CANELINHA (BRAZIL) – Four years after the first ever attempt of a woman rider to race a Grand Prix, Brazilian Mariana Balbi did race the Honda Grand Prix of Brazil in the MX1 class marking the first ever female appearance in a Grand Prix heat.
Before Balbi’s achievement Stefy Bau, currently the Youthstream WMX Manager, was the first ever woman to try and race a Grand Prix. Bau’s attempt dates back to 2005 when the Italian tried to race her home event in Castiglione del Lago. Honda mounted Bau was 20th in the Last Chance Qualifying Practice –the last chance to take part to the Grand Prix after the two Qualifying Heats- and was forced to sit out of the event which she had entered in the MX2 class.
Balbi and Bau
At Budds Creek in 2007 Puerto Rico’s Tarah Gieger became the first female rider to race the Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations but the Yamaha star never tried to race a Grand Prix.
This year Brazilian Mariana Balbi instead made it at her first attempt during the Honda Grand Prix of Brazil in Canelinha. Honda mounted Balbi qualified 28th and went through the two heats to take 24th and 20th. Eventually Balbi was 24th overall in the MX1 class to become the first ever female rider to qualify and race a Grand Prix in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
The series of female achievements in the FIM Motocross World Championship includes also the two FIM Women’s Motocross World Titles clinched by Livia Lancelot (2008) and Stephanie Laier (2009).
Name and surname Mariana Balbi
Place of birth Belo Horizonte
Date of birth (d/m/y) 23/10/1985
First GP raced 2009, GP of Brazil, Canelinha, MX1