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Jessica Gardiner took time out from a busy racing schedule to pen this Revolving Racer column for AMCN. The big news? She is not racing the World Enduro GP this year.

Jessica Gardiner: My big news is that I’m not doing the World Enduro GP this year… there just isn’t the support there for women like there used to be. I’ve done it for many years and went back last year for a really good crack where I ended up vice World Champion – but I found out the manufacturers are just not supporting the women.


The silent assassin… Jess Gardiner on the electric racer

There is no manufacturers’ award for the women so I guess there is no real incentive for them to help women out. It was essentially a bunch of girls travelling in vans with their dads, doing events because they love it, battling for a little medal with no bonuses and no bike support. It was expensive and I just didn’t feel like it should be that hard, especially on my personal sponsors when I can provide more value for them here in Australia.

So, last year around Hattah time, I got a call-up with two weeks’ notice to fly to France and fill in for Sandra Gomez in the FIM E-Xplorer series for electric bikes. Sandra had Red Bull Romaniacs the same weekend and her team was winning. The format meant they had to have a female rider to get a team result – so that opened the door for me to compete in the Explorer series. The bike was basically a Yamaha frame with an electric powertrain fitted. At the same time, Rhianna Buchanan and Jack Field had an Aussie team entered and they had the idea that in 2024 Rhianna could step back from racing and I could take her spot.


Back on a petrol bike, Gardiner finished second at Roma, a technical track she thinks Australia should have more of

We had the first round about six weeks ago in Osaka, Japan. The results weren’t the best but it was so much fun! The bike itself is by EBMX. They are based in Australia but available all around the world, specialising in controllers and kits for electric bikes. There are several classes, and Honda and Stark are there with full-sized bikes.

I’m riding in the GP class, where the bikes are smaller. The suspension would be equivalent to maybe an 85cc bike but the electric power is incredible – at full power it would rip my arms off. It gets dialled back a bit to race but they literally plug in their computer and give me the exact power curve I want. I get instant or slower response, or more in the mid and less up top – the curve is simply customised to my style.

It was an interesting course in Osaka, made mostly out of timber. Both classes race together, so there were eight of us on the grid. The course was better suited to the Starks. I knew I could beat these girls but with the smaller bike it was pretty tough! We were literally in the centre of the 10th-biggest city in the world, racing around with no noise and no emissions – so the public was really interested.

We’re going to Norway next to race in the centre of Oslo, then in Switzerland we race at Crans-Montana, a massive ski resort in the Swiss Alps. We’ll race in Hyderabad in India – all these really cool places where motorcycle racing wouldn’t normally be allowed.

I still love my fuelled bikes but I like racing in an electric-only series. I’m not really a fan of racing electric and petrol bikes in the same event. As good as they are, I don’t think they can fully replace the feeling and sensations of riding a petrol bike.


Meanwhile, the AORC has kicked off in Australia with massive numbers at Roma for Round One. I finished second to my Yamaha JGR Ballards Off Road teammate Danielle McDonald. When Danielle joined the team our aspiration was to build up a junior girl and get her ready for senior competition. It looks like she will be a real threat this year, so I think we’ve achieved that goal!

The Roma course was very technical and I loved it. I think we need more of that type in Australia. It was a true enduro off-road track – lots of logs, creek beds, canals, uphill, downhill, sand, loam, rock… it was a big effort to make it work on such a varied track. You really had to think about where you put your wheels.

Until the next round I’m busy with coaching camps and at Penrith Mini Bike Club from 4-6pm on Wednesdays, getting kids more time on bikes!