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Race Like a Girl

Published on September 6, 2018 under AMA
Race Like a Girl

Jamie Astudillo in MotoAmerica

Not many females currently run professionally in motorcycle road racing, but those who do, have definitely earned their place. Here in the States, in MotoAmerica, there are only three—Caroline Olsen in Supersport 600, Melissa Paris in Stock 1000, and Jamie Astudillo in Liqui Moly Junior Cup. And of these, only one has rewritten the record books—Jamie Astudillo. We pointed out in our May issue that Jamie etched her name in the MotoAmerica/AMA Road Racing archives as the first woman to ever podium in an American professional motorcycle road racing event when she took third place in race 2 of the season opener at Road Atlanta. Riding for Quarterley/On-Track Racing, Jamie has consistently stayed in the points chase, racing in the top 10 across the first portion of the season. Jamie is “running with the big boys,” and challenging for the front in every race.

We had the opportunity to catch up with Jamie at the Road America round in Wisconsin, close to mid-season, and spent a few minutes discussing her life and racing. We found Jamie to be a winsome, enthusiastic, warm personality off the track, and a joy to converse with. Yet underneath the “typical teenager” visage, there lies the heart of a young lion, on the hunt for racing glory.

Jamie’s parents originally hail from Ecuador and Costa Rica but have raised Jamie and her two older brothers in Pennsylvania. Like the famous Hayden racing family, the Astudillo kids have all followed in their father’s tracks, racing motorized two and four wheelers since early childhood.

When asked her first riding age, Jamie revealed, “I first started riding at 2 years old, a Yamaha PeeWee 50, and was racing by 3.” I was stunned, as most two and three-year old’s can barely walk, much less ride. Jamie raced quads for several years, then returned to cycles by age 7. Riding motocross was a family activity the Astudillo’s enjoyed together nearly every weekend, and by age 12, Jamie recognized, as did her parents, that she not only had a great love for racing, she was quite good at it.

Jamie competed in Motocross, GNCC woods racing, even a few hare scrambles. Recovering from a cracked collarbone at age 11, she found her way back to racing within a few months and discovered she was faster than before, going from a top 10 rider to a front-runner. “I was just so hungry to race again, hungry to be up front,” she reflected. Watching the last round of the national WMX series race, seeing all those women riding pro on factory bikes, and witnessing Ashley Folick win one of her four Women’s MX Pro titles, Jamie told herself, “I’m going to be on that podium one day. This is what I want to do with my life.”

After enjoying great success and increased notoriety in Motocross, Jamie received a Facebook message in 2015 from Melissa Paris, MotoAmerica Stock 1000 racer, inviting Jamie to try road racing by joining her team. Jamie stated, “I figured I had nothing to lose. I mean, it’s a motorcycle, just another discipline, so why not give it a try?” After a struggle acclimating to pavement, Jamie soon found her pace, and by 2017 competed in the MotoAmerica KTM Junior Cup series. She took an offer to race for Quarterley/On-Track in 2018, the team that produced last year’s Junior Cup champion, Benjamin Smith. She hasn’t disappointed, filling those shoes quite adequately across the first half of the season.

 

Jamie has big dreams. She would like to eventually dominate the MotoAmerica Junior Cup class and aspires to one day move onto the international stage, competing in WSBK Supersport 300, or even MotoGP’s Moto3 class.

Being a dad of daughters myself, I know the pride of watching your girls succeed. Jamie makes her parents proud, I know—I could see it in their eyes as I interviewed Jamie at their team truck. The sky’s the limit for Jamie Astudillo, in racing and in life. As a race fan, and a “daughter dad,” I wish Jamie all the best success.

 

Rob Brooks
*photos by Rob Brooks & Ryan Nolan

 

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