do you want to achieve personally in the future?

I reckon I have another year or two of racing in me as I’d like to achieve a few other things in life (walking the Annapurna Circuit round the Himalayas, sky diving, snowboarding to name just a few). Having said that club racers seem to be complete addicts and I’m pretty sure I’ve got the bug. Last year I said “just one more year”, to be repeated at the start of this year, and now I’m saying just a couple of years...

In that time I’m determined to win at least one 600 mixed sex race, I intend to get a podium in the European Women’s Championship, and I would like to complete the Isle of Man TT Course without shaming myself.

Is it hard to balance a home life and family with your racing schedule?

To be honest I hardly have a home or family life so I guess the answer would be yes if I wasn’t young(ish) free and single. I have just started refurbishing a house so that’s taking up any rare spare weekend. My family gets to see me infrequently, but they’re used to that as I’ve always filled my life up.  Boys get dated if they race since that takes up most of my life.

What are your goals for Feisty Racing and BikeGirl Racing in the years to come?
BikeGirl Racing Team: Feisty Racing’s aim for 2008: Enter the European Women's Championship again, try endurance racing and the Manx Grand Prix in addition to British club racing, and find a fast young protégée

Aim for 2009: More girls into the EWC, more girls into racing

For Feisty 2008, we shall be running two more teams under the Feisty banner. We are changing the format of the team a little to enable us to put more concentration on the rookies and expanding awareness of the team in order to encourage more women into biking and racing.

In addition, Feisty Racing is starting an academy for girls who have never raced before and looking to forge alliances within Europe. They plan to launch Feisty Australia in 2008 with their first member Christine Gottlieb.

Feisty girls truly are at the forefront of women in motorsports in the European community. You go girls!

by Linda Przygodski
Women in Motorsports
Contributing Editor


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