Written by By Laura Woodling, CNN
Meet Landry (who goes by her racing name, Landi), a 17-year-old female rider of Aberdeen Track Club off-road racing bikes. Landi has always loved cars, but she was first drawn to off-road racing, or off-roading, after seeing a documentary about the sport on YouTube.
“Off-road racing is a real challenge,” she says. “You have to be flexible and adaptable and quick.”
At the top of her age range Landi is part of a new generation of young female riders to rise up in the land speed sport — a domain known for being male-dominated. While road racers are one of the most male-dominated sports in the world, female off-road racers are just as hard working.
On roads, Landi says men tend to dominate by being bigger and stronger than women, but in the off-road world it’s women who are usually stronger and smaller. For Landi, this has made her stronger on the bike, as she relies on quick reflexes and smart bike control.
“I’m small, but I’m also a little bit clumsy,” Landi says. “In racing you have to be really fast and have good balance to move the bike around corners and take the best out of the conditions.”
It was during her first off-road race when Landi was just seven years old that she became hooked on racing bikes. Her family has always been keen sportspeople, but Landi’s father Brian had always wanted to compete in off-road racing. Brian grew up on the family farm near in Scotland, just outside of Aberdeen, a region known for its off-road racing history.
Racing to the maximum
“I trained every single day for it,” Landi says. “I’d just go for a ride and go home and see if I had finished it.”
Landi wasn’t the only one who wanted to be a top-rated rider; her father set out to develop a fleet of motorcycles he believed his daughter could win races on. With around 20 quality bikes at their disposal Brian soon had to learn to develop his own technique in racing on the road. This meant wearing leather shorts, waistcoats and hats in his off-road racing gear. “Racing in Scotland has a different twist,” Brian Landi says. “You can’t just go out and buy an off-road bike. You have to get used to some of the bends and sounds.”
In 2016 Landi became the youngest ever female rider to take pole position in an off-road racing race when she won a competition around Tintagel Castle in the north of Wales.
In the off-road community Landi is only now attracting a wider audience as women begin to push through the barriers in the off-road world. However, she has yet to find an off-road racing team to help her into the ranks. Instead Landi works with coaching and personal development companies to improve her motorbike-racing and bike maintenance skills.
Landi will next compete in the junior Superstock competition, in which she is currently the top female racer in the world.
Winning the title of the female world champion in this competition would be her dream, however Landi is keeping her eyes on a much bigger prize — the series of championships which culminate in the Olympics.
“This [competition] would mean the world to me. I’m so privileged and privileged to be here,” Landi says. “I don’t want to run away from it. My goal is for me to be a top-10 rider in the world.”