Friday, April 19, 2024

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5 Minutes with… Lissy Whitmore

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“5 Minutes with….” produced by First Turn Media with photos supplied by Lissy ( Bonnie Lane & Photostrada )

5 Minutes With… Lissy Whitmore

It’s a new dawn for female motorcycle racers with the announcement of the inaugural FIM Women’s Motorcycling World Championship which commences this year, the opening round being at the iconic Misano “Marco Simoncelli” circuit in June. Of the 24 riders listed to compete, there is 1 rider who stands out on the list and that’s the only British rider to be competing, Lissy Whitmore. Lissy will be teamed with American rider Mallory Dobbs riding under the Sekhmet Racing Team Banner, spearheaded by Team Principal Maddie Patterson.

As with most riders, the story starts with “a dad with a bike….”

Lissy: Yes, my dad always had a bike in the garage and worked within the British Superbike paddock with Vivaldi Racing Team, so it was always something that as a family we were all interested in. In 2017 I started racing a 140 Pit Bike in the British Mini Bike championship, doing a couple of rounds that were local to where we lived. Progressing onto a Bucci 160 and managing to get a few podiums.

SBN: How was your experience with the British Talent Cup selection process early in your racing career?

Lissy: Me and dad applied to BTC as a bit of fun, not really expecting anything to come from it and I certainly wasn’t going to be upset if I wasn’t selected to take part in the selection event. When the selection list came out, I was really shocked to see my name on it. I remember thinking, surely that’s just the applicants list. At this point I had only been riding a year and the selection event was to take place at Silverstone on the Stowe Circuit. Having not ridden bigger bikes at this point, myself and my dad booked into a Ron Haslam training event to get some practice in before the BTC selection day. I unfortunately had a crash on one of his training bikes, partly due to lack of experience but I really did learn a lot and felt more prepared for the day. Despite only making it through the first round of selection testing on the day, the overall life experience was brilliant. I got to meet Albert Apugio, whose teams I had watched on MotoGP and some of the people who were at the event are still good friends of mine today, it was 100 % a great experience and feel privileged to have been part of it.5 Minutes With… Lissy Whitmore

SBN: So following on from this, how did you land at OMG Yamaha?

Lissy: It had always been a Lass and Dad, always just a family racing set up. We started doing some track days before we decided to move into BSB, unfortunately everything was just going wrong at this point with consistent bike issues. I think I only managed to complete all the races over a weekend at one round that season. It was the Oulton Park round when I was walking through the paddock and Alan Gardener shouted “oi  – I want to talk to you” at the time I actually didn’t know who he was. I took my dad down to see him and after introductions, he invited us to Spain at the end of the year. It was offered as a, help us out kinda deal. We took our own bike out and we had a brilliant time and it really finished the year on a high. Not really giving the event much thought thereafter, it was when we went to pick the bike up in January and we met Alan at the pickup location that he offered me a ride on the OMG bike.  Of course, I said yes.

SBN: How did the year play out?

Lissy: It was really good, I learnt so much, about everything. About myself, team environments and dynamics, racing, the bike and my riding. It was a fantastic experience and something I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do. I experienced a few hick ups as is with racing and towards the end of the year I had a nasty crash at Donington Park which I injured my ankle and put me out for the last round. Obviously not how I wanted to end the year, but on the whole I think we had a really good year and I learnt loads.

5 Minutes With… Lissy WhitmoreSBN: At the end of the season, you parted ways with OMG and you went Road Racing at Olivers Mount, how did that come about?

Lissy: Yes, after leaving OMG our plans were to return to BSB as a Lass & Dad team again, however I got really ill in March 23 and I only managed to dip into a couple rounds but I just wasn’t happy enough to stay and the illness had really set me back. I really wanted to get back to a place of fun in my riding at this point for myself. I have always had a desire to try Road Racing, it’s a little bit of my heart and my ultimate goal would be the TT so it seemed logical to get on with the plan and go Road Racing. Olivers Mount I thought would be a fantastic starting point and it’s our only Road Racing in the UK.  I managed to do all the rounds bar 1 as I was wild carding at World Superbikes. It was fantastic and it really did bring my smile back and enjoyment back into my riding, I loved it.

SBN: The inaugural Women’s World Championship, wow – what an opportunity.

Lissy: I know right. Maddie (Patterson) approached me while I was at my wild card round with Worlds at Donington, she explained the details of this new women’s championship and that she was thinking of starting a team to compete and would I be interested in racing in the team. It was an absolute no brainer and a resounding yes. I always said to myself that if I was ever luckily enough to be offered a WSBK ride I would never say no. What a platform to grow on, there are so many talented females that are taking part that I feel so lucky to be apart of it and very humbled that I get to represent British female talent. I am also very lucky that I will still be able to take part in Olivers Mount this year to which the team support, though my priority will of course be the World Championship.5 Minutes With… Lissy Whitmore

SBN: So outside of racing, what else does Lissy get up to?

Lissy: I did 5 years as an Army cadet, making it to corporal (covid hindered some further progression) It was a really interesting experience and I even managed to obtain my grenade license, though it has now expired. I participated in combat cadets, which is a national competition. I played football and athletics for the cadets, I think had I not have started racing then I would have gone into some form of the Military. I did apply for the RAF last year, but my eyesight isn’t quite the standard they require – though I must say its fine for my racing!

SBN: What training are you up to in the off season?

Lissy: I go to the gym every weekday and I really enjoy taking part in fitness classes, I find them really fun and social. I really enjoy running and biking too, generally I like just keeping active and this all helps ultimately for my overall bike fitness.

Lissy, if you could only eat one for forever, what would be? “My Mums spaghetti bolognaise”

Superbike News will be reporting on the Women’s World Championship in its inaugural year and we look forward to seeing Lissy’s progression, we are confident the racing will be just as entertaining as the rest of the support classes on the world stage.

5 Minutes With… Lissy Whitmore


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