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[Image: maria3rdplace.jpg]
Senior Classic TT podium finishers. Image by Andrea Hawley Photography.

Maria Costello MBE rewrote the history books as she enjoyed the most successful race meeting of her career at the Isle of Man Classic TT.

The Northamptonshire racer stormed to a stunning third place in the Bennetts Senior TT to become the highest-placed solo female racer in the history of the Classic TT. Following it up with a brilliant Classic 250 class win in the Okells Brewery Junior Classic TT despite losing four minutes at the start of the 150-mile race when the Bob Jackson Suzuki T20 stalled on the start line.

After a successful practice week, Maria, riding the beautifully prepared Paton for Beugger Racing from Switzerland, fought off stiff competition from more than 65 riders to claim her place on the podium alongside winner, 23-times TT winner John McGuinness and Dean Harrison in second, in the Bennetts Senior Classic TT.

A superb start saw Maria chasing down Michael Rutter, his ailing machine forcing him to retire and Maria settled into third place behind a duelling McGuinness and Harrison.

Recording lap times of more than 107mph on laps one and two, she recorded a final lap of 108.686mph to finish a comfortable 44 seconds ahead of fourth-placed Jamie Coward on a Manx Norton.

After spraying champagne on the iconic TT podium with McGuinness and Harrison, an ecstatic Costello said: 

“This is so, so special. After 20 years racing around the wonderful TT course this is my proudest moment. To spray champagne on the podium alongside a legend like John McGuiness makes all the hard work and sacrifice worth it. I can't stop smiling.”

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Senior Classic TT podium antics with 23-times TT winner John McGuinness

“Peter and Barbara Beugger have been so generous allowing me to race their beautiful Paton for the past few years, but this year we were invited to take the bike to the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed in Australia, which gave us valuable track time. That helped put us on the front foot for the Classic TT. I can’t thank Peter and Barbara enough, they drive all the way from Switzerland to make this possible, I’m so glad I can repay them with this amazing result. Thanks also to Avon tyres, they worked perfectly as did the bike. I’m also good physically and need to thank CrossFit East Northants, Wollaston Therapy Centre and the brilliant Cath & Chloe from Rex Physio who provide an incredible service here in the paddock for the racers, for getting me in great shape to tackle this race.”

[Image: mariapassingraven.jpg]
Maria making history on the Beugger Racing Paton. By Baylon McCaughey

[Image: mariaonweesuzuki.jpg]
Maria overcame a 4 minute deficit to take the Classic 250 TT class win. By Baylon McCaughey

Costello overcame adversity for further stunning success as she rode the Bob Jackson Racing Suzuki T20 to take the 250 class win in the Junior Classic TT. Her bike stalled as she was about to leave the line, costing her over four minutes as tried to push start it, eventually resorting to pushing it the full length of the pit lane where, with help from her team, the bike fired.

With adrenaline pumping, Costello headed down Bray Hill in a determined mood and picked off her rivals around the Mountain Course to emerge victorious an hour and 40 minutes later while clocking 122.5mph at the speed trap at Sulby straight – the fastest in the class by 0.5mph and only 0.4mph slower than the fastest 350cc bike in the race.

“I’m so thrilled for Bob Jackson and his team and can’t thank them enough,” said Costello. “‘Betty Boo’ has got me close on a couple of occasions, finishing third after pushing the bike in being the nearest, but we’ve finally done it, only this time I did the pushing at the start!

“This Classic TT has been an absolute career highlight and it will be hard to top it, but it won’t stop me trying next year!”

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the response I’ve received especially from women who have been inspired, it would be great if this went on to encourage more women to race or even take up motorcycling, I know it’s the best thing I ever did.

Special thanks also to the organisers, clerk of the course & his team, the marshals, Kev, Stuart, Liam, and those that did pit boards for me. To my Classic TT sponsors; IoM TT Breaks, Avon Tyres, NGK Spark plugs, Arai Helmets, ProGrip, CPL Print Ltd, Rex Physio, Gear leathers, Rock Oil, Daytona Boots, Knox, Premier Bodyworks, Towergate Insurance, Hello Market, Wiz knee sliders, Stomp grip & Skins.”

For more details of Maria’s racing and other activities, including upcoming events, her women only track days and opportunities to support her racing efforts, please visit her website here.

If you are female and want to be part of Maria's 'Woman on a Motorcycle' Facebook group you can join here.

2016 Maria Costello Motorsport Sponsors: The European Shoe Machinery Company Ltd, NGK Spark Plugs,

BMW Motorrad UK, Wollaston BMW, Kawasaki UK Ltd, Metzeler, Nova Racing, Jap4Performance, Rock Oil, CPL Print Ltd, Premier Bodyworks, Knox, HEL Performance, EBC Brakes, Arai Helmets, Gear Leathers, Wilbers, CompLog Performance, GBRacing, Racebikebitz, Samco hoses, Daytona Boots, Pipercross, APC Wet Paint Ltd, Daytona Boots, Christian Baker, DnG, Trilogy Gyms, Bespoke Injury Management, Progrips, Promach, The Joseph’s Experience, Towergate Insurance, Hello Market, Race Print Artwork & Design, Isle of Man TT Breaks, Ymark Paintwork, Sparkes Management Support, CHI Fire Solutions Ltd, Wiz knee sliders, Vmtek Suspension, Hol-Taj, Signs2Wraps, Radicool, Pro-bolt, SB Tuning, Stomp Grip & SKINS.
01-09-2016, 11:50 AM
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