Kayla Yaakov: The Road Racer

Photos by Preston Brown and MNNTHBX

Kayla Yaakov was only four years old when her dad bought her a Suzuki 50, and it wasn’t long before racing was in her blood. “I saw some of my dad’s old racing videos and magazine articles,” Kayla said, “so I thought I’d like to try racing. I started at five and have loved it ever since!”

Hailing from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Kayla was racing semi-pro and pro road races by the time she was 10.  Now, at 12 years old, she’s brought home an impressive 307 race wins at tracks all around the country. In 2017 she won 11 national championships as an amateur. She won seven national championships, including two amateur AMA Grand National Championships in 2018. In 2019 she won five national championships as an expert, including the AMA Lightweight Superbike Expert Grand National Championship.

What’s so astonishing about all this is that she’s not racing kids; she’s racing adults in the expert classes, and beats ’em regularly.  It’s not uncommon to see Yaakov on the top step of the podium flanked by two grown men – who she’s out-raced. “I’ve won a lot,” she told us, “and some of my most memorable wins to-date are my ASRA wins, along with my win last year at the WERA Grand National Finals racing as an expert.” 

While she’s already won more races than many racers do in a lifetime, she’s far from done. “My goals are to race pro here in the United States and, hopefully, get an opportunity to race in world events overseas.” 

Not only is Kayla an example of what women in this sport can do, she’s a reminder that age doesn’t matter if you have skill, dedication and passion for motorcycles. And she hopes that other young people start riding, too. “Any girl interested in riding or racing shouldn’t be hesitant,” she says. “I’m glad I started so young, and I hear a lot of people say they wish they’d started younger.” 

When Kayla’s not racing or training, which takes up a big chunk of her time, she’s a lot like other 12-year-old girls. Kayla loves playing her saxophone. She’s also into freestyle BMX and spends a lot of time at the skate park with her dad.  

Kayla’s been out-racing grown men since she was 10 years old, and it’s incredible to think about how fast she’ll be at 15, 18, 20 and beyond!

When we asked what women in motorcycling inspire her, Kayla said, “Shayna Texter and Caroline Olsen seem pretty cool.” But her dad went on to say, “She doesn’t really see the gender thing, which I think is what makes her so good.” And that attitude is exactly what we need in the future of motorcycling!

Kayla and her father would like to thank all their sponsors:

Special thanks to Kayla Yaakov’s sponsors:

  • Rage Graffix
  • Socksmith
  • ONEX USA
  • Sportbike Track Time
  • Sportbike Track Girl
  • Jennings GP
  • Magura
  • GHD Graphics
  • Spectro Performance Oils
  • SBS Brakes
  • Shoei Helmets North America
  • Cox Racingroup
  • Helite Moto USA
  • D&F Wraps
  • Jam-On Productions Motorcycle SwapMeet & Shows
  • Happy Ramblers Motorcycle Club
  • Gigi Montrose Moto Couture
  • Aerospace Welding Services
  • Roxy’s Kawasaki
  • N2 Track Days
  • Podium Motorsports Pirelli
  • MNNTHBX
  • SRC Embroidery
  • Yoshimura Research & Development of America, Inc.
  • Cad Cycles 
  • Cad Realty

You can follow Kayla at @kayla_yaakov on Instagram! — Joy Burgess

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