South Africa’s fastest female superbike racer to compete in global series
Nicole van Aswegen, the fastest woman superbike racer in South Africa, has been selected to race in the inaugural Women’s Circuit Racing World Championship (WorldWCR) in June 2024.

In a major coup for women in motorsport, South Africa’s fastest female Superbike racer, Nicole van Aswegen (Nix21), will be leaving for Europe on 13 May, having been invited to participate in the prestigious FIM Women’s Circuit Racing World Championship which will commence in June 2024.

It will be the first time in 2024 that the FIM Superbike World Championship will include an inaugural FIM Women’s Circuit Racing World Championship (WorldWCR) as a support class, which will be held over six rounds at selected European tracks. Over 40 riders applied to compete in the WorldWCR and eventually only 24 were selected to take part in the inaugural edition of the series which will start with the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round on June 14th-16th. The first official test for the ladies will commence on 17 – 18 May in Italy.

Van Aswegen, who is a confessed adrenaline junkie, says this will definitely be the pinnacle of her career and a dream come true – the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. Standing out proudly as the only female to have really succeeded in a male-dominant sport at home in South Africa, this is an exciting opportunity for her to test her skills on the world stage and represent the African continent.

Commenting on the level of training required for an event like this, she says it takes hours of practice on the track, pushing yourself and your bike to the limit. Secondly, tons of physical training. “I am in the gym twice a day most days, doing both fitness and strength training. Finally, and perhaps the biggest challenge is trying to prepare mentally. I have no doubt that many of the women I will be competing against are much younger, professional riders that get paid to race. I am a wife, a mom and have a full-time job. It takes a lot of strength and courage to put yourself out there for the world to the judge. I am however truly blessed to have the most amazing people standing with me on this journey,” she says.

Van Aswegen is passionate about motorcycle racing. It is literally something she ‘lives, eats, sleeps and dreams about’ since she was a teenager and the bug hit. She is also passionate about developing the sport.  “South Africa is relatively far behind most developed countries with the number of female rider numbers declining over the years. There is a lot of work to be done to get the numbers up to a level where we can have a good representation of female riders and, ultimately, at least two female-only race classes,” she says.

Sponsorship, like in many sports still remains a challenge and obstacle to growth but she feels with more media coverage and motorsport fans being more accepting of women in motorsport, corporates are starting to see the value in backing females in the sport.

By being given an opportunity to showcase her talent and tenacity on the world stage, Van Aswegen also aims to inspire not only her daughter, but also other young girls across South Africa, saying, “This really is such a proud moment and a huge opportunity to fly the flag for South Africa. Being competitive, I want to win, but I think this journey is more than just performing well on track.

“I want to show my daughter and all the young girls in our beautiful country that anything is possible – they must not let their doubts and fears hold them back. Girls do not need to be put in little stereotypical boxes. They are free to make their own choices, to break out of conventional norms and just follow their dreams, no matter what those dreams may be.”

Van Aswegen says that, like many sports, motorsport is still a male dominated sport but this stereotype is changing and through her success and the advancement programmes she is involved with like Basadi in Motorsport, she is proving that Women should never feel inferior to men. “They can achieve anything they set their minds to and women should never feel inferior to men,” she says.

Adrian Scholtz, Chief Executive Officer of Motorsport South Africa agrees, saying if Van Aswegen’s record is anything to gauge by then that certainly is true. “We are so proud of how well she has done and also how much she has done to encourage more women in the sport. She first clinched the South African Female 600cc Championship in 2010 and then made history as the first woman to achieve a podium finish in a National Supersport race in South Africa. And of course, she is making history once again in 2024,” says Scholtz.

With her sights set on glory in 2024, van Aswegen is ready to wear her heart on her sleeve, representing South Africa with pride, determination, and a burning desire to make her country proud. “I’m putting my heart on my sleeve, and I am going out there to show what South Africans are made of. It has taken blood, sweat, and tears, but I’m still standing, and I am ready to make SA proud,” she concludes.