The Brave Women That Take On The TT


In 1962 Beryl Swain, known as the Goddess of the Gas Pedal, became the first female solo rider to race in the Isle of Man TT. However, a year later, she was unable to compete because her international licence was revoked as women were seen as the weaker sex.

A reporter at the time commented:

“Women, the weaker sex, are muscling in on man’s domain, practically no sport is sacred.”

Nowadays the rules are different and women have just as much entitlement as men when it comes to taking part in the race. However, there are only ever a brave few who dare to take part in what is considered the world’s most dangerous road race.

This year has seen only a few women take part and the majority have been sidecar drivers. Hayley Jayne Capewell from Staffordshire is the youngest female to ever take part in the TT at just 19 years old.

Describing her emotions at the prospect of taking part she said she was:

 “Nervous, excited and scared”

She went on to say: “People think I’m crazy but when I was a child I watched my father compete and I became hooked. I used to cheer him on and all the time I was thinking, ‘one day that’s going to be me’.”

The Isle of Man TT is a race that, over the years, has claimed the lives of more than 200 people, but that doesn’t stop the competitors coming back year after year.

This year, the only solo female racer is 40 year old Maria Costello, from Northampton.

“I have a love-hate relationship with this place as I’ve broken some bones here, but it’s one of the best challenges ever.

I’ve broken about 24 bones over the years. Road racing gives you the best feeling in the world and the worst nerves, I love it.”

Up until 2009 Costello held the world record for being the fastest female to do a lap of the Isle of Man TT course, with an average speed of 114.73mph.

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