Nina Prinz has earned herself a ‘dream’ chance to ride at home in Germany for QMMF alongside Assen Moto2 winner Ant West after finishing fourth in the Qatar Superbike Championship for Suzuki International Europe while being sponsored by QMMF, who also run that championship.
More women have graced the championship scene over the years than many people realise. In the run up to The German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, where Prinz last rode learning her craft in the German Championships, here’s a look at the other ladies who have made an impact on the World Championship scene with a motorbike.
Prinz becomes the first woman to take part in Moto2 since Elena Rosell, again riding for QMMF, during the 2012 season. Rosell never quite made it into the points with a best finish of 19th to her credit, so if Prinz can use her home track knowledge to her advantage she will become the first female to score a Moto2 point.
She will not be the only female in the paddock as Ana Carrasco continues to appear in the Moto3 championship for RW Racing GP as a regular rider and though losing out in the battle for points with a Kalex KTM this season the Spaniard took a top ten finish at the final race of 2013 with an impressive eighth in Valencia.
She will also not be the only woman to wildcard this season as Spanish Moto3 Championship challenger Maria Herrera has made appearances at the two Spanish rounds to date in this years Moto3 Championship.
The Repsol rider gained attention for being the first girl to take a win in the prestigious national championship before adding two more victories to her tally this season.
31-year old Prinz would have to look back to the 250cc race of 2001 to find a fellow countrywoman in the mix.
That was the year Katja Poensgen rode in Mugello and picked up two points in Moto2’s predecessor class with a 14th place finish, a career high.
Poensgen, the last woman to score a point before Carrasco, got into motorcycles as her father worked for Suzuki. She experienced all the highs and lows of motorsport: from a crash which put her into a coma in 1997 to finding time to be one of the very few riders to combine racing with motherhood.
Also on the list of female point scorers is Japanese rider Tomok Igata who took points in the 125cc class in 1995 when she was seventh in Brno. She was the last woman to have scored points in the lightweight class until Carrasco took her historic finish.
The first was Finn Taru Rinne, after switching from a successful career on four wheels. Debuting in 1988, her best performance came at Hockenheim in 1989 where in the 125cc class she finished seventh after leading the race.
The Suzuki connection stays strong with the girls with Elena Myers, who never quite made it to the start line but did test for the team back in Indianapolis in 2011. At 17 she was given the opportunity to try out Alvaro Bautista’s bike after becoming the first woman to win a AMA Pro Road Race while riding in the Supersport class for the team in 2010.
Tech 3 awarded fellow American Melissa Paris a similar opportunity when she tested for the team on the Yamaha M1 her husband Josh Hayes had competed on in Valencia in the same year.
The AMA regular has also had wildcard rides in World Supersport and the British Supersport Championships during her career to date.
Paris has set many female firsts in the American Championships where she does most of her racing, despite coming to the sport later than most with her interest in bikes only starting in her freshman year of university.
Look back into the MotoGP history books and when you hit the Tourist Trophy days you will find Beryl Swain, the first solo woman to compete in a TT, at the Isle of Man – then part of the world championship.
Swain finished 22nd on a 50cc Itom bike back in 1962, which was enough to get her noticed, though not with a positive response. Her licence was revoked and the sport declared too dangerous for women, the ban remaining in place until Hilary Musson competed in 1978.
Though road racing no longer forms a part of the world championship it is still home to one of the most recognisable and popular female motorcycle riders, Maria Costello MBE, one time holder of the female lap record at the Isle of Man and a regular on the scene since 1997.
A final honourable mention goes to the current holder of that fastest lap – Jenny Tinmouth at 119mph set in 2010 – having originally taken it from Costello the year before at her first ever TT . Though yet to hit the international scene in any form Tinmouth currently races in the BSB championship.