In January 2020, the inaugural Women’s European Cup was announced at Motor Bike Expo. Even though the season’s start was delayed from April to July due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had the first ever Women’s European Cup champion in September – Beatriz Neila – at the penultimate round of the season.
Beatriz was born in 2002 in Madrid, Spain. She started racing when she was eight years old in 2011. Earlier in her career, Beatriz competed in regional championships in Spain, and in 2017, she stepped up to ‘Road to MotoGP’ programs, namely European Talent Cup and Red Bull Rookies Cup. In 2018, Beatriz was competing in SSP300 Spanish Championship. In 2019, she was competing in the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship, and became one of the six riders chosen for Yamaha bLU cRU Project, to attend the 7th edition VR46 Master Camp. In 2020, Beatriz originally planned to continue her campaign in WSSP300 with support from Yamaha bLU cRU Project. However, in January, she announced that due to lack from financial fundings, she will not be able to compete in WSSP300 in the 2020 season. During the delay of Women’s European Cup, Beatriz joined the grid of the championship and completely dominated the first season by winning four out of five rounds and eventually securing the championship. We had the opportunity to have a Q&A with Beatriz, let’s see what she has to say about her Women’s European Cup season and her career.
Paddock Sorority (PS): When you couldn’t get enough funding for SSP300 season in the world championship, what other options did you have?
Beatriz Neila (BN): In 2019 I participated in WorldSSP300, but in 2020, I had to leave because I couldn’t afford the high budget. I had the opportunity to race in the Spanish Championship, but finally I participated in the Europeans Women’s cup.
PS: Has there been other difficult moments in your career? How did you get over it to keep moving forward as a rider?
BN: In my sport career, I have been through a lot of hard times. For example, in 2017, I had a big crash and I broke so many bones in my body. But I have always been positive and I never gave up on my goals.
PS: How did you find out about Women’s European Cup? What were the considerations in joining the series?
BN: I found out the Women’s Europeans Cup when they, at the beginning of 2020, announced that they were making a new championship and it was only for women. In May, together with my family, I took the decision that I would participate in it, and I’m so glad to have taken that decision. My family and I thought that participating on a European women’s championship could be a big opportunity for me and for my future.
PS: Going back to the beginning of your career, when and why did you decide you wanted a professional career?
BN: I started riding when I was eight. My father got a motorbike for my little brother. I saw it, and I always wanted to ride on it more than playing with other toys. I decided to compete professionally through competing my first races.
PS: From whom did you learn the most about riding and racing?
BN: I started to learn riding in a motorbike academy, but the one who gave me the best advices was my father.
PS: What are your biggest takeaway through Red Bull Rookies Cup and European Talent Cup? What are the important moments in that season for you?
BN: It was an incredible year to participate in the Red Bull Rockies Cup and I gave my best despite of my critical injuries. I learned a lot from both championships and one of my best memories was in Motorland, Aragon when I returned to the circuit after my recovery from the accident. I had a really good result in that race.
PS: Was there ever a plan to go into Moto3 had the Rookies Cup season gone well without the injuries?
BN: Moto 3 is a dream for me, but the budget is really high and I can’t afford it. However, I still wish one day I could be there. Without the injuries during the Red Bull Rockies Cup season, I could have enjoyed more the season, and I probably could have achieved better results.
PS: You were the first female rider to participate in VR46 Master Camp, what are some of the important things learned through those few days?
BN: I will always be thankful to the VR46 Academy and Valentino himself, because they gave me a big opportunity to learn so many things and take so many advices from him. I enjoyed so much the place.
PS: You are currently a college student in addition to your racing career. Why did you decide to study law? Tell us about your schedule/calendar and how you balance school and training/racing?
BN: I decided to study law because I always have been interested in it and I used to watch a lot of legal TV shows. This year, I had the opportunity to go study what I like at an university (ISDE Law School) that gives me the opportunity to balance my schedules. What I normally do is to go to my classes in the morning, and train at the gym or with the bike in the afternoon. After the training I continue to study and do my assignments.
PS: What’s the plan for the 2021 season besides Women’s European Cup?
BN: This year, I want to try defending my Women’s European Cup title and also pass all of my courses at the university.
This Saturday (January 30, 2021), Beatriz will be receiving her Women’s European Cup prize at the 2020 Championship Award Ceremony. The new season will kick off at Mugello in April with seven rounds on the calendar, including two rounds at Rijeka. We wish Beatriz could enjoy the night, and have a great school year and racing season ahead of her.