My name is Grace Poutch (also known by my racing name, Gracesheen). I hail from Dublin, Ireland which is where I began my love of motorcycles 15+ years ago when I was the General Manager of Ireland’s first and only motorcycle rental company. I learnt to ride from my boss on his BMW 650GS around a car park which took about two hours and then he unleashed me onto the streets of Dublin and he didn’t see me again for 2 days, and the rest is history.
From there I moved to Australia and I have been here for 10 years now. I met my partner Johnny while working in the gold mines in WA and together we enjoyed road riding on our r&r from work.
After much poking and prodding from Johnny to get out on track, I finally done my first track day in 2015 and I was hooked. I did my first racing season in 2016 in Western Australia where I finished up 10th overall in the championship against 40+ other riders.
In 2017 I moved across Australia to the one and only Phillip Island where I raced in the Australian Superbike Championship and in the Victorian State Road Racing Championship. I finished up 2nd in the state titles which made me the first female in history to get a podium finish in the championship against a field full of lads.
In 2018 I competed in the state championship again racing against a much more competitive field of guys. Being the only female in the class empowered me to fight hard for the championship (I should also mention that my partner Johnny was one of my main competitors! Hehe) and I managed to beat Johnny and to finish 3rd for the season.
Since then I have been coaching some amazing women on track for the female only ride days and it has given me the itch to do this more often. Seeing these awesome ladies progress and get their confidence up to help them with their riding both on and off the track is the most satisfying feeling.
For me the biggest challenge was believing I could do it. It wasn’t until Johnny cracked the shits with me just before one of my races when he asked where I hoped to finish and my response was ‘my usual spot down near the back of the grid’ (usually around 25th place). He was so frustrated with me and gave out to me telling me he believed in me so much and that I had a massive amount of untapped talent behind the nerves and doubt and fear. His disappointment and sadness in my self-doubt was so transparent that it hit a part of my soul I never felt before.
I went out in the next race and I finished 4th. When I came in, Johnny had tears of joy in his eyes and from then on I never question my ability again. I started believing in myself and working hard both mentally and physically and I have come on leaps and bounds since that bollocking Johnny gave me in 2016.
I am loving my racing career and smashing through any imaginary boundaries placed before me. I have no idea what the hell I was doing before this life but I am living every single day of it like it’s my last.
If any of the lovely WRWR ladies want some tricks, tips, advice etc to get on track or start racing, or if you’re already racing and you have hit a stagnant point with little progression please get in touch as I would love to help out where I can.
Spread love, be kind and have fun.