Natasha Maynard: Teenage motorcross racer learns to ride despite cancer battle

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The fact she is 17 has not put her off the sport Teenage motorcross racer Natasha Maynard has demonstrated her resilience by winning her final World Championship event….

Natasha Maynard: Teenage motorcross racer learns to ride despite cancer battle

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The fact she is 17 has not put her off the sport

Teenage motorcross racer Natasha Maynard has demonstrated her resilience by winning her final World Championship event.

The 17-year-old is four wins shy of becoming a world champion.

The girl from South Shields was diagnosed with testicular cancer when she was just four-years-old and previously had major surgery in 2015 to remove her left testicle.

She is also twice a winner in the under-18 and under-20 categories.

She has also cycled to the World Championships in the Ultralite TT races on several occasions – half-miles in one category and half-kilometres in another – along with winning in cross-country races.

Maynard started riding at the age of 12 with her first bike breaking in the years after.

“[I thought] ‘That might not be as cool as going riding as a kid’ and I bought my first mountain bike, which I loved,” she told BBC Radio Manchester.

“I couldn’t sit on it and I had a bit of a wobble and it broke. I knew right away when I went off the ride that I wanted to ride a different bike. I found a BMX and was fast from then on.”

Image copyright PA Image caption Natasha Maynard qualified at Nottingham’s Skyworks circuit

Image copyright PA Image caption Natasha Maynard also rides mountain bikes

From the bottom of every mountain bike to the top of the highest mountain

Her bike of choice, the Ninja Santa Active, is a top-notch machine from MV Agusta and runs from £11,750 to over £30,000 depending on modifications.

She used it in her three World Championships to date, finishing third in the 2017 and second in 2018.

Her 2015 World Championship victory sparked a world debate about the number of girls and women in motorcross racing.

There were two female competitors, Ariana Bonneau of Australia and Germany’s Julia Beckenhof, in the 2018 World Championship, which Maynard also took part in.

It is the first time in the sport’s 55-year history that more than one woman has competed in a major championship.

When a male-dominated sport tries to attract women

“I don’t think it’s because it’s female motorsport,” said Maynard.

“You have men who do it and who do well. They’ve been there and they’ve enjoyed it.”

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Natasha Maynard has a high number of female fans

Image copyright BBC Image caption Natasha Maynard won her second 2019 world title in December

Maynard is currently dating the WSHX team manager, Ryan Hack, who has been in her corner throughout the season

“I’ve not known a race where Natasha has not done well,” said Hack.

“She’s been under pressure many times throughout the season.

“I believe there’s so much more to come. She’s young and has a lot of good racing left in her.”

Family support was critical to the sport for her, Maynard explained.

“It’s had huge support from all my family, friends and people from far and wide,” she said.

“I’ve had friends who’ve supported me to do it, whether it’s watching on TV or going down to watch on a Saturday when I race.

“They’ve been an incredible support and through that support has grown a whole new fan base and a fanbase.

“That’s how I came to get my set of goals – because people support me.”

You can hear Natasha Maynard’s BBC Radio Manchester interview on Wednesday, December 5 at 19:00 GMT.

Leave a Comment