Last month we highlighted the exceptional talent of one of our top female riders, British KTM RC Cup rider Annabel ‘Abbz’ Thomas. As our season has progressed we’ve witnessed some incredible racing across all series and as part of our celebration of Fast Females, we headed out to interview Benelux top lady, Bibi Damen
With a drive for equality and many campaigns, such as former F1 test driver, Susie Woflf’s Dare 2 Be Different, KTM is proud to have so many female riders taking part in this year's RC Cup Championships.
Breaking the mould and inspiring others is runs through the core of KTM and the KTM RC Cup series is an excellent platform to showcase a group of girls doing just that.
Bibi Damen is 16-years old from Waalwijk in the Netherlands. Taking part in the Benelux championship, heading into the final round at Assen this weekend she sits fourth overall with a total of 91 points - just five points from third place.
As with many of our riders, her interest in bikes grew organically. As a four-year-old girl playing in her garden, she noticed the neighbours had brought home a mini bike. Bibi says she fell in love with bikes there and then. She had to wait five more years until her father decided to buy her a Minibike of her own.
“I started racing Minibikes at nine-years old and two years later I was selected by the Arie Molenaar team to participate in the NSF100 cup. It was just fun for me at first. I enjoyed it so much, but then I became competitive. I wanted to win. After three years racing in this, I then discovered the KTM RC Cup. My first year of the Benelux KTM RC Cup was in 2015.”
Bibi is passionate about racing, but it hasn’t always been a smooth path. Competing against a mainly male field in the NSF series she told us she felt quite isolated, but she used that feeling and her passion to drive her on to do more.
“When I was riding in the previous championship, the guys didn’t actually accept me. I felt like stopping, but I liked riding and racing too much. I get more push out of people making me feel I can't do something.”
Bibi told us she trusts the KTM RC 390 and the feeling she has competing within the Benelux series is positive. “I enjoy the KTM RC 390. The series is really good because all the bikes are the same, so it is down to raw talent. I like this and I would definitely recommend the series to other people, especially to other girls.”
In her first year racing the KTM RC 390, she finished the championship in 10th place. In 2016 she improved this by a country mile, just missing out on 3rd place by a few points. Bibi has continued this momentum this season with a highest placing of second, narrowly missing the top step on the podium. Her goal for this season was to try for first place in the championship and then to try to progress to the new Supersport 300 class that follows the Superbike World Championship.
“This season has been better than I expected. I decided to focus more on my fitness. Power and conditioning, so I dedicated a lot of time to training in the gym. I believe this is why my season has been so positive. I feel great.”
Away from the track and when she isn’t studying Sports and Movement training at ROC college, Bibi has taken up a truly inspirational role as a youth lady adviser for the Dutch department of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA).
“This organization aims to achieve a safer environment for abused and abused children,” Bibi explains. “I am - fortunately - not an expert in the field of abuse, but I think it is very important that attention be paid to this topic. Every child deserves a safe home, just as I have it. If I can contribute with BACA there, I would like to do that!”
We asked Bibi for any advice to girls who are want to get into racing: “It’s simple,” Bibi says with an infectious smile. “If you want to do something, do it for yourself and not other people.”
Bibi is certainly doing that, and we are proud of her achievements over the last few years with the KTM RC Cup Benelux series.