Over the past few decades, the strive for equality and equal opportunities has manifested itself in all walks of life. Professionally, socially and economically... Equal opportunities in bike racing.

Over the past few decades, the strive for equality and equal opportunities has manifested itself in all walks of life. Professionally, socially and economically there’re now more opportunities for all types of people, from every type of background. But as great as that is, there are still people campaigning for more, in the belief that we, as a society, haven’t yet reached true equality. And I’d be inclined to agree, for the most part. But I also think there are some real examples of fairness and equality in some of the most unexpected places. And one of them is motorcycle racing, especially when it comes to equal opportunities for women.

Codswallop

How can that possibly be? The motorsport industry as a whole is massively male dominated, and especially so in the bike racing world. But the point is, that there are opportunities for women to excel, if they’re good enough at what they do. Look at Ana Carrasco, she’s a genuine motorcycle World Champion. And she’s a girl. She didn’t win the ‘Women’s World Championship’, she didn’t win the ‘Men’s World Championship’. She won THE Supersport 300 World Championship.

The fact that men and women are all in the same race, and the fact that a woman ought to have just as much chance to win the race, has equality written all over it.

Some sceptics might say that the fact that she’s a woman gives her a slight (or major) advantage when it comes to publicising herself and securing sponsorship. That may or may not be true, but most successful bike racers will do anything they can to get a sponsor in, so you can’t hold that against her. And regardless of that, she’s a World Champion. You can’t win a World Championship by fluttering your eyelashes and smiling at the right people. If you ask me, she thoroughly deserves her 2022 Moto3 ride.

Poppycock

A big bone of contention for some is the lack of parity between men and women’s pay. Now I can’t comment on Miss Carrasco’s salary, because I don’t know how well she’ll be financially remunerated but I’m fairly sure, if she wins some GPs (against the boys), she’ll be looked after.

What I do find a little bit irritating is when, in other sports, women get upset about being paid less then their male counterparts, when they’re not competing at the same level, or even in the same competition. Why should you expect to get paid as much as someone else; just because you do the same job doesn’t mean you are as good at it as them. It makes no odds whether you’re a man or a woman; or it shouldn’t do, anyway.

If we’re really to have equality there’d be no men’s 100m and women’s 100m at the Olympics. No women’s and men’s football. Just ‘the 100m’ and ‘football’, that’s equality. It might sound absolutely ludicrous to some, that men should race women in the 100m, or that women should play football with the men. But why? Why must sport have a gender assigned to it? Ok, I understand why. I understand that typically, people of a certain gender, don’t tend to be quite so physically predisposed to some sports, as those born the opposite gender. But I’m afraid that’s just how it is.

Claptrap

Because bike racing is a sport that doesn’t have a gender assigned to it, but that didn’t stop Ana Carrasco becoming a World Champion. It didn’t stop her signing for a Moto3 team in the Grand Prix paddock, either. And it won’t stop her becoming Moto3 World Champion. I’m not saying she will become Moto3 World Champion, but if she doesn’t, it won’t be the fact that she’s a girl that stopped her.

So next time you hear people lobbying for equality, equal opportunities and pay parity between men and women in sports, ask yourself whether or not it really is equality that they want. Do they want gender to be removed from sport altogether, so that the best performers rises to the top, regardless of whether they’re a man or woman; just like in motorbike racing? Or do they just want a few people to more money?

Boothy

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