Jo ‘Tinkerbell 1710’ Taylor [Stevenson] – My Story

Until about seven years ago I had never ridden a motorcycle.
tinkerbell1 Well, I am now forty one years of age, and until about seven years ago I had never ridden a motorcycle. I did my CBT, followed a year later by the Direct Access route so that I could obtain a “big bike” license. My first bike was a 600 Bandit which I hated as it was too tall for me and I kept dropping it, so I moved on to a ZZR600, which I loved.  At the time, my boyfriend Dave (now fiancé), and I were planning a trip around Spain and the Pyrenees, and he suggested that he would buy a new Blackbird and I could ride his old one.  We covered 1800 miles in sixteen days and it was fantastic, although I was very cautious around the bends, particularly as I’d never carried as much luggage before! As for the racing side of things, in 2010, we went to watch the FIA European Finals at Santa Pod, then a couple of weeks later we did a “Run What You Brung” there, and I was hooked! In 2011, we stopped racing the Blackbird’s. I can’t quite remember what the problem was but the batteries kept going flat, so they were fixed up and sold on.  We then bought a stock Hayabusa and joined Straightliners, whereupon I had my first taste of real speed over the half mile at Elvington (nr York). Dave soon became fed up with sharing a bike and wanted to go faster than me (he could beat me on the quarter mile but not over the half mile!), so we bought a Big CC turbo’d Hayabusa.  We continued doing the runs and took part in a couple of “Top Speed Tuesday’s” and even attended a “Wheelie Weekend”, and then the bikes went for a winter tune at John Warrington Motorcycles in Malton.
I finally managed to hit 201.88mph followed by 205.97
After the winter lay-off, we did the first “Top Speed Tuesday” in March 2012, but I was still struggling to get my “stock’ish” Busa above 190mph, so by the time the National Record Meeting in May had come around, Dave encouraged me to run the turbo.  I desperately wanted to get past 200mph.  After a couple of steady runs with the turbo running around 5lbs boost, I finally managed to hit 201.88mph, followed by 205.97mph over a mile. I was elated!
All I remember was bouncing around the pits and everyone was so happy for me
The following day, I ran the bike at 14lbs boost and again after a steady run or two, I wound the bike on and arrived back in the pits to a round of applause, I’d reached 218mph!  With clapping ringing in my ears, the final  run of the day loomed and I was determined to go for it and achieved a mile speed of 224.14mph to become the UK’s and Europe’s fastest woman on a standing mile.  All I remember was bouncing around the pits and everyone was so happy for me. tinkerbell2For a while after that, I went back to riding my stock’ish Busa on the quarter mile with Straightliners and managed to get my previous year’s personal best of 10.86 seconds with a 60ft time of 2.5 seconds down to 1.9 and an ET of 10.13, which I am thrilled about too.  On Top Speed runs, my bike didn’t feel like fun anymore, but after a couple of runs on the turbo again, my adrenalin started pumping. The thrill of the acceleration when the turbo kicks in was amazing, but without serious money being spent on it, our Hayabusa wouldn’t go any faster and by this time I had a dream of becoming the world’s fastest woman on a standing mile!  That record had been held for a number of years by Canadian Trillium Muir with a speed of 241.84mph. After an intro by a mutual friend, Barry Miller, I met Jarrod ‘Jack’ Frost from Holeshot Racing in Ireland at the last “Top Speed Tuesday” of the season. Dave and I raced our bike in the morning, reaching 218mph, and then Jack enquired if I’d like to have a ride on his 500bhp turbo Hayabusa – I jumped at the chance!  My first pass was clocked at 226.3mph (another personal best), then things got even better. I added almost another 10mph with a 236.1mph pass.  I felt that I was getting close to the record when my 3rd attempt hit 239.8mph.
As I was handed the ticket that said 243.5mph I was shaking, laughing and crying all at once
By now it was getting very late in the day and with only one more run I was determined to go for it.  I stared up the runway ahead then I took off, all I could hear was the sound of the engine and the wind rushing past me, everything else was a blur.  How did I do? I rolled off the throttle, sitting up and braking slowly, I turned the corner at the bottom of the runway full of anticipation.  When I got back to the pits, I was looking for signs from anyone to see if I’d done it, and the thumbs were up!  As I was handed the ticket that said 243.5mph I was shaking, laughing and crying all at once. It was an amazing day that I shall never forget but that was back in 2012 tinkerbell3I held the record for until Oct 2012 when it was broken by Jennifer Robertson on a Turbo’d Hayabusa at the Texas Mile in the U.S but at least I had held the record…..a world record what an achievement!! Here is a sport where men & women can compete in on an equal footing & to be honest there are not many of those that I can think of. I continued to ride for Holeshot alongside Jack Frost in 2013 with a personal best of 243mph so didn't quite get the record back but all valuable experience & understanding a bike with over 500 + bhp However this year, 2014, we are aiming for a 245mph followed by hopefully a 250mph later in the season. It has to be said though that without the support of Dave of course, Straightliner’s, Jarrod ‘Jack’ Frost who lent me (& continues to do so) his incredible bike, and the many others (competitors & supporters alike) who have spurred me on, I couldn’t have done it without you !!     Just to top 2013 I was made Rotherham Ambassador for my contribution to raising the reputation of Rotherham and I also promoted the BikeSafe Show which is quite a journey for someone who had not even ridden a bike until seven years ago.
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Anything is possible for those willing to try
So watch this space & feel free to come & support everyone who attends as this is my story & I guarantee there are others with their tales to tell. Check out… http://www.straightliners.co.uk/ for all the dates & up & coming events for 2014 come on down you might just get hooked. Anything is possible for those willing to try…. tinkerbell-youtube   tinkerbell10 tinkerbell20