Jessica D's bio
Jessica is a traveler by heart. She loves to pen her thoughts related to her travel experiences and her knowledge about motorcycle adventure products to keep you safe and enjoy the ride. Jessica loves to meet new people during her trips.
Read Jessica's feature on B&B Off-Road Engineering about choosing the ideal tyres for your adventure bike here.
Guest Post by writer Jessica D
They say that age is just a number: and Mardelle Peck proves it. She began racing a motor bike at the age of 65, surrounded by racers in their 20s and 30s, and has inspired many other women to get on their bikes and race.
Mardelle met her husband Ron when she was 18 and he was 21. They had a number of things in common, but their love of motorbikes topped the list. While Ron was a motorbike enthusiast, Peck worked as a fleet manager for Chevrolet in Chico, California, and rode and tested bikes in order to choose the ideal bikes, tyres and accessories, as part of her job.
Mardelle and Ron have owned quite a few bikes, including Hondas and Harley Sportsters, and they have enjoyed frequent road trips around the US, but in her fifties, Mardelle decided it was time to tick off an item on her bucket list and take her 2001 Honda CBR 929 to the track.
She attended the SuperBike School in California, set up by Keith Code, and being among the oldest students in the school, didn’t deter her one bit. In fact, she enjoyed it so much, she kept coming back to complete all three levels.
For the next 11 years, Mardelle raced on the track, practising and training for her next goal. In 2012, at the age of 65, she debuted in the American Federation of Motorcyclists’ annual all-women Afemme race at Thunderhill Raceway Park, near Willows in California.
The AFM, founded in 1954 by a group of sport riding enthusiasts in the North Bay Area, had seen famous motorcyclists such as Kenny Roberts, Randy Mamola and Wayne Rainey race in its ranks. It was also rare in its inclusion of an all-women’s class.
Over the next few years, Mardelle continued racing in all the tracks she could, with Ron cheering her on from the sidelines. Quickly, Peck graduated from the novice to the expert class. Age was never a factor; her single-minded aim was to enjoy the thrill of the moment and to relish the focus and dedication motorcycling racing demands.
In 2014, she was racing at Afemme again. This time she was riding in the expert class, and landed a cool third on her Yamaha R6.
Even before getting to the start line, however, Mardelle knew that this would be her last race. She had suffered only one mishap as a motorcycle racer so far, when she came off her Suzuki GSX-R on a track day, bruising herself badly and damaging the bike. However, she had seen five racers come off in the expert class, and it scared her. She wanted to continue riding, but she knew the time had come to bid farewell to her brief and exhilarating racing career.
With her trademark twinkling eyes and in her forever-young style, Mardelle said goodbye to racing, happy with the experience it had given her. She had learned a lot, and touched many lives. In her brief career, she managed to inspire a lot of women to take up motorcycle racing and had gathered a significant fan base. It gratified her immensely when fans came up to tell her how she had inspired them.
Now in her 70s, continues riding and experiencing the thrill of being on the road. Just as they did 50 years ago, she and Ron continue to take trips across Canada to Wyoming and Montana on their customised BMW G8 1200 motorcycles. And Mardelle continues to inspire her fans, telling them that their time is now, and they can go out and accomplish everything they want.
Once, when a girl told Mardelle that she wanted to be like her when she grew up, she told her simply that she shouldn’t ever grow up. It’s sound advice.
This blog is by a woman driver, for everyone to read