West Beach superbike rider Zanté Otto is fast becoming a household name in a sport that is dominated by men.
The 21-year-old survived a horrific crash at Killarney International Raceway in April that knocked her unconscious and left her with a broken collarbone.
Her front wheel locked in turn four during round three of the Power Series and the bike flipped.
She had to have a plate inserted to fix her collarbone but only two weeks after having the plate removed she was back in the saddle for this month’s Women’s Day themed Power Series at Killarney.
She finished third in her first race after the accident. Not many are able to show such tenacity and the will to keep going when the scars of the injury are still clearly visible.
But that speaks to the bravery of the young rider who on more than one occasion has left the men eating dust on the track.
Otto rides for Otto racing team and like many other riders, comes from a family which is deeply rooted in motorsport.
Her father, Riaan Otto introduced her to the sport at a young age, having been a motorcyclist himself. Her 16-year-old brother, Ricardo, is a superbike racer who is also looking to show his own dominance in the sport.
She started competing in 2014 in the short circuit and finished second in the national championships in the 300cc last year, becoming the first woman to come second in a national race.
Otto considers this to be the highlight of her career so far, but knows she is capable of pushing her bike even faster.
Like a true biker, she says she feels a sense of fun and freedom when she is racing on two wheels.
“I started racing cars when I was in Port Elizabeth and I did my first car race last month but I was like no, this is nothing compared to the bikes. It’s something that is difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t ride a bike.
“My journey in motorcycling has really been interesting because most of the time girls don’t stand a chance against boys so we have to work hard in aspects where boys don’t really need to.
“They naturally have more strength, because you have to break late and break hard, so for girls it’s difficult, you have to jam a lot to be able to be half as strong as the boys. In many of these cases girls tend to be more scared of the late braking to pass someone, so that is the first thing I had to learn; to be able to pass them and ride close to them.”
Otto says she gets lots of messages from girls who are showing interest in the sport.
Coming third in the Women’s Day themed Power Series was not good enough for her.
Even though she beat half the boys who took to the field, two still passed the chequered flag before her.
“I want to be the fastest, I want to be the best in this sport,” she said.