UStory: Valerie Thompson Racing
In recent years, the motorcycle industry has seen an incline in female riders. According to a 2018 study by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), nearly 20% of motorcycle owners in the United States are women – a considerable jump from only 10% in 2009.
While 48% are ride cruisers, there is a growing number of women who are venturing into the sports of motorcycle racing. And as luck will have it, we recently had the pleasure of talking to the fastest of them all – Valerie Thompson, the World’s Fastest Female Motorcycle Racer.
Guts, Grit, and The Need for Speed
2006 marked the start of Valerie’s professional racing career when she received sponsorship from her local Harley-Davidson dealership. And it did not take long for the awards to come pouring in.
In her second year of racing, Valerie placed third, out of 40 racers, in the All Harley Drag Racing Association series.
“I recruited to be a rider for new land speed racing records at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats, the world’s fastest racecourse. I’ve never stopped racing for records since,” she recalls.
In 2016, Valerie bagged the “World’s Fastest Female Motorcycle Racer” title. She piloted the Team 7 Racing motorcycle streamliner to a record-breaking 300 mph, only to break it again in 2018 at the Dry Lake Racers Australia (DLRA) Speed Week competition where she set the 328-mph record.
In that same year, she was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame, further cementing her status as one of the most formidable racers who are not just breaking speed records but also gender barriers on the racetrack.
Speeding Through Gender Barriers
Valerie shares that bagging her prestigious title has been a long and difficult pursuit, something she could not have done without the support of her generous sponsors and loyal fans.
In understanding the major challenges of her professional racing career, it’s successful NHRA racers like Angelle Sampey and land speed record holder Kitty O’Neill who inspired her to speed through the challenges of being a female racer in a male-dominated sport.
“Being in a male-dominated industry has helped me develop my self-confidence and self-reliance and has taught me many things about who I am and who I have become. It has defiantly made me stronger, more focused, and drives my desire to win!”
Like other successful female racers, Valerie’s achievements opened many opportunities for her, and along with them, criticisms. “We’re definitely put under a microscope.”
Being in the industry for as long as she has, Valerie cites marketability as one of the pros of being a female motorcycle racer, and it surely helps that she is very personable and relatable. On the flip side, the guys drive them harder and can be very critical about where they finish.
There is also the financial burden of supporting two race teams, which she considers as her biggest challenge. “Finding sponsors who believe in building their brands is where I spend most of my time.”
But to top it all, there is the imminent danger in the sports which, while exhilarating, is very real. When we asked Valerie, what her most memorable race to date is:
“I survived a horrific 363-mph crash competing in the World Speed Trials at Lake Gairdner Australia in 2018.”
She recalls how the wreck left pieces and parts spread out for over a mile. Thankfully, she walked away with barely a scratch, “thanks to all the safety measures taken by vehicle designer Dennis Manning and Team 7 Racing”.
Fun Fact: Valerie Thompson is a long-time supporter of the children’s charity, Beads of Courage, and always has her beads of courage on every run. She also does a happy dance to celebrate every successful run.
Gearing Up for What’s Ahead
When Valerie is not training or racing, you’ll find her hanging out with her husband Ray and their two dogs, Bentley and Britt. She also enjoys cooking, staying fit, and attending community support events, like the Barrett-Jackson auto auctions and the International Female Ride Day.
With such a prestigious title already in her bag, we could not help but wonder, what’s next for this amazing motorcycle racer? Hint: More breaking speed records.
“Our plan for 2021 with the BUB 7 Motorcycle Streamliner is to compete at racing events in Bonneville including the upcoming Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials in August.” More competitions are lined up for her here and abroad if travel restrictions are lifted.
Valerie also has a few mph goals that she’s preparing for. Among them is to become the world’s fastest motorcycle racer by breaking the current record of 376.36 mph.
And then there’s, “Gain membership in the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest motorcycle, period!”
The UPrinting Experience
Being the fastest female racer in the world is more than just a title; it’s part of her brand. And for Valerie, building her brand means finding ways to connect with her fans and followers, online and through something more tangible – her merch.
We are beyond thrilled to be her online printer of choice for her custom packaging needs, so of course we had to ask, how was her UPrinting experience?
“My experience has been first class at every step! For starters, I am not a graphic designer. UPrinting was there every step of the way, ensuring my graphics really popped and were on point.”
“You make it easy to utilize my own ideas through easy-to-follow templates. I’m confident that my fans who purchase Valerie Thompson Racing products via my website are impressed by the first-class packaging your products deliver.”
“The UPrinting team is always helpful and there to make me look good.”
Catch Valerie and AMA Hall of Fame member Denis Manning on the new documentary film, Rockets and Titans, to be released in 2021.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obtG4f3-c8k.
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