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Meet Leslie Porterfield, the world’s fastest woman on two wheels

Indrani Thakurata

Image credit : Illustrative Image


It’s that time again. That 1 week in each year when biking enthusiasts dust off their gear, rev up their machines and head to Goa with their friends. A chance to ride down from every corner of this great country and party with the best, the toughest and most adventurous men and women of this generation.

November will see over 18,000 bikers from across India migrating to Goa to celebrate a week of riding, brotherhood, bikes, music and motoring heaven. The dates have been announced: the 24th and 25th of November 2017 is India Bike Week – the biggest biker rave in Asia.

Leslie Porterfield, the world’s fastest woman on two wheels, will grace incredible India Bike Week’s 5th edition held in November. We catch up with her for a quick (pun intended) chat.

1. You are the fastest woman in the world on a motorcycle. Am I correct? Could you talk about how it feels to be a woman on a motorcycle. And to be the fastest one on that, are you aware of the stereotypes that you are shattering being one?
I am the Guinness Book of world records’ Fastest Woman in the World on a Conventional Motorcycle. I am amazed at how much growth I have seen in the female segment of racing! Bonneville has a record amount of women now racing every year. In all types of racing and street riding there are many more women participating. I love seeing this! Motorcycling has notoriously been a “man’s sport”. It’s exciting to see that change, and I am honored to be an inspiration for this trend.

2. Could you talk about your record and what speed means to you?
Motorcycles have been a great passion of mine. I worked hard to achieve my record. Racing has been a unique journey and challenge for me. My pursuit of records has inspired me to push myself in all aspects of my life.

3. Talk about your journey into land speed racing and your inspiration
I had read for years about The Bonneville Salt Flats. The movie “World’s Fastest Indian” is a great portrayal of what racing is like there. It all inspired me to go set a record. I have been involved with other types of racing, but setting world records at Bonneville is the most unique racing I’ve ever experienced. I am still in awe of the machines and people seen there. I love the fact that you can have such freedom to engineer a motorcycle to go fast. It’s unusual to have a race setting where you can try so many ideas. The fellow racers, crews, and race workers are amazing. It’s like a family! I’ve met some amazing people from all over the world, and all walks of life. I love that I see people with a rusty vintage bike in the back of their truck that comes to race along with million dollar plus race vehicles with the latest technology and equipment. It’s so diverse, yet everyone helps fellow racers out. It’s such a great experience.

4. Are you not afraid of crashes? As a mother, I am bothered about vehicles speeding. Is it the same for you? or do you have another take on this?
I think I have a healthy fear of crashes. I do my best to minimize risks and have the best gear available. After having kids, it definitely changed my views! I don’t take risks like I used to. On the street I am a much more cautious rider and driver! The great thing about racing is that it provides the place to run safely. It is much more dangerous speeding through traffic than in a race setting. Everything does change when you have kids! I am always considering them first! They are 5 years old, and they love motorcycles and telling everyone about my racing. It makes me smile!

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