There were so many fantastic motorcycles to choose from, it was like Christmas in July for MotorcycleUSA’s Melody DeKorte, who opted for the Ducati 848 for her first ride of the day.
For us here in the Pacific Northwest, October means the end of summer and the onset of our longest season of the year: the rainy season. So when the opportunity came up for me to head to sunny Las Vegas, Nevada, for a women’s-only track day, I jumped at the chance. Having donned every piece of my cold weather and rain gear when I left Southern Oregon on my Hayabusa, I’m sure I resembled the Michelin Man, but I was warm inside my protective cocoon and filled with anticipation.
Femmoto began in 2001 with the intention of uniting women motorcycling enthusiasts, but it has quickly grown into one of the leading annual women’s events. Each year attendance numbers have climbed and the number of participating manufacturers has grown. This year proved to be no different.
Femmoto includes track days, demo rides, seminars and provides an opportunity for women to have direct contact with manufacturers regarding their needs and wants in motorcycling. This year’s event kicked off Friday, October 3rd with an open track day for both men and women on Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Road Course. Saturday & Sunday included “on track demos” for women only and “street demos” for both men & women. There were more manufacturers on hand than ever before, including Aprilia, BMW, Buell, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Kymco, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory, and Yamaha. They all brought an assortment of motorcycles and scooters for us to use and abuse.
I attended Saturday’s events with my motorcycle endorsement and insurance in hand. That was all that was required for the pleasure of riding six 20-minute track sessions on six different motorcycles. Forget handbags and shoes baby, my fetish is motorcycles. As I drooled over the manufacturer’s wares on display, I knew that at some point I had to make a decision on what to ride. Everywhere I looked there were motorcycles: Cruisers, sportbikes, sport tourers, dual-purpose, scooters, oh my! What to pick? I finally settled on the delicious Ducati 848 and followed it up with a sampling of an Aprilia RSV1000R4. For my third session I spun laps on more fine Italian engineering in the form of the Aprilia Dorsoduro 750. Then I rode BMW’s big roadster, the K1200R, before
finishing off with some Japanese fare in Kawasaki’s ZX-10R and Z1000.
All the track sessions were broken into groups. Each manufacturer had instructors who followed the riders, offering instruction on technique and keeping each session moving in an orderly fashion. During one of my sessions I got one-on-one instruction on cornering techniques with instructor Alice Sexton. Alice is involved with the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association and showed me a thing or two while I followed her and her vintage Moto Guzzi 750 around the track. She even took me back to a stationary motorcycle in the pits and spent time there demonstrating proper body positioning while cornering.
Femmoto provided an opportunity for Meloday to do six 20-minute track sessions on six different motorcycles.
By Saturday’s end, I was tired and elated, having indulged my obsession all day. But like any addict, when Triumph offered me a street demo on a Street Triple, I didn’t hesitate to dive right back in. I was taken on a 20-minute motorcycle tour of the Motor Speedway. In the tunnels leading to the heart of the oval track, I couldn’t overcome the urge to rev the motor and hear the echo of the exhaust bouncing back at me. I know, I’m crazy like that. Like the track demos, the street demos were also chaperoned, but the Triumph ladies told me I was as responsible for my own bail money as they were. Fortunately we kept our inner hooligan in check and came back from the ride without even being hassled by The Man.
Like most women, I love variety. I have the typical “nothing in my closet to wear’ days.” Motorcycles are the same. I can’t afford to own one of each so Femmoto is like having the best of both worlds. I have already made out my registration form and pick list for next year’s event. Whether or not you suffer this same affliction for motorcycles, you absolutely shouldn’t miss it. Where else is it possible to have whatever cake you like and eat it too? Check out www.femmoto.com for more details and make your own wish list of bikes for 2009. I hope to see you there!
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