By Colin MacGillivray
HIDDEN Valley motorcyclist Grace Poutch is making her mark on the international stage.
Poutch is one of two Australians currently in Italy competing in the Women’s European Cup – a competition in its first year that has attracted some of the top female riders in the world.
Poutch crashed in the first round of the cup but has steadily improved, placing 13th in the second round at Misano and ninth in the third round at Imola last month.
The final round of the competition will be at Campagnano di Roma, north of Rome, on October 17 and 18.
Poutch said she was thrilled with her performances so far, claiming the competition had inspired her to push her limits.
“I’ve been working on my fitness like a psycho and thus far I’ve shed 15 kilograms,” she said.
“Hopefully by the last round I’ll be able to contend with those jockeys – as I call them – at the front of the pack.
“The standard over here is next level – very professional and very fast.
“They have been on bikes since they were two years old here, so it’s no wonder the motorbike is like an extension of the individual.”
Poutch, who was born in Ireland and moved to Australia as an adult, said her results in Europe had opened up opportunities for her to continue her racing career.
In between rounds of competition she has travelled to northern Italy and Austria, training at Austraia motorcycle manufacturer KTM’s factory on an E-Cross motocross bike.
She said she had been in discussions with a professional European team about returning for a full season of racing next year.
“I have met some amazing people of the sport and I will be going on to Germany from Austria to attend the IDM, which is the German version of the Italian CIV,” she said.
“There is a Dutch team racing at the event and they want to meet me to discuss next years’ plans.
“[I would potentially] be joining them as a rider for the full race season next year in the IDM, which is another pathway to the world championship.
“I also got offers to run with the same team and a Kawasaki team in the 2021 [Women’s European Cup], so I have a lot to think about and work out which is the best option for me.”
Poutch said she would come home to Australia to think over her decision after the final round of the cup this month. She has been in Europe since July.
People can follow updates on Poutch’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/gracesheen33