Australian motocross racing champion Anika Loftus set to go global

For her 16th birthday, Anika Loftus only wants one thing: to be able to race on the international circuit.

The Gold Coast Year 9 student has been riding and racing motorcycles since the age of seven and currently holds three of the four national titles for the Dirt Track and Track disciplines.

“I love the feeling of being at the gates and racing with other competitors,” says Anika.

“You have to stay focused and just twist the throttle.”

Speedway is an oval-shaped dirt track and riders complete four laps on bikes that reach up to 80 kilometers per hour without brakes or gears. Instead, riders “drift” around corners.

“In Speedway, there are few girls racing, so I mostly race against boys,” says Anika.

“But I treat it like any other competition. Once we put our helmets on, we’re all runners, we’re all competitors and we’re all fighting for the top step.

Anika Loftus is the 2022 Junior State of Queensland Female Motorcyclist of the Year in Motorcycling.(Provided: Colin Stratford/Action Sports Photography Australia)

“I try to defend myself against the boys and I run hard, I run fast and above all I have fun.”

Among the boys she often runs against is younger brother Jordy.

“The sibling rivalry comes into play when we run, but we enjoy him a lot, and he’s a good runner,” says Anika.

Despite her young age, she has already had to come back from a serious injury.

“When I was about 10, we were racing on the central coast [NSW] and I was taken by another rider and I broke my humerus,” she said.

“It hurt and it was scary. Coming back from that was tough. But you just have to have a positive mindset when you’re on the track and just have fun.”

rising star

Not only does Anika hold three Australian titles, she is also Motorcycling Queensland’s 2022 Junior Rider of the Year.

“I’ve been running for a long time and training really hard,” she says.

“My main goal is to go abroad and race in the women’s league, so I tried my best to get as many wins as possible.”

When she turns 16, Anika will start riding 500cc motorcycles.

“My friends think I’m crazy, but they also think I’m amazing at what I do,” she says.

“It’s really hard not being able to spend time with them at the weekend, but I’m committed to my sport and I love racing.”

Ashleigh Smith is a rider who knows the challenges Anika faces. Ashleigh started racing in 1996 and says it wasn’t until she was around 18 that she was able to contest her first women’s championship.

“The girls racing these days are incredibly talented and it’s really nice to see girls and women receiving their titles for their hard work,” Ashleigh said.

“For Anika to have three national titles is really special and she only narrowly missed the fourth one because she had a crash but still got on the podium. It affirms her dominance and she really opens up the way.

“It takes a lot to make a champion, including family support and dedication.”

About Frances R. Smith

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