Top Female Racers Share Rare Insights

Four leading women gather for panel discussion

By Genevieve Schmitt
Four of the top female motorcycle racers, each making history and breaking records on their own, gathered for a panel discussion at the Long Beach, California, stop of the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in December.
The panel of racers included, from left: AMA pro road racer Shelina Moreda; land speed record holder Leslie Porterfield; AMA pro road racer Melissa Paris; and 16-year-old AMA pro road racer Elena Myers.

Leslie Porterfield is a multi-record holder for land speed racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats. She also holds the Guinness World Record for “fastest conventional motorcycle speed”set by a woman. At 16 years old, Elena Myers is the first woman to win an AMA Pro Racing professional motorcycle road race. She did so in May 2010 at Infineon Raceway in California. Melissa Paris holds the highest finish by a female in the Daytona 200 and has won national races in the 250GP class of the USGPRU race series. And Shelina Moreda recently obtained her AMA pro license, making her one of only four women to do so. She started racing AMA Pro SuperSport last season.

Quite a crowd gathered at the Women Ride area to listen to what the panelists had to say.

Women Ride organizer Sue Slate of the Women’s Motorcyclist Foundation asked the panelists several questions, the first of which was what it’s like being a female racer in a field of men. The four all agreed that it’s a benefit in terms of getting sponsorships because female professional racers get a lot of press. Shelina said it’s eye-catching to be a woman racing with men.

Leslie said that doing panel discussions like this is one way the industry can inspire young women to get involved in racing.

Leslie also shared with the audience what it’s like setting land speed records. “When you’re going 190 mph on an unfaired motorcycle, you’re basically holding on for dear life.”

When asked about what it’s like to crash, Elena replied, “You build up tolerance to pain. Pain goes along with this. I love racing so much, so it’s not a factor.” Elena broke her foot early last season and rode her first race with that broken foot.
Shelina advises wearing the best gear you can to prepare for when you do crash.

To learn more about these fascinating women, visit their respective Web sites listed below.

4 thoughts on Top Female Racers Share Rare Insights

  1. I was so inspired by these young women. I am in awe of them. I started riding when I was 64, two years ago, and am riding as much as I can to make up for so many lost years. It is wonderful to see women entering the field that has long been dominated by men.

  2. This article was great and it’s really great to learn more about women racers! I really admire those ladies!

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