Jenny Besaw’s first motorcycle was no learner bike: she got a Honda CBR1000RR. It’s a perfect example of the ambition that the roadracer from University Place, Washington, has when it comes to motorcycles.
These days, it’s her 2007 Honda CBR600RR that’s getting Besaw to the top of the podium. She competes in OMRRA, AFM and WERA. In 2011, she has earned two wins, two second-place finishes, and a third. She has also earned two Hard Charger Awards from OMRRA.
Besaw started doing track days on her 1000 before she got her racing license in 2006 and tackled the 600 classes. She only did a handful of races until 2010, when she raced a full season.
“I’ve crashed more in the past year than since I started riding, but it’s a learning curve,” Besaw explains. “I did my first rain race and led the race. I got in front of the group, then crashed out in the rain! But it was a big accomplishment for me. I like the idea of pushing myself.”
Besaw takes that statement seriously: after earning her wins in the novice class, she petitioned to move up to expert so she could learn from the fastest racers in the Northwest.
That first win isn’t one that Besaw will ever forget. “It was one of the hardest races ever! I worked my butt off, lap after lap,” she says, noting that transmission problems were a hindrance. “The guy I was racing against had 12 bike lengths on me. I had to beat this guy and was coming off the corners faster than ever.”
Besaw—who admits to being a huge fan of old “Murder, She Wrote” episodes—says that she had to learn a lot of things the hard way because she didn’t have mentors to help her along. These days, the 31-year-old takes every opportunity to help guide novice racers.
Luckily for Besaw, that help she didn’t have in the early days of racing has materialized. It has come in the form of friends, family, and sponsors, including Galfer USA, Griot’s Garage, her father’s company Rapid Lean Six Sigma, War Paint by Steve Wellman, SDS Performance, and Quentin Wilson.
Griot’s Garage is where Besaw works as a merchandising coordinator. The automotive car care company is the perfect spot for her, where her boss and co-workers are enthusiastic supporters of her racing. They also pitch in to keep her bike running smoothly.
Besaw puts on her Galfer brakes for cycling, and she loves it for the same reason she loves motorcycles. “You can go out if you’re having a rough day; you can just head out on the road. It has the same feeling of it being just you and the machine,” she says.
Clearly, Jenny Besaw is one with her machine when she’s on the racetrack.