Brisbane’s Tayla Relph wrote her name indelibly into the history books of Australian motorcycle racing in April 2016 when she powered a Honda NSF250R to race victory in the Moto3 class of the Australian Superbike Championship at Eastern Creek, then backed it up a couple of months later with a win at Barbagallo Raceway.
Fast forward 18 months, and the 21-year-old Journalism student is older, wiser, stronger and faster, and preparing to campaign a Yamaha R3 in this year’s 300cc Supersport class, where she now considers fighting for podiums in a predominantly male-dominated sport to be the rule rather than the exception.
Name: Tayla Relph
From: Brisbane, QLD
Discipline: Road Racing
Bike: Yamaha R3
Sponsors: Motorcycle Sportsmen of QLD, North Star Yamaha, Micks Fix Leather Repair, Earmold Australia, Cut Grafix, Arai Helmets, Cassons, The Grinning Dingo, UNIT clothing and MotoREcycle
I ride a motorcycle because:
It’s something that I have done all my life. It has shaped who I am as a person and has made me who I am today. It allowed me to create dreams and goals from such a young age and showed me that anything can be possible with hard work, dedication and commitment. It has taught me so many lessons that I can take with me throughout the rest of my life!
The reason I compete aboard one is:
The adrenaline is obvious, with the speed, the racing atmosphere and overall amount of fun you have racing against 45 other riders. However, having the chance to not only race but be competitive with the males is a great buzz for me, but now that I've been competitive with males for so long this has just become a normal feeling for me. The buzz you get is even better when you do get on that podium or win an Australian championship race; it just shows you that literally anything is possible, being a female doesn't stop you from being able to achieve and this is the mind frame girls need to have in this male-dominated sport!
What I love about my bike is:
I love the Yamaha R3 because it’s a road registrable bike that we’re pushing it to its absolute limit. It's a cheap and affordable class to race in, which is why the grid is at full capacity at every single ASBK National round - with 45 bikes starting each race!
The thing I love about road racing is:
I love the speed that comes with road racing. Hitting over 200km/hr doesn't even feel that quick for me now …but crashing at that speed definitely does! I love that you're on the limit everywhere and that a race is all about who can not only ride fast, but ride smart.
The biggest high I ever got from competition was:
Definitely being the first female to ever win an Australian championship race against males, and even better, winning 2 races in the 2016 season! It was awesome making the history books in Australian racing.
My favourite track is:
Phillip Island, because of the speed! It's such a fast, flowing circuit especially on an R3, you're nearly pinned everywhere! There's definitely a reason as to why it's a favourite for so many MotoGP riders.
The people who taught me the most about my sport are:
My Dad has been a major influence in this sport for me. Growing up I had the pleasure of being coached by Garry McCoy as he is a close member of my Club 'The Motorcycle Sportsmen of QLD'. Also, Dave Fuller from ART - Advanced Rider Training.
The person/people whose backing makes all the difference is/are:
The main two is definitely my Mum and Dad. They have been my absolute rock from my very first race meet and I know they are always behind me and supporting me. And my sponsors both big and small, they all play a major role in me being on track at every round! In 2017, I couldn't have raced without the support of Motorcycle Sportsmen of QLD and North Star Yamaha - their support and backing was the only reason I raced last season!
Outside of my motorcycle life:
I have 2 part-time jobs, one as a Childcare Teacher and the other in a 5-Star food catering company. I am also a Full-Time University Student studying my Bachelor of Journalism with Minors in Criminology and Criminal Justice and Sociology. I'm also hoping to compete in a slalom single ski competition this year! A very busy life!
People might be surprised to know that I:
I don't actually have a road bike licence, only my car licence. I would never ride my bike on the road... I think I would lose my licence instantly! Haha
This year my goals are:
To get on the podium and win my first race in the Supersport or R3 Cup class!
The aspect of my motorcycling that I'll be focussing on most is:
being as lean as possible, working hard on my fitness - both my strength and my mental fitness.
A big thanks to:
Action pic courtesy of - William Course Photography
Family pic courtesy of - MotoPix Steve Thibou