In a sport dominated by the boys, it’s refreshing to see so many young women using the KTM RC Cup format to demonstrate their talent.
We are incredibly proud of all our riders. Their dedication, passion, and hard work shine out, and most of our riders manage their racing careers alongside school or college. They are the grassroots. Your next superstars. The future of motorcycle racing.
But the inviting and accessible format of KTM RC Cup racing has attracted a group of young women who challenge the preconceptions and prejudices and inspire the current and next generations to break the mould and push through a new era in motorsport. We pride ourselves as an all inclusive series and embrace any rider with the dedication to follow their dreams.
This season we want to highlight the impressive female talent running through all of the countries the KTM RC Cup series covers with a series of features, starting with 13-year-old Annabel ‘Abbz’ Thomas riding bike #66 in the Santander Consumer Finance KTM RC Cup in the United Kingdom.
Annabel, known as ‘Abbz’ to her RC Cup family, spent a lot of her childhood in the superbike and road racing paddock. Her father, Steffan Thomas, is the manager of Four Anjels Racing, a team running in Superbikes, Stock 1000’s and international road racing. At a young age, bikes weren’t her focus. She would play with her friends in the paddock.
However, in 2014, Four Anjels team owner, Steve Greenhalgh, booked a mini moto try-out day for his son and Annabel was invited to have a go. It didn’t take long for Annabel to show raw talent. She was fast from the start, and it wasn’t long before she was naturally dropping a knee and carving her way through the pack.
“I immediately went out and bought Abbz a mini moto to race on,” Steffan told us. “However, she tried a pit bike which she took to immediately. The decision was made that she would run the bigger bike. Her reason? It was faster and more fun!”
Annabel set off for her first race meeting at the British Mini Bike Championship. On this first outing, she finished on the podium. Twice. She continued to win many races, stand on many podiums and collected herself two British Junior titles.
It was obvious that Annabel was going to set her mind to this, her confidence and enjoyment of going fast gave her an edge over her peers. However away from the circuit, there is no hint of her passion. Steffan tells us, “Her room isn’t plastered with posters of bikes or racers. She rarely discusses her motorsport with her friends. It’s only when she is preparing for a race meeting that her desire to compete and to win comes out. Then it’s all about total dedication.”
Last year Annabel decided to test herself and took a wild card ride in the Nora Sport Supermoto series. Held at Cadwell Park, she impressed spectators and other competitors by finishing as the top rookie in her class. Coming home with two third place finishes made her proud as the competition was a field of adults. Later in July, she entered the Cool Fab Pit Bike 140 Championship at Whilton Mill. In the adult class, Annabel took the overall win for the weekend and became the first female to win a Cool Fab series race.
This season there were several options for Annabel. Superteens to Supermoto. She was approached by a BSB team and offered a ride in the Santander Consumer Finance KTM RC Cup. It was at this point Steve from Four Anjels intervened and said: “If she is racing, she runs for us!” and so that was it. Annabel stepped up to the KTM RC Cup for Four Anjels Racing Team and has been top rookie in every round so far. Currently standing 9th in the championship, she is the only rookie regularly hitting the top six and challenges the top boys. Proving that gender is irrelevant.
Away from the Paddock, Annabel likes to keep fit and heads to the gym whenever she can. She is a regular teenage girl at home, hanging out with her friends, listening to music and of course, sleeping! Whilst she will ride her pit bike as often as possible and has even named her RC390 ‘Jasmine’! But motorbikes aren’t her only love
“Annabel simply adores micro pigs!” Dad, Steffan, tells us. “Every day she tries to convince us to buy her one, or seven!”
Her School in Corby supports Annabel through her racing career. Steffan confirms they take pride that one of their students is breaking the mould and performing so well. Whilst she is determined to make racing her career, her back up plan is to become a sports teacher. She takes her studies very seriously and is managing to balance a hectic racing schedule with the pressures of GCSE studies.
Abbz has managed to gain a lot of support. As well as backing from her Four Anjels team, The Evening Telegraph report on all her racing activities. This girl understands the importance of media and how to use it to gain support. She has also used social media to her advantage with engaging accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram which offer publicity to the local businesses who support her, including Stanair, QRG Garage, and Motogear.
We wanted to know why Annabel loves the Santander Consumer Finance KTM RC Cup. She said “The RC Cup series has been the perfect platform to develop my career. The back-up, support and promotion riders receive from the series has been outstanding. I love riding the RC390 and think it is the right route to get onto a Moto3 bike in the future.”
“This is what I want to do. I am thrilled to be doing well, and the top rookie is nice. But I want more. I want to be challenging for podiums very soon. I know we aren’t too far away. I have made some mistakes, but I am learning all the time. I will get there. I am determined to!”
We believe Annabel has got what it takes to make her mark in the racing world. She is a fantastic role model for other riders and proof that if you have a goal, put your head down and focus then anything is possible. Regardless of any preconceptions or prejudice. If you can dream it, you can do it.
Thanks for being an awesome part of the KTM RC Cup family Abbz!