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Jun 24, 2002

An Interview With World Sidecar Championship Passenger Dawna Holloway

A press release from the World Superside Championship series:<BR><BR>Talking with the first female American passenger<BR><BR>Dawna Holloway is an American dreamer, but unlike the rest of us, her dreams of racing in the Superside world championship have come to fruition through a lot of hard work and her gutsy determination.<BR><BR>She joined Roger Lovelock and the Diet Get Fit team at Misano and realised another chapter in the story that began with her watching club racing in the United States.<BR><BR>After a turbulent first day in world championship racing, Superside's Rob Mader interviewed Dawna Holloway on the top step of the podium at Misano.<BR><BR>Althought never really interested in racing herself, Dawna would head along to motorcycle race meetings to support her solo racing friends. But her first experience with sidecars in America would be a memorable one.<BR><BR>"It was probably my third or fourth race, the sidecars made a special trip down for a fundraiser - It was the first time I'd ever heard of them and the first time they came around the corner I started laughing, like, what the hell are these?" she laughed.<BR><BR>"I was just kind of like in awe of what these things were. I had ridden streetbikes but I didn't have any interest in racing and people would say ‘you should race' because they'd seen me at the track. The second time out we rode to the back of the track and were watching from behind and without realizing, I found myself leaning from side to side. This guy walks up to me and says ‘see that sidecar over there, I think that's a woman' and I said ‘no it's not, it's me next year'. And I had no idea where that had come from..."<BR><BR>Changed from this moment, Dawna started racing in the US and started dreaming of more.<BR><BR>The next step on the path came at the Superside testing session at the start of the 2002 season at the Cartagena circuit in Spain.<BR><BR>"I came over to try and support Rick (Murray) and John (Scott) in their attempt for the first American team, but of course in the back of my mind I had hopes that perhaps an opportunity would come up for me to also passenger."<BR><BR>That opportunity came at the end of the second day of testing, with an invite for a couple of laps with the affable Team Sand Seb 72 driver, Sebastien Delannoy.<BR><BR>"I had done a few laps with one of the French teams and the driver, Sebastien was really smooth and the outfit felt perfect. And then I asked Abbott to do a few laps. Actually it was pretty spontaneous, but in retrospect it was the greatest thing that I could have done because he's pretty quick and he could say whether or not I was capable of doing it."<BR><BR>Abbott was indeed quick, lapping within three or four seconds of his fastest test time with the American on the side!<BR><BR>"It actually just inspired me more to keep coming. I had such a great time doing those few laps with Abbott I that I thought that I have to come back for the next one. So rather than just helping for that practice, I booked another flight on the way home."<BR><BR>The next world championship experience for Dawna was at the season opener at Valencia.<BR><BR>"That's when I met Andy Dickinson (Diet Get Fit team manager), and just started talking to him. He thought he could just put the word out and so I just communicated back and forth with him, talking about different ideas. He runs Diet Get Fit so he talked to me about fitness and getting in shape - I was kinda winded when I went out with Abbott. So he talked to me about different fitness things and I've been working on that."<BR><BR>Armed with some more information about training and diet, Dawna set about increasing her fitness while communicating back with Europe in the search for a team and the elusive ride.<BR><BR>The breakthrough came some months later with the Diet Get Fit team inviting Dawna back to Europe for the Misano round, with the possibility of signing for the rest of the season.<BR><BR>"They were having some suspension problems and they wanted to see if a different weight would have an effect, so they decided to give me a try", she said.<BR><BR>From then on came the push to get everything organised in time after the round at Lausitz. Dawna had to organise the correct licence, flights, accommodation and make all of the briefings required by the FIM for a rookie on the world stage.<BR><BR>Then came the first session in the Misano heat.<BR><BR>The film crew from Scallywag Pictures captured every moment as Dawna donned her helmet and she and Roger set off.<BR><BR>"I talked about it with Roger, and I did a few laps on a pit bike with Andy Peach. When we went out for the first practice, Roger said ‘just do what comes naturally and we'll talk about where to work from there', so that's what we did. I was afraid that the major concerns were going to be the heat, but we were just ironing out the kinks in the handholds, and we worked a little bit on that in the break.<BR><BR>"Roger is a great guy. I couldn't ask for a better driver to have. He's very calm and he's got a kind look in his eye. He's very calm and cool and his whole team are very encouraging and really willing. If I ask for a different handhold or anything they just take care of it. They're actually not even letting me help in the pits, they just want me to take it easy, so I'm getting a little spoilt. There's a really good dynamic between them and they are very welcoming - It's great."<BR><BR>Her face lit up when asked about the comparison between the competition in the world championship compares with the competition in America?<BR><BR>"Wow! It's like, light years apart. The speeds that we are going at here… I haven't ever been on the number one team in the US, so I haven't had that experience, but this seems like a whole different world. Nobody goes this quick in the states!" she exclaimed.<BR><BR>Unfortunately, the second session didn't go entirely to plan for the Diet Get Fit team… The final chicane (Variante del Parco) that leads onto the start finish straight requires the passenger to move from over the rear wheel of the machine across and out for the left as the machine squirms and slides under full acceleration on the exit.<BR><BR>After steadily increasing their lap times, Dawna was flung from the machine during this transition, but walked off of the track relatively unscathed.<BR><BR>"It's the quickest transition on the circuit, and what I believe happened was that when I was pushing out for the left, my foot got caught. In any case, I was not making that transition as quickly as I needed to be. Roger still feels like he wants to keep going. I guess they feel that the suspension is feeling better", she recalled, looking to her wrist, recently treated by the Clinica Mobile.<BR><BR>Dawna was back ready to go in final qualifying on Saturday, which saw them end up 17th as the lap times tumbled. But the potential was demonstrated in through the ideal times (the combination of the fastest time for each split), which had them up as far as 13th.<BR><BR>Ironically, the ever-reliable Suzuki let them down on lap seven of the race, leaving Roger and Dawna to consider what might have been.<BR><BR>"It felt really good despite the heat and I was really enjoying myself until the engine gave up," said Superside's only American passenger.<BR><BR>As they were leaving pit lane, the Scallywag Pitcures crew pulled Dawna in for another interview with compatriot, Ben Bostrom.<BR><BR>"It was sweet of Ben to come out and say hello, and I wished him luck for the race."<BR><BR>Dawna will now return to the US to prepare for the next round at Brands Hatch, but rest assured that all of the Diet Get Fit team will be working hard in the lead up to the European round.<BR><BR>So take a moment to think about your goals and dreams as we return to the end of the interview on Friday night for Dawna's last words.<BR><BR>"I don't think we know the future, but sitting on the podium must be a good omen!" smiled the determined American as we watched the sun go down over the mountains from the number one spot at Misano.<BR>