Carrying the baton for women in motorsports

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Participants in the Women Riders World Relay (WRWR) arrive at Queens Park Feldwick Gates last week. Photo: Donna Powell

UP to 60 female motorcyclists roared into Invercargill last week (September 10) as part of the Women Riders World Relay (WRWR).

Hailed as “the biggest women’s motorcycling event”, Maureen Macnamara, of WRWR Aotearoa NZ, said more than 300 women took part in the nationwide tour, with up to 60 making it to Invercargill on the Tuesday.

More than 20,000 women riders were taking part in the international relay which began in the United Kingdom in February, carrying a baton listing the names of those taking part through 90 countries.

New Zealand was country number 51.

Formerly from Invercargill, Ms Macnamara said the relay was a way of helping to change society’s view of women participating in motorsports.

“Women now make up 20% of the motorcycle market, and we’re the fastest growing demographic.”

Although the New Zealand leg began in Waitangi on Sunday, September 7, the southern leg began from Christchurch on Tuesday, September 10 morning, before stopping at Oamaru, Dunedin and Gore, eventually arriving in Invercargill at 5.30pm.

“There was a lot of noise, cheering hugs and emotion from the riders on completing the New Zealand leg, especially for the group of riders that rode all the way from Waitangi to Invercargill – 2000kms over four days – through rain, snow, wind and finally, sunshine in the south… Dunedin to Invercargill was the best weather.”

Ms Macnamara said the ride went “incredibly smoothly”.

“While there were a few mechanical issues and a flat tyre or two along the way, there was nothing significant.”

The riders were led into Invercargill by Ann McDonald, owner of Rogers Motorcycles, who wore the baton for that part of the ride.

The end of the New Zealand relay was celebrated at Classic Motorcycle Mecca, which was one of the reasons for choosing Invercargill, Ms Macnamara said.

“Mecca is currently working on a display of women motorcyclists, and in particular, telling the New Zealand women riders’ story, which is exactly what this ride was all about – raising awareness of women in motorsport and getting our stories out there.”

Collette Edeling, an Australian who was riding the whole world relay, flew out to Canada the next day with the baton.

Ms Macnamara said the relay would finish in the United Arab Emirates in January and was hopeful the relay would make it into the Guiness Book of Records

“We will find out next year once it is completed.”

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