Lincolnshire lass Lindsey Fairfield is a woman on a mission – fast and fearless with her heart set on racing between the hedges. We caught up with her ahead of her bid to get her road racing licence.
Sleaford-based Lindsey Fairfield cuts a dash as she walks through Cadwell Park’s paddock. Slim and attractive with piercing eyes, pink tint cutting through her flowing blonde locks, she catches the eye of everyone, from visitors to racers to track staff. The Kawasaki
paddock jacket underlines her feminine beauty, but Lindsey is here for a reason. She’s not hanger on, or a pit lane dolly – she’s a handy racer in her own right, and she’s here to set up her Ducati race bike.
Five minutes later and she returns in her battle-scarred white Arlen Ness leathers. She looks lithe, determined and focussed. She’s not here to make up the numbers, she’s here on merit, and has one goal firmly in her sights – to rack up enough points on her ACU licence to go road racing. We caught up with her at the end of the day to discover just what drives this woman to stick it all on the line, and how she loves proving everyone wrong.
Q: How did you get involved in biking?
“I bought a Yamaha FZR400RR in 2001. I loved that wee pocket rocket, and I suppose that this is the bike that kickstarted my passion for racing. I sat my test in the December by doing a three-day Direct Access course and I took to it like a duck to water, passing first time. I loved riding that bike, and couldn’t get enough, but as my confidence grew I soon outgrew the bike and so I upgraded to a Suzuki GSX-R750 K1.”
Q: So how do you from road riding to racing?
“The Suzuki was a brilliant bike – all the power of a litre bike, but the dimensions and agility of a 600 – and it just suited me. I loved riding it, and the sensation of riding it, and I guess I simply fell in love with speed. I later went on to purchase two more Suzukis, both litre bikes, and the K2 and K3 cemented my passion. I was hooked.
“I then suffered a bad mountain biking accident and took a break from two wheels, but motorbikes were still in my blood, and after a self-imposed five-year absence from motorcycles I went on to buy my Ducati – a brand new 2011 848 EVO.
“I rode that bike for two years on the road, but it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t ride at the speeds I wanted to on the roads, and I began to seriously think about racing as a way of giving me my fix. And so in February 2013 I found myself on a borrowed pre-injection Kawasaki ZX-6R at a snowy Cadwell Park.”
Q: So, how did your racing career develop?
“My first race was at Snetterton, on the 300 circuit, and I managed to qualify 11th out of 18 riders. I kne
w I was holding my own, but the meeting was abandoned due to the extremely poor weather. With hindsight that was the making of me, as after that meeting I inspected the bike properly, and it quickly became clear that it just wasn’t up to the task.
“Luckily a friend who was also at the Snetterton meeting offered me the use of his road bike to race. This was a much newer bike – a 2012 Kawasaki ZX-10R – and it was similar in a lot of was to my Suzuki litre bikes. I immediately felt much more comfortable on it and after a test session at Mallory park I decided I would enter my first race meeting at Oulton Park – the Motogrande class of the Hottrax series.
“That was in April 2013, and other than a K-tech rear shock, a slip-on can and race bodywork, the bike was completely standard, including rubber brake lines. I qualified 36th out of 40 riders, and was the only female on track. It was a real baptism of fire – this class was not separated between experts and rookies, and there a lot of seasoned racers competing.
“I can still remember that race vividly. I got off to a poor start, mainly because I had never never practised race starts before, and after lagging a little, I regrouped and began making progress, mainly by outbraking the other riders. I eventually crossed the line in 27th place, and my confidence just grew and grew over that weekend. The bug had well and truly bitten and I desperately craved more.”
Racing is expensive and Lindsey is always on the lookout for sponsors. For more details, and to follow her racing career, visit https://m.facebook.com/lindseyfairfieldracing/ …
Alternatively, if you’d like to sponsor Lindsey email: firstname.lastname@example.org
So, what happened next?
“I joined another series, EMRA (East Midland Racing Association), which allowed me to race at Cadwell Park roughly two weeks later. I knew where I the bike was struggling at Oulton, so I used the time ahead of Cadwell to fit K-tech fork internals, braided brake lines, carbon pads, a quick action throttle, a 520 chain conversion and some rearsets. I even got the race fairing painted.
“Without any testing I headed straight for Cadwell, and because of my performance at Oulton, and the changes I’d made to the bike, I was full of confidence. It was a big step up and during qualifying I experienced my first taste of tarmac when I crashed at Hall Bends. Luckily it was a just a low side, and the bike escaped pretty much unscathed. I bashed my knee up pretty bad, but I’d got away with it. And scuffed leathers show everyone you’re a proper racer, right?“My ego may have been bruised but I didn’t let that deter me from entering the following races. However, my lack of qualifying time meant I had to start from the back of the grid.
“The races were tough, but even with the confidence knocked out of me I managed to improve my lap times every outing and I never finished last in my class. I was chuffed.
“I rejoined Hottrax, this time in the three-hour endurance class, and went to Donington Park at the end of May. This type of racing has a Le Mans-style start, and I took the second stint out on track. After being passed by another female it was like a red rag to a bull and I was determined to get past her. By the third lap I made my move and passed her, and with that my confidence had returned, oozing through my veins – maybe a little too much as I attempted to follow some seasoned racers through Craner Curves a bit faster than I should have and the old hairpin came all too quickly. Still, I didn’t crash, I finished the race and I’d gained a further two signatures on my licence.
“Next up was another one-day meeting at Snetterton in June, to make up for the previously cancelled event, and again I decided to enter the endurance class as it meant two more signatures and more track time.
“This time I took the first 45-minute stint and by the end of the race we had finished third in the rookies – I was on my way.
“This proved to be my last meeting on the trusty ZX-10R and I moved to another borrowed bike, this time a Hydrex Honda CBR600-RR. I went to a small road race circuit in Wales called Tonfanau and managed my best result yet, 15th place, which was amazing considering I’d been riding a bike I didn’t know on a new-to-me track.
“This is where my racing ended. It’s an expensive business and I’d simply exhausted my funds, so I went back to road riding. By 2015 the warranty on my Ducati had run out, and as I wanted nothing more than to get racing again, my friend and I began race prepping the 848. It needed a lot of work – the bike was stripped down to the pistons, which were replaced with high compression pistons, and everything needed cleaning as the bike had been running so rich for so long that everything was black.
“This work took almost all the whole of 2015 and by the time we had finished and got the bike mapped it was pushing out 139.7bhp at the rear wheel. I was back in business.
“The first testing I did was at Mallory Park, but the bike had developed an electronic issue and I couldn’t complete more than one-and-a-half laps. It needed a new Throttle Position Sensor and once it had been replaced it was time to take it racing.
“I’d missed my opportunity to get in for the Bemsee round at Donington Park and had to go on a waiting list for Silverstone. Luckily I got the place I wanted and on a dark Friday Spring night I took myself and my bike down for my first meeting in three years on an untested, completely rebuilt bike.
“The only class I was eligible to enter was the 1000 rookies, and after qualifying I was so nervous, as the heavens literally heavens opened. Not the ideal scenario to make my comeback.
“I relished those races in the wet, and revelled in the grip from my wet tyres. My gearbox was playing up, but I finished all four races and got another two signatures.”
So, what’s next?
“I’m in the process of getting the 848 remapped, and I’m looking into getting a ZX-10R so I can be more competitive in a class of comparable machinery – the 848 is quick, but it’s still getting swamped by the litre bikes it’s up against. It’s not a fair fight and I think the big Kwakker will show people just how quick I am, while ruffling a few feathers.
“I want to keep collecting signatures and want to get my road racing licence. That’s the ultimate. I’ve been over to Skerries and the TT, and I know I can do it. I’m more than quick enough to hold my own. I will be a road racer.”
Lindsey Fairfield is a woman going places. You heard it hear first. Watch this space.