For years I had heard about Femmoto but have fought the concept due to my own mindset that I just wanted to be treated like other riders, male or female being completely irrelevant. I have also struggled to find other women riders who simply love to ride with no ulterior motives or the all-too-tough attitudes that sometimes accompany them. I’ve known other folks who've gone to Femmoto and had a great time. I had also heard of the great prices for a track day ($250 for two-days of riding!) and the fact that dealers bring in fleets of bikes for women to ride on the track; all very enticing but I still refused to attend.
Finally this year I gave in. We planned to attend with some friends who had gone four years prior and loved it! I actually thought I was off the hook when I found out they were pregnant, but even a c-section did not keep her away and save me from my fate.
So despite Femmoto’s confusing and nonsensical website, I gave up and picked up the phone to register. The weekend of the event, we left late Thursday afternoon and drove to Las Vegas with our dog Jake in the back seat and Dave’s track bike in the back of the truck. We arrived late and woke early Friday for Dave's day on the track (day 1 was the only day open to men). Dave and Alex had a great time while Shannon, 7-week old baby Sasha, Jake the dog and I sat around chatting and taking photos. So far, it was just like any other track day other than we didn't know everybody and all the guys were complaining about (or admiring) some 14-year-old girl on a 2-stroke that was passing them all.
Saturday was the "Ladies Only" (no boys allowed) track time with a leave-your-bike-at-home format. We arrived first thing and I ran around getting my "dance card" filled with the bikes I wanted to demo-ride for each session. I rushed around like a mad woman standing in line at Ducati, Honda, Aprilia, and the like getting as many of my want-to ride bikes on my card as possible. While in line I chatted with the other girls about what they wanted to ride, or their experience yesterday on the track. I was amazed and I stood there with my jaw on the floor at the caliber of women attending! They were friendly, outgoing women who simply love to ride. I had found what I did not think was possible.
Then the real fun began, I suited up for my first session out on a Buell. I was surprisingly impressed with the bike and was having a great time on the track. The riders were all very well mannered and I was having an absolute blast! I continued in suit riding the Aprilia Tuono, Aprilia RSV 1000, Honda CBR600RR, and my surprise favorite of the day the Kawasaki Versys.
When not riding we were checking out gear at a multitude of vendor booth's, Femmoto special sales and gathering free stuff! The staff of Femmoto were all wearing the most amazing one piece leather suit made by Hein Gericke’s G-Line. When I inquired, I found out that FemmotoGear.com will be selling them by Spring 2008 and that the Femmoto staff had a huge part in the design; gear by women for women. I can't wait to try them out! Shannon also found some very attractive and affordable leathers to buy and didn't waste any time putting them on for her next demo.
Dave walked around all day with Jake, wearing the poor dog out. But ALL the girls loved our black-and white border-collie cross, and he was quickly elevated to a sort of celebrity status where everyone knew him by name and would love on him anytime he walked past. He really hammed it up and before long he even received a special touch therapy session from someone who was skilled in animal massage (the massage gave him tons more energy and he was back in the game for the rest of the day).
That evening we attended a banquet held in the center of the oval at the Las Vegas Speedway where they had set up a buffet and an open bar. They had tons of giveaways and games and we had a great time. One of the highlights was a Moto-Mate game which was similar to the Newlywed game only with a motorcycle spin to it. We laughed so hard we were in tears over the Harley Davidson/Buell sponsored event featuring four couples also in attendance at Femmoto. We sat with Alex and Shannon but were surprised to see how many others flew in from all over the country, including one couple who came all the way from Maryland.
The event continued on Sunday but we headed home instead. They offered an Off-Road Experience and, of course, demo dirt bikes and demo street rides. MSF was there and they had seminars for those who wanted to attend. On leaving I realized I was wrong to not embrace Femmoto sooner, and we now plan to make it an annual event.
The Masculine Perspective
Femmoto is the best female-specific event of any kind that I've had the pleasure to encounter. Where so many similar events somehow end up degrading to alienating males, Femmoto did an outstanding job of involving the boys while making it clear that this weekend was for the ladies.
I consider myself a solid A-group track-day rider and have no problem riding with the fast guys. In this case, I was riding with the fast girls. Never in all my years of riding have I been lapped so consistently by amazingly fast and skilled female riders. I'll be honest and say that I did not realize there were many out there. For many males, (even some in attendance the day I rode), it was a real blow to get schooled by "a girl". I'll try to take solice in the fact that one of the girls was AMA fast-gal Jessica Zalusky and super stunt woman Gloria Fontenot who'd you'd recognize from the Suzuki Car/Motorcycle ads that feature motorcycles ralling down< canyon roads. In other words, very skilled riders - gender being irrelevant.
Personally, I'd much rather have my proverbial doors blown off by the feminine form in a leather suit than to be overtaken by the best looking guy ever to pull on a leather romper suit. Along that line, the caliber of these female riders was at a level I've rarely ridden around. "Elegant" was the word I kept finding myself using to describe the female riding style I saw. I've had lots of guys faster than me who rode kludgy, abrupt and sloppy. Not the case with these A-group girls whose excellent riding style made me look for ways to smooth out my own riding. For me it was wicked-cool, for boys with delicate ego's this could be a challenge.
Additionally, the riding was very, for lack of a better word, "sportsmanlike". While I was getting passed regularly, there was not one bad pass that I saw. Not one "stuff", not one rider took my line – and there were some very close passes, but all of them were done extremely clean. Now, this is common in most A-group sessions, but the "this is for the ladies - us guys were here as guests" attitude of the weekend encouraged "polite" riding – riding that I much prefer to the "red mist of racing," competitive alternative. Meanwhile, slower the B and C groups varied in speed enough to cater to just about every skill level, without intimidating track newbies.
The event has strong sponsorship that brought in a many vendors allowing for plenty of gear poking, prodding and question asking. Most of the bike manufacturers were on-hand allowing attendee's to play with all the new bikes and street demo-rides were available (For $25 for a day-pass) in addition to the track-rides (track rides were only available to girls).
Since I got to talk to a great many of these lady riders while I walked the very flirty Jake the dog, I have to say that I was supremely impressed by the women I got to meet. Strong, capable riders would come off the track, knee-pucks still smoking, hop off the CBR1000RR they had just flogged, then drop to their knee’s to pet and coddle Jake (much to his delight, by the way). In my humble opinion, they exuded the best of femininity.
For more information and to sign up for your own femmoto day, visit femmoto.com.
Page Updated February 5, 2013 13:15
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