Nadieh Schoots has an exciting motor sport career. The 25 year old has raced in the American AMA championship, and this season in the highly competitive BSB Superstock 1000. Schoots has even bigger plans: she wants to ride the TT Isle of Man! In an interview with Dutch Motorsport, Schoots talks about her plans and how she got into this sport.
Nadieh, there aren't a lot of women riding in motorsport. How did you get into this sport?
"My parents rode bikes, but they have never raced. My father did do some track days, but when he fell off, it sort of lost its charm. I would always watch MotoGP on TV, and we went to Assen every year. I've always had this love for speed in me. I wanted to ride instead of watching. At fourteen I started on a minibike. I was immediately in love and kept on getting better. After four years (end of 2009) we made the switch to an Aprilia RS250 and I went riding on the big tracks. At the end of my first day I rode the third fastest time out of the eighty attendees. In the following years we competed in many different races across Europe''.
In 2012, you suddenly popped up in the American championship. How did that go?
"In 2011, I participated in a 'Dirt track camp' with Colin Edwards. I made an impression on one of the instructors, who knew a wealthy woman who wanted to start her own endurance team with female riders. I was asked to ride for that team and did so in 2012. At that time for me, it was 'living the dream'. The first endurance race went so well that the team let me compete in AMA Supersport the following weekend. Unfortunately, the same team then fell apart because the biggest sponsor pulled out." And then? "Yea, then I was in America with nothing. Luckily Scott Russell (World Superbike Champion 1993), was involved with the team and helped me tremendously. He took me in and I traveled to the races with him, where he introduced me to people within the AMA paddock. At the start of 2013, I got injured, but in the second part of the year I was able to ride in the Harley-Davidson series. Eventually, with AMA falling apart, I went to BSB in 2014 and raced the Ducati Cup. I had already ridden in the UK before and felt at home there. It is a great championship that attracts many visitors, so it's really cool to be a part of".
You then rode two years in the Ducati Cup and this year, you competed in BSB Superstock 1000.
”I had a lot of injuries and bad luck during my seasons in the Ducati Cup. The technical problems caused me to completely lose confidence in the bike. I wanted something different and could start with the Kawasaki team of Ian Lougher in Superstock 1000".
And how did it go this season?
"It was a big step because this is a very strong class. I made a lot of progress and I am now between five and six percent per lap slower than the lead, but then you still end up in the backfield. I would've liked to have made more progress. The team set up a perfect bike, but I missed feedback and tips on how I could improve as a rider. I was actually planning to stay with ILR for several seasons, but we've now decided to go our separate ways".
What are the plans for next year?
"The plan is to buy our own Kawasaki to race in the BSB Superstock 1000. I'll get some help and tips off for example Superbike rider Peter Hickman; who has a wealth of experience. We're just not going to all BSB races, because the goal is to start road racing next year".
"Yes, we want to at least compete in the North West 200, Southern 100 and Ulster GP next season. Should I be permitted, I would also like to ride the Macau GP”.
Where does your passion to ride Road Races come from?
"When I started racing, I thought I'd never do the roads. I then watched the film 'Closer To The Edge'. When I heard the riders speak about riding these circuits, and saw the look in their eyes to go with it, I was sold”.
Have you ever raced on a road course?
“No not yet. I've been to some of the tracks and did laps with the car. It was amazing. My desire for road racing only increased with seeing the tracks in person. Preparing to learn the circuits is so important to go fast and be safe, that's what I'll be working on in the coming period”.
Is therefore the Isle of Man TT on your wish list?
"I see next year as a learning season in regards to the road races. The plan is to find a quiet place in the paddock and just have a relaxed experience, learning at my own pace. Should it go well, I would like to race the Isle of Man TT in 2018”.
As a man you will already be hailed as a hero if you've raced the Isle of Man TT. How would it be for a woman?
"Since the marshals in the BSB know that I have plans to ride the road races, my popularity has only grown. I think twenty to thirty women ever rode the TT”.
Do you, besides the road racing ambitions, also have targets in BSB?
"Yes, I do feel I have things to prove to myself, and everyone else. I want to go back to full seasons in the BSB in the future. First I would like to go towards the points in the Superstock 1000, with the major goal being the switch to the British Superbike class. I want to show the world that women can actually get to the top of a male dominated sport. Therefore, it is amazing that, for example Maria Herrera rides in the World Championship Moto3. For a woman it's generally seen as an achievement to participate, and there are no further expectations. For a man this is different, they are expected to quickly grow and get certain results. These goals I want to impose myself, as I think that's necessary to perform well."