For the love of racing

Edenvale’s petite Nicole van Aswegen was the first-ever female competitor to take part in a National Superbike Race in South Africa. In 2010 she won the title of South African Female 600cc Champion, which she held for two years.

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Being a competitive motorcycle racer was her dream from an early age.

“I always opted to ride on the back of dad’s bike rather than in mom’s car from school,” Nicole remembers.

She matriculated at Sunward Park High School in Boksburg in 2005. During her school years she excelled as a Springbok gymnast, but at 18 she started to pursue her dream.
Her decision to race was greeted with a lot of negativity. She was told she was too small and petite (she weighs only 47kg) to hold on to a race bike. Well, she proudly proved the naysayers wrong!

Nicole started on a small bike and finally progressed to a 600cc motorcycle. She raced against some of the fastest male riders in South Africa with exceptional results and claimed the title of South African Female 600cc Champion.

When the Female 600 series was abandoned, Nicole continued to race against guys. She  achieved numerous podium positions and won a few regional races on her 600cc Triumph
Daytona 675R.

However, motorcycle racing in South Africa was becoming too expensive, it was not receiving the media recognition it deserved and sponsors were becoming harder to find.

Nicole and her fiancé, Damion Purificati, wanted to become parents and she decided that it was the ideal time to hang up the helmet.

“I was nervous and worried that I would get withdrawals from no motorcycle racing. I started riding MX (off-road) bikes for fitness and loved it. As I began to master that skill, I found out I was pregnant. I was convinced my baby would fill the void left by not racing,” she says.

Nicole’s daughter, Tyler-Cruz, was born on March 29, 2017, and Nicole realised that looking after a baby is harder than it looks.

“Goodness me! Motorcycle racing is so much easier. A t least I got to sleep when I had put the bike away,” she remembers.

“At that stage I did not think I would ever race again. I missed racing and was getting moody when my fiancé rode and I had to sit on the sidelines,” she says.

Damion eventually allowed her to ride his bike on a short circuit … and … she was hooked all over again! She just had to race again.

This time she faced criticism for racing when she was a new mommy. But Nicole knew she would be more relaxed and less moody if she could just ride again.

With the support of her parents and fiancé, Nicole started racing again on provincial level.
She recently opted to race in a new series, the SS300. In her first race she came third overall from among some fast lads aged between 14 and 19.

“And Tyler is absolutely perfectly fine. She is a mommy’s girl who loves being around the motorcycles,” says Nicole.

Nicole wouldn’t mind if Tyler became a racer too.

“The racing lifestyle is a very sober one. It takes up your whole life. It needs a lot of concentration and leaves no room for drugs or alcohol,” she adds.

Nicole’s aim is to give racing her all for the next four years. When Tyler starts her school career, she will hang up her helmet for real.

Nicole is looking for sponsors. Anyone interested can contact her on 076 398 1226.

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