Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity in Motorsport – where does it exist? Starting with the FIM Awards 2023 in Liverpool at the weekend, whereby a total of 58 FIM World Champions were awarded their respective trophies, of which only 5 women were crowned amongst their male peers.
Within 6 different FIM Motorsport disciplines covered: Circuit Racing, Motocross, Trial, Enduro, Cross Country Rallies, and Track Racing, women achieved highest honours in 3 arenas. Emma Bristow was crowned FIM Women Trial Champion 2023, Courtney Duncan – FIM Women Motocross World Champion 2023, Jane Daniels – FIM Women’s Enduro World Champion, and Emma, Alicia Minta, and Kaytlyn Adshead – FIM Women’s Trial Des Nations.
Taken in context of sustaining equality, diversity, and inclusivity in Motorsport at present and in the future, the representation of women awarded FIM World Championships falls well short. A mere 8.6% of the total World Champions were women, and even then, Emma Bristow was awarded trophies in 2 categories: Women Trail Championship, and Women’s Trial Des Nations.
So, with facts on board, how are the imbalances of gaining equal representation of Women in FIM World Championships addressed, over the course of the next few years? For starter’s, identifying arenas where women are not gaining World Championship status opens windows of opportunity to initiate categories which improve equal distribution of racing for males and females.
For example: the recent announcement of FIM Women’s World Motorcycling Championship kicking off in 2024 paves pathway for female track rider’s to advance their skills, experience, and knowledge competing in all-female Series within FIM Superbike World Championship.
The 6 Round Series, run as separate category within WSBK calendar has the potential of breaking the odds of females taking a Circuit Racing Trophy, which already covers 9 categories: from Sidecar and Passenger World Champion, to FIM Endurance, MotoE, Supersport 300 and Supersport World Champion, to JuniorGP, Moto3, and Moto2 Grand Prix World Champion. All won by males in 2023.
The World Motocross Championship has held WMX since 2005 and was instrumental to elevate the first 2 Women’s Motocross World Cups to World Championship status in 2008. Since then, Women Motocross World Championship has stood alone against a plethora of categories which provide rider’s opportunities to gain experience racing feeder classes, to reach the ultimate MX2 and MXGP category.
All 10 classes: FIM Snowcross, FIM 85cc and 125cc Junior World Champions, FIM MX2, Sidecar and Passenger Motocross Rider World Champions, FIM S1GP Supermoto, FIM SX2, and FIM WSX World Supercross Champions were won by males in 2023. To counter the dominance of male gender cross classes, MXGP/Infront could offer women a 85cc – 125cc category, which acts as feeder to WMX.
Having established FIM Women’s Trial World Championship for over 2 decades, along with FIM Women’s Trial Des Nations, there would be reasonable argument to include FIM ISDE International within World Championship status.
The inaugural 6 day event, attracting National Teams to compete for World Trophy accolades in General and Women’s category has recently concluded it’s 98th edition, in Argentina 2023. Near on 100 years of longevity, with women racing on level playing field as their male counterparts, across Nationalities, not only affords acknowledgement that the iconic event holds unique World Championship status for Women’s World Trophy competitors, but in General category as well.
The remaining FIM Motorcycling arena to be assessed for establishing World Championship status for Women is World Rally-Raid Championship. The 2023 RallyGP World Championship covered 5 Rounds: Dakar Rally, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Sonora Rally – Mexico, Desafio Ruta 40 – Argentina, and Rally du Maroc in October.
Admittedly, the cost, expense, logistical challenge, and sheer scale and scope for women to race and complete all 5 Rounds, along with preparations and training pushes the do-ability level to the max. However, women competing in The Dakar, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and Rally du Maroc exemplify world class skills, expertise, and knowledge acquired over an entire career of racing off-road, to qualify for their own Rally GP World Championship Title, even if the calendar season has been cut from 5 Rounds to 3.
When FIM Awards 2023 compliments 58 World Champions with corresponding trophies, and only 5 women are represented in this classified group, then changes are required to alter the imbalance on the number of women receiving FIM World Championship Titles from one year to the next.
Header image: MXLink.
Words: Sharon Cox.