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BMW Motorrad Motorsport

Pannonia-Ring, Hungary, 29/06/2016,

Historic win for flying Finns

The first woman to win a world championship circuit race

History was made on 25th June 2016: the Finnish duo of Pekka Päivärinta and Kirsi Kainulainen won the sprint race in the FIM Sidecar World Championship (SWC) at the Pannonia-Ring. Kainulainen is now the first woman ever to have won a world championship circuit race.

Kainulainen only made her debut in the sidecar world championship last year, but the pair recorded eight podium finishes in her first season. They finished the season in third place overall – which was an historic achievement in itself as Kainulainen was the first woman ever to have won a world championship medal – bronze – in a circuit racing category.

Päivärinta/Kainulainen made it to the podium in each of the first three races of the 2016 season. The “flying Finns” followed that up with the historic first win last weekend. In the Gold Race on Sunday, they finished second in their 44 Racing sidecar, which is powered by a BMW S 1000 RR engine. The duo also moved into the lead in the overall world championship standings at the Pannonia-Ring. After completing three of the six race weekends, Päivärinta/Kainulainen have scored 101 points, 18 points ahead of their closest competitor.

“This weekend was the most emotional one of my whole motorsport career”

“I am so pleased, I wanted to stand on the top spot at least once this year, and it has happened,” said Kainulainen with tears of joy in her eyes. “This weekend was the most emotional one of my whole motorsport career. I can´t get this feeling anywhere else than from motorsport. At the moment I just feel incredible, this was a dream come true to get my first victory in the Sidecar World Championship!“

The 30-year-old Finn, who is also a solo racer in her home country, is now well established in the male-dominated world of motorsport. “When I started, many years ago, in motocross, it happened frequently that a boy wouldn’t join me on the podium, as he was too upset to accept that a girl had been better. After a while, they would always come back and admit my success,” she recalls.

“Now things have changed. In the Sidecar World Championship, many of my male colleagues come to me for tips and ask me how I manage to pass certain spots. It is fun to compete with men, but also extremely hard. They fight with full power and don´t give up even a bit,” said Kainulainen, before smiling and continuing: “So there is no way of them treating you like a lady on the track!”

These successes have helped Kainulainen become a role model for other young ladies looking to make a career in motorcycle sport. That is one of the reasons why her first world championship win is so special: “I hope that whoever is considering even a bit if she should be involved in motorsport should make her dream come true and get into action.”

The next race in the Sidecar World Championship is scheduled for 7th August, in Assen/Netherlands.