INTERVIEW: Motorcycle racing for beginners with Kayla Barrington
On Saturday, The Bike Insurer made the trip to Brands Hatch for the first race in the 2016 NG Road Racing series.
NG Road Racing was formed out of the North Gloucestershire Motor Cycle Club, a bike club that started in 1970.
In that time it’s developed into one of the leading race championships and clubs in the UK and gives an affordable and accessible opportunity for new riders to move into racing.
And it was one of those riders that The Bike Insurer spoke to, with Kayla Barrington, the only female rider on show, giving us an insight into how she got into riding in her first ever road race, and it all started with a raffle.
- How did you get into motorcycles?
“My Dad won a raffle and got a 60cc Husqvarna that he gave to my older brother. After watching him ride that for two years I was desperate to get on two wheels so when I was five I got into Motocross before I started racing in Supermoto when I’d just turned 14.
“I did that for four or five years, finishing off with two years in the National Elite series.”
- We’ve heard you’ve got a couple of trophies and records under your belt already?
“Yeah, I was the first British female to go into the Elite class in Supermoto in the UK and I think I was the first (and youngest) British girl to go to Supermoto of Nations, which is a world event.
“I’m proud of that, it’s quite a nice thing to brag about!”
- Did you think you were any good at riding?
“Everyone told me I was good around the corners rather than the aggressive Motorcross parts of Supermoto, so I tried a couple of track days and kind of fell in love with it.
“That was in December 2014 and now it’s my first race meeting on the Triumph Daytona 675cc in the 600 Class. Today’s the fourth time I’ve been on the bike!”
- Why did you stop Supermoto?
“I thought I was much better on the tarmac than on the dirt sections so thought why am I doing an event that makes me go on dirt when I’d be better on just the tarmac?
“Then as I said, I gave it a go, liked it and here I am!”
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5. How have you done so far today?
“I came 20th in qualifying and 20th in the race, which I’m really happy with first time out and it was really good fun. I’ve definitely got the bug and I’m already thinking about where to race in the future.
“If I do as well as I want to I’d like to move into the British championships and do a couple of European rounds. That would be nice!”
6. Why did you choose the NG series?
“It was really easy to move into the NG Series. I had to do a track test because I don’t ride on the road and then it was just apply for a licence.
“I chose NG because the tracks it uses are quite close to home so I could do lots of track days and practicing when I need to. If I was travelling around a lot I probably couldn’t do that.
“Everyone’s been really helpful, answering lots of my stupid questions and they’re always happy to give me some advice.”
7. You’re the only female riding in the NG Road Racing Series. How do you feel about being the only female rider?
“It feels normal. I’ve been racing most of my life and it’s always been like this for me. There aren’t many girls in the sport.
“I’ve beaten quite a few men on the track today so I don’t mind, it’s just like beating anyone else.
“The sport needs more women but it’s kind of daunting as a girl coming into an all male environment and sometimes you can get belittled. Generally, people are really accepting of it; it’s a mix match so I can understand why some women are put off from racing.”
8. What advice would you give to any girl thinking about racing two wheels?
“I’d definitely recommend it and would tell them not to let other peoples’ expectations put you off.
“The best way to cope with that is to show other people they’re wrong. It’s empowering to have a go and prove everyone else wrong. Give it a go, if you like it, keep at it.”
If you want to start motorbike racing and are wondering how you can move into track racing, watch our video with Lewis Osler about how to get into motorcycle racing.
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