5 Contributors Each Present a Woman Who Inspires Them
As women in the world of motorsports, we rejoice when we see other women achieving success in the field. In this article, five Chicks And Machines Contributors (Klaudie, Anabelle, Cindy, Marianne, and Émilie) each present a woman they find inspiring. If you want to learn about some amazing women who support, encourage and inspire others, this article is for you!
1. Émilie Delattre
If you follow the Quebec Federation of Heavy Truck Racing Events (FECCLQ) truck races, you’ve probably already heard of Émilie Delattre. This 28 year-old woman has been driving trucks for 8 years now, even though she works as an elementary school teacher most of the time. It is during the summer that she helps her father by making some truck trips for the family business. She says she learned from the best! Her passion for trucks goes back to her childhood, when she spent much time in the garage with her father.
It was when her brother started truck racing that she really got hooked. He races in the A class, a class that brings together the best-performing modified trucks. Even sitting in the passenger seat, it was easy for Émilie to fall in love with the sport. Her father then provided Émilie with her own machine: a 1987 International with a Caterpillar “rod” engine, which they rebuilt from scratch inside so that she could race it. Émilie races in the C class: modifications are limited on her truck, and she does not plan to enter the B or A classes. She is quite happy in her “little jewel” of a truck, as she calls it.
The adrenaline rush of each race is what makes it so exciting to Émilie. Add to that the sound of the engines at full power and you have the perfect cocktail to never want to do anything else on your summer weekends!
Photo: Festival Dragfest
This young woman was quickly able to carve out a place for herself among all these men. The racers are first and foremost truckers: they are like a big family, always ready to help others in case of mechanical breakdowns. She is truly a source of inspiration for us here at Chicks And Machines, as she represents the message we are intent on communicating: any woman can be happy to practice a motor sport, even if it is in a predominantly male environment!
2. Kayla Yaakov
I first met Kayla Yaakov at Virginia International Raceway during a round of Championship Cup Series/ American Sportbike Racing Association (CCS / ASRA) during the summer of 2018. She was only 10 years old at the time and she was on a Honda NSF250R. I was so impressed that such a young girl was riding on track with all the other adult racers. I would later learn she consistently beats them!
Kayla is from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. She started riding at 4 years old, on a Yamaha 50 that her father bought for her. “I saw my dad’s pictures from when he raced and wanted to try it,” she told me. At the age of 5, she started racing that little bike. She won 11 national championships in 2017 as an amateur. In 2018, she won seven national championships, two of which were amateur AMA Grand National Championships. At age 11, she moved up from the amateur ranks and started racing with the experts. She won 5 national championships, including the AMA Lightweight Superbike Expert Grand National Championship that same year. This young lady is now 13 years old, has 247 wins and 38 championships under her belt.
This year, she’s going to race pro on a 400cc motorcycle in MotoAmerica for BARTCON Racing Team. Her professional debut will be in Washington at The Ridge Motorsports Park, as soon as she turns 14 years old on June 24th (the minimum age requirement for MotoAmerica). Kayla will also be racing in Europe out of the World SuperBike paddock in the BluCru 300 series this season. This is a great opportunity for her; it will be a busy race season!
When asked what accomplishment she’s most proud of, Yaakov replied, ”Probably my lap records because those are for everyone that has ever raced at these tracks over the years the tracks have been opened.” She secured a 1:07.9 at Nelson Ledges Roadcourse and a 1:19.2 at Jennings, both on a Kramer 690, just to name those two. I’m really looking forward to seeing where she will be when she turns sixteen, eighteen, and so on.
She inspired her 4 year-old sister to start racing this year and Kayla’s really excited about it. She’s a great inspiration for all women, from the youngest to the oldest. Her passion for motorcycle racing is contagious. Kayla is a perfect example of determination paying off. I asked her what her ultimate dream was for racing; was it Moto3, Moto2 and maybe the first woman in MotoGP? She replied: “Yes, definitely on the world level. World Superbike or MotoGP championship.”
The world is your oyster, Kayla! Go get ’em.
3. Vanessa Belley
Vanessa Belley is a snowmobiler from Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean. She loves challenges and she undertakes everything with passion. Vanessa is a go-getter and a true motorsports enthusiast.
A great love story began in 2014, when Vanessa first discovered off-trail snowmobiling. Her taste for competition developed afterwards. In 2015, she participated in her first race at the Hillcross competition in St-Félicien. Being the only woman, she had no choice but to race in the veteran category, but it was with great courage that she broke the ice in the competitive world. From 2016 to 2018, Vanessa raced in a variety of races, and competed in Hillcross and Sledpeak. When she won first place, her taste for challenge and thrills became a big part of her life. She went on to earn several podium finishes.
After many great years of racing, Vanessa began to realize that she preferred the feeling of freedom to that of competition.
Photo : jmdecoste
In the winter of 2014-2015, Vanessa decided to start Camp de Filles with Sports DRC. This is a one-day workshop, open only to women. Participants learn to master the basic snowmobile positions, practicing in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. A team of enthusiasts accompanies the participants throughout the day to ensure the safety of the snowmobilers, to answer all their questions, to give advice and to coach them. This is the perfect opportunity to improve skills and gain confidence in snowmobiling. There are 3-4 camps per winter in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, and 2 in Mont-Laurier.
Through Camp de Filles, Vanessa’s goal is to show that it is possible for women to participate in this sport with as much passion and confidence as men.
Vanessa is inspiring because she loves to share her passion and experience so that women will be less hesitant to snowmobile. Thanks to her talent, her patience and her heart of gold, the number of women snowmobilers in Quebec is increasing year after year. To me, she is the epitome of perseverance.
4. Kate McCue
Captain Kate McCue has a fascinating career path, and certainly an inspiring one… and not just for women!
Kate has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the California State University Maritime Academy, but she also studied Astronomical Navigation and has experience in maritime logistics management, including cargo ships. In 2015, she was recruited by Celebrity Cruises for a Captain position, becoming the first woman in the U.S. – and the 5th overall – to be in command of a mega cruise ship.
Kate McCue’s position requires a wealth of knowledge and management skills. In addition to being responsible for the safety and well-being of her 2,918 passengers, Kate is in charge of a huge ship’s crew, as well as management teams in food and beverage, hospitality, engineering and marine maintenance. She sees her job as comparable to that of a CEO of a major company.
Aside from her amazing professional accomplishments, Kate is on a mission to encourage more women to enter the maritime world. She is part of the 2% of women sailors in the world and she wants to increase that number. To do this, Kate mentors, enhances and values the women on her crew, fights sexism on social media, and ensures that working conditions are respectful and fair for all members of her team. In fact, in 2020, she led the first sailing that was composed of all-female deck and officer crews.
Through her YouTube channel and Instagram page, Kate inspires over 250,000 followers to travel, to choose a career they’re passionate about, and to savour every moment in life… all accompanied by her faithful companion, Bug Naked!
I love following the adventures of Kate and Bug Naked. They make me want to explore new horizons, challenge myself, and pursue my passions to the fullest.
Her motto: If you can “sea” it, you can be it!
Follow her on Instagram and YouTube
If you also like furry (or rather, fur-less) animals, I also recommend following Bug Naked on Instagram!
- Émilie C.
5. Livia Lancelot
Livia Lancelot is very well known in Europe for her motocross career; however, she is a little less known on this side of the Atlantic.
Here is her story and why it is so inspiring to me.
Photo : Livia Lancelot Instagram
Now 33 years old, Livia was born in France and started motocross racing at the age of 4. At that time, she was always racing against the boys. In 2004, she was offered a trip to the United States to compete in an all-female American championship event, the first time Livia had ever competed in an all-female category. Seeing that she was able to compete at a high level in this category, Livia and her parents considered the possibility of moving to America. But while they were thinking about it, the European World Cup promoters finally created the Women’s World Cup.
At 16, Livia decided to stay in her country and start her professional career. It was then that the French Federation finally took an interest in women riders, and she was integrated into the French motocross team so that she could train with the best, like Christophe Pourcel and Marvin Musquin. In 2008, she will become the first woman to be crowned world champion in motocross.
Photo : Livia Lancelot Facebook
Nothing is left to chance, everything is calculated: training, nutrition, sleep. She is professional in her execution, and pours her heart into what she does. She is an example of perseverance and discipline in every way. Her impressive journey has been littered with great victories but also with pitfalls. Over the years, she has won no less than 7 French championships. She was even invited to the prestigious X-games, finishing in 3rd place in the 2 editions she participated in. Equally impressive is the fact that she is the only woman to have participated in the renowned Supercross de Paris. Among the highlights of her career, we can’t ignore the 3 world championships she cruelly missed. In 2010, she was runner-up while her knee repeatedly dislocated; in 2015, while leading the championship, her engine broke after the warm-up lap of the last race of the season; and in 2017, she was only one small point short of being crowned. It was on that one small missing point that Livia took her planned retirement as a rider, but she continues to amaze by being the first woman to be the manager of a men’s world championship team in MXGP.
- Cindy 818
Other Extraordinary Women to Discover
It was very difficult to choose only 5 women to introduce to you! To finish, here are a few more, as a bonus 🙂
Mélissa Paris (USA):
A world-class motorcycle racer who did not let her pregnancy stop her from pursuing her passion. She has had great success on the race track, despite starting to ride a motorcycle at the age of 20.
Amy Szoke (Canada) :
Superbike racer who has competed at the national level in the men’s category. She now does stunt doubles for TV.
Ashley Fiolek (USA) :
Deaf and mute rider who was a motocross champion in the USA. She is now retired and gives motocross lessons.
Jolene Van Vugt (Canada) :
Canadian motocross champion, 1st woman to do a backflip on a motocross bike, and long-time member of the prestigious Nitro Circus.
Laia Sanz (Espagne) :
She has won the Dakar Rally 9 times in the women’s category, but also has excellent Overall Moto results in the men’s category. Her best result, 9th in the Overall, is a gargantuan achievement as a result against the guys!
Alyssa Carson (USA) :
This 18-year-old NASA astronaut will be part of the crew going to Mars.