Italian version here.
In the last few years we have seen a remarkable increase in the number of female riders competing alongside men at national or international level. Moreover, many of them have proven that they can not only score points or top-10 results, but even get to the podium or win. Apart from Ana Carrasco, we have examples like Yvonne Cerpa, Roberta Ponziani, Beatriz Neila and Kayla Yaakov, plus many others.
However, being able to win a race, score another podium and finish sixth in the championship straight after a three-year break is something special. And, well, that’s what Sarah Göpfert did this year in German/Dutch Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Cup.
The rider from Saxony aimed at first for point finishes, but then she ended up providing one of the most captivating stories we saw in 2021, besides focusing on her studies in Value Chain Management and writing for famous online magazine Speedweek.
Palmen in Motorradsport interviewed Sarah to talk about her astonishing 2021 campaign, and also to know more about her in general.
Sarah, an incredible and important season has come to an end for you. How do you feel about it?
Overall I’m pretty satisfied about how my season went considering I had three years without riding a motorcycle before. Unfortunately in Spielberg I was a bit unlucky, because in the second race I collided with another rider and went down, which cost me valuable championship points, but in the end I must be happy to finish sixth and as third best German rider.
In Schleiz, your third race since your return finished with an amazing victory. Could you tell more about that race? How did you feel right after crossing the finish line?
Honestly at first I didn´t realize that I crossed the line in first place. I knew that I was on the podium, for which I was really happy but when they told me that I won I barely could believe it and it felt like in a movie scene – just amazing. The race itself was great fun, we were battling and overtaking each other in every corner, so it’s one of my best memories of the season.
You recently had the chance to attend the bLU cRU Masterclass in Spain. How important was that experience for you?
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m so grateful to Yamaha Germany that they gave me this chance to be with the best R3 riders in Europe. As a rider I could develop my skills in these two days a lot, because we had Niccolò Canepa, Andrea Locatelli and Sandro Cortese as riding coaches and they gave us valuable tips. I also got connected to the European Yamaha family, which was also important regarding next year.
Let’s talk now about your career so far. Could you describe your first seasons?
I started racing when I was 8 years old, back in 2006, on a pocket bike. I raced on pocket bikes until 2012 and then I switched to minibikes, but until 2015 it was just real hobby to me, without any big competition. In 2016 and 2017 I competed in the ADAC Junior Cup, which was a bit more professional and everyone was on the same bike, so there was great competition. This first “phase” of my racing path was just more fun and I didn’t really have the ambition to go forward, not at least because of the lack of money.
After 2017 you took a three-year break from racing. Could you please explain the reasons behind such pause?
I had to concentrate on my Bachelor degree and additionally I wanted to see a life beyond the race track to develop as a person. But soon I recognised that for me the only way to feel really alive is being on the racetrack and to race.
What made you decide to return this year? And how did you change in comparison with 2017?
I often thought about coming back to racing because it was the only thing that made me REALLY happy. I think compared to 2017 I have grown so much as a rider and my riding skills have developed a lot, even without riding a motorcycle in these 3 years. In my approach to racing I became more mature and I think that`s the key point why I was so strong this season. I was more durable mentally, which helped to fight against the other guys.
Besides racing, you continue studying and you also write for Speedweek. Could you tell more about your experience with them so far and what you normally write about?
For me, writing for Speedweek.com ist a great opportunity to combine my passion for writing with the sport I love. Usually I write about MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 but once in a time I also write about my races or IDM.
Studies, racing, writing articles…For sure, you rarely get bored! What about your spare time?
That´s true! But when I got free time I train a lot (Fitness, Running, Cycling) to be fit on the bike. Furthermore, I do usual things like meeting friends or going on a hike in the mountains. Also I really enjoy go-karting…I’m nearly better on four wheels than on two (laughs, e.d.), I also love the beach and the sea, but due to Covid19 I havent been there for a long time.
In conclusion, if you could choose among racing, journalism or a career having to do with your studies, what would you pick?
You have to be realistic. I´m 24 years old now and so for a racing career I’m already much too old, but I hope to enjoy riding as long as possible and to come as far as possible. As a career perspective for me it´s really important to stay in the paddock, no matter whether as a journalist or in the marketing/management direction which would suit to my studies.
Palmen in Motorradsport is thankful to Sarah for her availability and wishes her the best for the future steps of her career, both in and outside motorcycle racing.