Ladies Day at the Raceway Mentor: Michelle Benjak

Ladies Day at the Raceway Mentor: Michelle Benjak

Author: Media/Monday, September 05, 2016/Categories: State News

The Motorcycle Sportsmen of Qld are proud to present our inaugural Ladies only trackday "Ladies Day at the Raceway" at Morgan Park Raceway on 09 October 2016.

This is a fun day aimed at opening up the concept of circuit riding to ladies and showing them how much fun you can have when you take your bike to the track.

Entries are now open via member.motorcyclesportsmen.com.au.

Lunch and a welcome pack will be provided for all and we will be holding giveaways throughout the day! Any participants who have never held an MA license will be eligible for a free "Come and Try" license for the day.

This day is being run with the support of the FIM Women in motorcycling program, Morgan Park Raceway and Motorcyling Queensland.

Mentor Interview: Michelle Benjak:

Age:  38

Years Riding:   7 years 

Height:  154cm

Current motorcycles: My Road bike 05 Honda CBR600RR, Race Bike 1996 Honda RS125, Dirt bike Yamaha DT175 

Past motorcycles: Honda CBR250RR MC22, TTR125

List your sponsors: Aly-Tek, Ricondi, HiSide Leathers, SOS Lock & Security

Racing Page/Website: Don’t currently have one.

What class of bikes do you currently race?  Moto3/GP125

Can you describe a typical day at the track?

You can arrive from 7am. You get your bike and gear set up. Go sign on and get your timing transponder then there’s a briefing before heading out on track from 9am. Depending on numbers on the trackday there may be 3 or 4 groups and Novice riders always get a few sighting laps to help them with where to go and to try get rid of some of their nerves. Once all the technicalities are sorted and its track time; it’s mostly a day of lots and lots of fun, chatting, meeting new people and a few laughs with people who end up becoming like family. My goal for each track day or race-meet is to be better than I was the last time, whether it be a small success or a new PB, I always just chase progression.

How did you feel the first time you rode on a track and compare it to the emotions you feel now when you ride?

Well.. I was soooo nervous, a few hundred nervous toilet stops! But as soon as I get out on track and got those first few laps out the way, I wondered why hadn’t I done this sooner?! You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! I still get a bit nervous every time I go out but that’s just the Mum in me being cautious, once I’m out there I calm down and enjoy it!

How did you get into riding on track?

When I was quite new to riding My hubby & a few friends suggested a track day and said it’s a good chance for you to get to know your bike and allow you to progress in an environment that is a bit safer than the streets. It allows you to go at the speed that the bike is capable of and you can experience the performance of the bike without pressure. I found that once I had done a few track days, I loved it and my confidence grew and grew. From then we started doing more and more and I improved significantly each time I went out on track It might have been little steps forward but I am definitely glad I choose to go to the track to learn more about riding.  Everyone is always happy to help and offer advice.

 

Do you ride anything other than sport bikes?

I do ride dirt bikes as well and have tried trial riding out but would definitely love another dirt bike as that’s another totally different kind of fun.

Do you follow any professional racing series? 

MotoGP (All Classes), WSBK, ASBK and have even started getting into the AMA Motocross.

Are you treated the same as a male racer and do you see yourself having the same opportunities and access to advance within the sport? 

It seems the sport is becoming more accepting of female riders as there are more and more of us joining in. I have never had a bad experience and have always had male riders try and help as much as they can. There are definitely more opportunities for ladies now and it seems like it’s just getting better, but it comes down to the individual to take advantage of the opportunities that are given. It would be great to see a full female class of road racers but we just don’t have the numbers. Hopefully that will change!  

Have you had any mentors who helped you get to where you are today?

I have had numerous mentors in my friends and track family that have all contributed to my progression. CSS was a huge help when I was new to riding, the way they break everything down and explain how what and why, it all just makes sense. I think I struggle with confidence more than anything and a lot of riding fast is mentally challenging.

Who are your inspirations? 

Casey Stoner, Marc Marquez, Elena Myers, Jenny Tinmouth and Maria Costello

What do you do for fun when you’re not riding or racing? 

Well I like lots of stuff... I love to dance, anything motorsport, cycling and fitness, I have dabbled in pole dancing which was great for core and strength. I’m willing to give most things a go!

Any favourite foods?  I love mash potato and Spaghetti Bolognese

What’s the last inspiring book you read?  I don’t have time to read much but the last book I read was Casey Stoners book ‘Pushing The Limits’

Any favourite movies or TV shows?  Favourite Movie Probably Burlesque and TV shows Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead

What advice would you give someone who wants to get into track riding or road racing?

Just take the plunge... I know it’s hard, I was always worried about being too slow or getting in the way but in the end I thought “everyone starts somewhere and I’m not riding for them I’m riding for my own benefits”. I’m the one who is in control and I can go as fast as I want, if that takes time at the start then that’s ok.

People think the track is only for only going fast but it’s so much more than that, it builds confidence, allows you to learn how your bike works, lets you understand what it can do and helps you get closer to where the limits are. It’s about progression within yourself, your own achievements and goals. If you focus on your own riding first, speed will eventually come. If you are already a confident fast rider then you’re at the next stage of seeing where you can go and what you are capable of. Always remember that you are the one that is in control and it’s you that twists the throttle.

It is seriously the most fun you will have, and you will meet other like-minded riders who love riding as much as you do. The atmosphere out at the track is something everyone should experience at least once.

 

 

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