She asked me for some help on writing something about the exploits of her team, TrackPrep Racing. The memorable one-liner in the title here came out as we chatted at Donington and seems a fitting headline. I said I’d write up our conversation and quickly ran out of notepad as the story of this successful racer and her team of all-female riders was shared over a full English, brown sauce, coffee with no sugar. Laurence Norrington-Parois, aka Weefrenchie, in action below;

From my notes I know Laurence was born in France and has two brothers, one of whom gave her the taste for bikes. An Uncle had competed in Paris-Dakar and living in the mountains it seemed inevitable that she’d do something a bit different. Her first bike was a Kymco 125 and the thrill of those first rides was tempered by a fear of roundabouts. Back then there was no CBT or equivalent in France so it was a case of jump on and enjoy a ride of anything up to 35bhp, legally. Then in ’99 she came to the UK to learn the language and fell under the friendly, informal tutelage of a ginger Scottish cook who would shout things about carrots. From there came jobs in a bowling alley, learning to play pool, and again came the taste for bikes. A first rider on a GXR750 and the “relentless power” fuelled an appetite for local track days, moving on to Brands Hatch then further afield at Cartegena in Spain and Portimao on the Algarve. No Limits track gave some great tuition and, when it became apparent that she had an appetite for more speed and some competition, she asked “what’s next?”. One unusual thing I noted was that part of the drive for racing is the peculiar, addictive financial knife-edge competitive riders have in not being able to afford to crash. On a track day you can load a broken bikes into the van and go again when it’s fixed, but with racing there’s the need to have a fast, reliable bike at every event, every time. What’s that thing about to finish first, first you have to finish?

Laurence’s husband, Ash, talks about meeting at an event at Oulton and following her round, knowing there was something special going on. Now he runs TrackPrep Racing and she has the comfort of not having to think about the quality of the bike or setup, she is in safe hands. The bike gets upgrades and lightened, say my notes, but they also say milk, bread, carrots and bog roll although they’re probably the wrong notes. This season brought 3 podiums and 2nd place overall, perhaps the best racing result from an all-female rider team anywhere, in any sport? Laurence and Ash are too modest to shout about this, but it’s great to hear the stories from them both about the team. There’s more to TrackPrep racing than these two, of course. Nadieh Schoots came over from The Netherlands, Katie Hand joined, as have Kim Lawton and Chloe Jones at points. Kim, as you may know, is an instructor at Blyton and Chloe knows her BSB stuff. A friend from Red Bull F1 helped when (she won’t thank me for writing this) Laurence mistakenly came in a lap early, and a 20 second pit stop became a 47 second one. Still, that’s a pretty prompt time, right? She tells from great anecdotes about walking the track after a crash, perhaps looking for a transponder, and finding her own ponytail on the tarmac somewhere. So many races and anecdotes like this, peppered, of course, with some very strong results.

My notes now flow onto the back of a flyer for the SuperBike factory, where we’re sat eating, Laurence with a leg in cast after an off at Donington a few weeks before. These things happen. We had a good chat about gentlemanly conduct and it seems that the biggest nark is chaps being overly-helpful which, on the balance of things, perhaps isn’t so bad. Ash has learned a few things too, and we had a good talk about reliability, squeezing a reliable 119bhp out of the R6 when it could go to 130bhp but likely go pop, he’s chasing tiny gains with incremental risks when it’s not just another rider on the bike, it’s his missus (or one of her friends). The 600cc class can be a bit of a dumping ground and, naturally, conversation turns to sponsorship and friends who shall remain nameless who have helped at the last hour with replacements for broken bikes. I asked about Ducatis in the 600cc class but Laurence carefully points out that she would consider that “perhaps an unfair advantage that I wouldn’t be comfortable with” (what is it with non-native English speakers who can express themselves far more succinctly then we Brits can?) “fair game?” smiles Ash, confirming what I was thinking. Their wedding took place in the control tower at Angelsey, perhaps the only people to get married there, the precise position for the photo was spotted from the saddle of an R6, mid-race. They both race to win, and that headline way above came out when describing a recent tussle on track. It’s not just a team of women riders, it’s women riders who want to win. And their enthusiasm is infectious and the reason I am now out notepaper.

Next season brings the challenge of finding more female team mates who can handle the pace, and some other great ideas that perhaps Laurence and Ash themselves should share regarding bringing other women into racing, and giving a leg up to those who have an interest in bikes in general. I shall be hanging off the pit wall cheering them on. They’ll be kicking ass.

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich Duisberg* has had work published in Classic & Sportscar, Practical Performance Car, Modern Mini, Banzai, MogMag, Evo, GT Porsche, Complete Kit Car, Absolute Lotus, Alternative Cars, Classic Retro Modern, and elsewhere. Rich often appears on CBS’s XCAR and Carfection channels, and Motors TV, plus JayEmm on Cars, enthusing about historic motoring. His latest book (find his work on Amazon) was described by SniffPetrol as "hilarious", although he was also threatened with legal action by elderly DJ Tim Westwood. In his Midlands man cave is a 1972 Fiat 500, a Lotus Elise, a BMW barge and a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike. Previous machines of interest include an Mk1 MX5 (owned for 14 years!), an Alfa GTV6, a Porsche 968 and a Sinclair C5. The Metro (right) was bought for an experiment, and abandoned in Africa. "I am not getting in a car with him" -  said Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. *A nom-de-plume inspired by the BBC's League of Gentlemen.

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