Some days I just sit amazed at how I get connected with these lady motorcyclist. My next guest was referred to my by @KHaylock. Thank you Ken! It seems like I’ve had a streak of racing women lately and about to add another to the mix! Strap on your seat belts we are jumping the pond to meet Carolynn Sells a.k.a. @CarolynnSells from Isle of Man! You can find her on Facebook and check out her web site CarolynnSells.co.uk.
How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Since I was about 12, although I’ve been around bikes & racing paddocks since I was very little.
How did you learn to ride? My brother got an off road bike & I used to ride that around our back garden. I nearly took out the family greenhouse, first time out.
What was your first motorcycle? My own was a Black & Red, Yamaha RD50 with Micron exhaust, which got me on the open road at the age of 16.
How many have you owned? Not many, actually… about 6, I think, but I’ve ridden a lot more than that. The first one I owned was my RD50, back in 1989, the last was the only race bike I owned, which I sold to my dad after I packed in racing at the end of 2009… My Blue & White RD350LC was my favourite. I miss that bike.
Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? My Dad has built & ridden bikes since he was a teenager, then he started racing when I was 5, nearly 6. I spent my childhood in the racing paddock & travelling around the country in vans, going to race meetings. Then, when I was 12, we went to the Isle of Man (we lived in Lancashire, in the North West of England, at the time) for my Dad to race in the Manx Grand Prix on the TT Course. I decided that I wanted to race there too, one day…
Tell us about your riding. Initially messing about in fields, then commuting/transport & then eventually, my ultimate goal… real road racing.
What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Get out there & do it… Anybody can do anything they want to do, if they have the drive & the ambition. Being female isn’t an obstacle.
What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? Well… each race on the TT Course was 150 miles & I completed 10 of those. We did do 4 weeks around Europe (France, Germany, Belgium & Luxembourg) when I was a kid, but my mum & dad were on the bike, me & my brother were in the sidecar with all our tents, sleeping stuff, cooking equipment etc.
Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online? Both… I’m now a Director of the Manx Motor Cycle Club, who organize & run the Manx Grand Prix road races & am also one of two Rider Liaison Officers for the club & the event. I have set up a Facebook group & a page for the club too. When I first started road riding, I was a member of the BMF (British Motorcyclists Federation) and that is who I passed my CBT & road test with. I have also been a member of several Road Racing clubs (in order to get race entries) in the UK, Ireland & the Isle of Man, and of course, got my annual race licence from the ACU (Auto Cycle Union).
Do you have a favorite riding story? I have so many to choose from, but it has to be my win on the Isle of Man TT Mountian Course in 2009. 24 years after that first trip the Isle of Man and 6 years after my first race on the circuit, I became the first woman ever to win a race on the Isle of Man TT Mountain Course, when I won the Ultra Lightweight Manx Grand Prix race by over 62 seconds from the 2nd placed man. I’m still the only woman to win on that circuit, in over 106 years of racing. You can read about it in my 2009 race Diary, here.
What do you do when you’re not riding? I’m a mum, who runs a home & works part-time as an Assistant Manager. I help organise road races & tutor newcomers in any spare time that I do have & get to play out, very, very occasionally.
P.S. One thing Carolynn didn’t mention was she is a Guinness World Record holder!