The first female French solo pilot

Jean-Michel Prudon reports on more French interest in the TT

Recently, there have been several French female sidecar passengers, notably Maryse Duval and Sylvie Leblond last year, but I was nevertheless surprised to receive a telephone call last autumn from motorcycle enthusiast, Michel Fontana telling me about young compatriot of the fairer sex who intended entering TT 2004. Michel was intent on finding more about the world’s greatest road races, a meeting Fabienne has dreamed about competing in for over ten years. However, I took the opportunity of finding about the motorcycling pedigree of Fabienne.
Twenty-nine years old, born near the Alpine city of Grenoble she is single with two young children, Matthew, six and Lola, five. She, apparently, goes by the nickname of Piglette! For a bike racer she has the enviable job of a motorcycle instructor to young would-be racers. In France, when you want to race, but are too young to ride on the road, you have to undergo special instruction – enter Fabienne, a Sports Motorcycle Teacher.
Fabienne owns several motorcycles, a Ducati 620 SSIE, Kawasaki ZX6R and a Suzuki 125 RM for moto cross. Her dream is to own a Ducati 999. Her hobby, when not competing on the roads, is to ride over rougher terrain on her smallest capacity machine or her mountain bike and to drive her Fiat Pininfarina Coupe V6, 2 litre turbo.
She began racing in 1995 in the “beginner” 250cc Promosport class on a KSIS Kawasaki, with a return to the same series the following year on a 250 RGV Suzuki. Between 1997 and 2000 she concentrated on motherhood, but reappeared on the motorcycle scene in 2001 in the 900cc Ducati Cup. Same again for the following year, but last season she competed in the 620cc Ducati Cup and in the French Endurance Cup aboard a Yamaha R6.
Her favourite circuits are Le Mans and Magny Cours, but she has competed at many others, including Le Castellet, Ledenon, Albi, Nogaro, Spa, Ales, Vigeant and Carole. Her best Championship results are 26th [147 pilots] in the Ducati Cup of 1996, 22nd and 12th in that competition of 2000 and 2003 respectively; last season she also finished 7th at Le Mans and 6th at Ledenon in the Endurance Championship, giving her an overall position of 26th out of the ninety-six competing teams. Fabienne also took part in the Moto Tour, a week long rally, where she met Phil Read as well as being the second best placed female competitor in finishing 99th out of the 240 pilots in the event.
This season she will race in the seven round Ducati Cup, the French Endurance Championship with a new Kawasaki ZX6R lent by Aurelia Tendil [Kawabike] agent in Nimes and, hopefully, in the Production 600 and Junior TTs on the same machine. She is the official pilot for the best selling French motorcycle revue magazine, Moto-Journal and as well as Kawabike, she is receiving help from Ipone, Ermax, Vidal Sport, Kiwi and Remus.
We hope the Manx Motorcycle Club accept Fabienne’s entries so that she has the opportunity of achieving her ambition of racing around the Mountain Circuit.

Jean-Michel Pudon