Motorsport, more than traditionally is culturally perceived as a masculine sport especially in the Asian outlook however an increasing number of females are busting these stereotypes and redefining the once upon a time, male-dominated landscape. Women for some years now have been bolder in voicing their preferences and interests consequently carving successful careers for themselves in multiple walks of two wheels and four wheels racing world.

While the proportion of women to men is still far off-balanced, things have changed periodically and is predicted to keep evolving over time. Although there are only a handful of female riders who have been competitive and succeeded in the lower divisions, it is nevertheless a turning point in the development of womankind as a whole. To date, there has been no women who have raced in the premier series of the MotoGP but having said that, it may not necessarily mean that no women will ever make it someday.

The FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) sees motorsports from a different lens. From inception, one of the ideas were to bridge gender gaps with focus on greater innate potential of an individual, to provide a platform for individuals to discover greater talents within themselves while enabling them to showcase it for a more prospective front within the arena – no gender attached!

Muklada Sarapuech proved it all when she became the first female rider to win a title in the history of ARRC in the Asia Dream Cup in 2015. With that, came bigger moments for her when she was offered the opportunity to take a step on the international stage for the last two rounds of the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship in Jerez and Valencia. And that is what achievement should feel like!

Taking a stance in 1996, ARRC has been looping Asian motorcycle champions in on a pedestal that would alleviate them further in the eyes of the international stardom. For over two decades, the championship has discovered multiple talents who have journeyed on for greater glory and successes. The show continues on and this year, another category has been introduced to tackle different potential and market segment – the TVS Asia One-Make Championship.

It all began with an endeavour to discover wider capacities across Southeast Asia and along with it, came 16 carefully handpicked riders who would make history as the pioneers in the category.

One of them, Sakura born female racer, Miu Nakahara stood tall as the only female debutant out of sixteen participants, competing aboard the TVS Apache 310RR. Taking a liking of motorsports since the age of 14, Miu Nakahara didn’t choose to become a trailblazer of female rights. All she did was to follow her passion in becoming a professional rider.

Commenting on her gender, Miu said, “Gender is irrelevant in motorsport. I never realised this until I got into the field. Now, I see more of it. Not just on the circuit but even behind the scenes – there are more female involvement in the area which was once perceived as good only with males. Right now, we see more women managing teams, engineers who are on par with their male counterparts, playing aerodynamic or software roles and so one. It’s a long way we have come in achieving this and most importantly, being recognised for it,” said Miu.

As a child, Miu grew up watching television footage focused only on male drivers/riders, engineers on the pit-wall or mechanics in the garage. Today, it is no more uncommon to see footage capturing Miu herself and other female individuals on the pit-wall complete with names and the world watching.

“I would like to say this to young girls – Dream big and dare achieve it. If you have interest in motorsports, be daring enough to ride and compete because it is more colourful than you think it is. It is fun! If you ask me, if I ever were given a chance, I would want to ride till my very last breath!”

“My inspiration was my little sister who is 10 years younger than I am. When she was born, my father bought her a pocket bike. As per the phrase, “Curiosity kills”, I was just too curious about it and decided to give it a try and the rest is history. When I was a junior in high school, I began journeying as a professional rider with the help of my father. I competed in the CBR150 category and at the age of 14, I made a switch to YZF25. I remained there for a few years.”

Rekindling her past, Miu continued, “The following year was my debut season in ARRC. I have tried the UB150 and AP250 category but to be honest, I faced too many challenges in discovering my pace and predominantly, the weight of the machine – it was overwhelming. Such a bummer! But luckily, I made it into the TVS category this season.”

Speaking about her performances, Miu said, “After 3 rounds, I am not very satisfied with my performances just yet. I am still getting to know the machine well, finding the right strategies and fine tuning my limitations. The race at Sugo was quite a good one for me. I managed to place full concentration on the race.” “For the upcoming race, I am focusing on building up my muscles. I never stopped training. Every day, I do my best to enhance my physical strengths so that I can make my dream come true. With only two more rounds to go, I want to be really focused so that I can attain something meaningful this season. Also, I look forward to have a good time while I am at it. I hope to get to the top five position in the races. If I could do that for each race, it would truly make me happy. As for podium finish, let me work on my abilities and it would definitely be a long-term goal,” said Miu.

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