Motocross: Teen takes on European Motocross Championships for Great Britain
Date published: 23 February 2018
Leonni Tighe takes on European Motocross Championships for Great Britain
Leonni Tighe, has been selected to represent Great Britain at one of the top European Ladies Motocross Championships.
The 17-year-old Sport student at Hopwood Hall College, will be one of the youngest competitors when in April, she travels to the first round of the IMBA Ladies Championship in Switzerland. The competition will feature 12 rounds across the year, each in a different European nation.
Leonni is currently protecting her ranking as the second best female rider in the UK.
Her achievement of representing the UK at an international level comes off the back of a string of accolades. Alongside being crowned the Girls UK National Motocross champion three times, Leonni also came third in the Auto-Dominator; a competition made up of the UK's best young male and female riders.
Key to her success is her family's support, both on and off the track, Leonni said: "Riding motocross started off as a fun hobby with my dad. Ever since I started riding at the age of five our mantra has always been to maintain the fun element.
"My dad does pretty much all my training with me. People don't realise how physical the sport is, you have to be at a level comparable with any track athlete. Leading up to events like the European Championship, my weeks are packed with strength conditioning and running sessions with my dad.
"On race-days, people always say I have the best support in the paddock. My mum, sister, aunties and uncles always come and watch. So much of what I have achieved is through what they have done for me. My sister helps prep my kit on race weekends, my mum makes sure everything is organised, I am very lucky to have such support from everybody."
Speaking to Leonni, it is clear the support from her family is very real and not just about winning/success. A rare commodity in the world of sport at youth level.
She added: "It has always been me and my dad, no trainers or managers, just us two. I am where I am because of him.
"My dad has always made sure I put as much effort into my education as I do my riding.
"I have enrolled on a sport course at Hopwood Hall College with a view to being a PE teacher should a sporting career not materialise.
"It is a very expensive sport to compete in, you need a lot of sponsor backing to be successful. In that respect, it is harder for women as there isn't anywhere near as much exposure as the men's side of the sport. For this to be a full time occupation, you need to consistently be in the top five senior riders for a number of seasons.
"My aim for now is to do as well as I can at the European championships, keep trying my best with my college studies and make sure we still have fun."