Birgit Scheffer: motor-riding is a dream coming true
This month’s talent, Birgit Scheffer, is a girl who is not only skilled, but also really cool. Why? She competes in motor races. What kind of races you ask? The Yamaha r125 cup, which entails that everyone has the same motorbike, so it’s really all about skills and talent. And as if that wasn’t enough to make us question our own life-choices, she is also a quick learner.
When I asked her if she was happy with the results of the races she’s done up until now, she said: “well, this year was mostly a year of learning for me. The first few times I came in last, but now I am able to keep up with the guys who’ve been doing this for a few years. So I guess I am mostly happy with the progress I’ve made.” And that’s some progress indeed, considering Birgit has competed in only 12 races, spread from March to September. And when Birgit is not riding her motorbike or busy studying, she can be found shopping in the Herestraat, which houses dozens of clothingshops, or in the Folkingestraat, where the smaller boutiques can be found, which sell all sorts of interesting things.
De eerste paar keer eindigde ik achteraan, maar ik kan steeds beter mee komen met de jongens die dit al een paar jaar doen.
But what I was mostly wondering was, what has moved her to start motor-racing? “Both of my parents have practiced motor-riding for as long as I can remember, and I just really wanted to do that too. The problem is that motorsport is highly expensive, so it took quite some time before I was able to pay for all of it.” We are talking thousands of euro’s here, so it comes as no surprise to hear Birgit tell about all of the part-time jobs she worked during high-school, not to mention the long summers at a camping, where she still helps out the occasional weekend. But that many part-time jobs is no longer possible, since the combination of studying business economics and riding her bike every week takes up a considerable amount of time.
The first few times I came in last, but now I am able to keep up with the guys who’ve been doing this for a few years.
I asked Birgit if she thought motorbike-riding was going to be a part of her future, and she answered with a wholehearted “yes.” She hopes to combine her studies and her passion for motorbike-riding, for example through working at a company that makes them. It occurred to me that I knew very little about motor-races, and was curious what a day of racing looked like. Birgit told me: “we start early, in order to get to know the tracks that we’re riding that day and to just start warming up. Later there’s a qualification round, which will decide who gets to start first, so this is very important. This first place is called the pole-position, and the one who ends up first in the qualification round gets to start there. And then there’s the real race, which is of course what you’re actually there for.” She also tells me that besides practicing riding her bike, she has to do a lot of fitness-training too. “It’s pretty straight-forward actually,” she says, “the lighter you are, the faster you go. And since there’s mostly guys, I have an advantage on that point.” It doesn’t bother her that she’s one of the few, or more often, only girl competing. On the contrary, people always tell her how nice it is to see a girl walking around all those boys, and being just as bad-ass (or maybe even more so). When the hour ends, Birgit has to go. She waves good-bye: she has to go to class and after that, prepare for her next race. Good luck, Birgit!
by Robin van Gammeren