I hate to say it, but women don’t get a fair shake in the world of motorsports. While we have had several prominent women over the last few years try and break the mold, they are still facing an uphill battle against sexism. But maybe we can finally put all of this to rest because Ana Carrasco has just won the biggest race of her life.
At just 20-years old Ana Carrasco made history this weekend when she took home gold at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal. Racing in the newly minted FIM Supersport 300 World Championship, Ana is competing against a stacked class of 33 riders, all of which can win at any given moment. With that, the race was an absolute barn burner, all at one of the most challenging tracks to navigate on the entire calendar.
The weekend was just about perfect for Carrasco. After setting a good pace in practice, Carrasco managed the first-row start, sitting 3rd on the grid. From there the 11-lap race was absolutely fierce. When the lights went out Carrasco secured a good start while championship leader Marc Garcia and Daniel Valle jumped out front. The three set a blistering pace, setting themselves up for a showdown finish. Once into the second half of the race, pole sitter Alfonso Coppola and Mika Perez were able to find their groove and catch up to the leading pack, making it a 5-way dogfight for the win.
It all came down to the last corner. Marc Garcia lead the pack, while Carrasco was nipping at his heels the entire time. Directly behind Carrasco was Coppola, followed by Daniel Valle and finally Mika Perez. While Ana pressured the entire lap before, she stayed composed and kept close, drafted perfectly off of Garcia to slingshot herself into the win. Coppola jumped out of the slipstream on the opposite side of Garcia, resulting in a photo finish for the ages.
The best part about this win is that it wasn’t handed to Ana, she rode in and took it. The race was a battle of attrition and strategy, and Carrasco came up tops on both counts. “I am very happy about this result,” says Carrasco. “I want to share it with all my team. We have worked very hard and we have been making progress in each race … I am very happy and I would like to thank all of them, as well as my sponsors since without them this would not be possible.”
Having several female friends that are incredibly fast, I can say it’s great to see some recognition go their way. The Supersport 300 class is perfect for younger riders to showcase their talent, as we have seen this year. But it is really a credit to ETG Racing for believing in Carrasco and putting a competitive bike on the grid to prove that. Hopefully, more teams will take note of this, and we will see more women like Ana Carrasco on the grid. And who knows, maybe someday we will see Ana herself in MotoGP. I for one would love to see that.