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Kirsten Landman at Dakar Rally

Celebrating excellence – meet Kirsten Landman

Meet the woman who is changing the perception of women in motorsports.

March was international women’s month so we thought it would be opportune to profile one of our finest ladies in motorsport. Thirty-one-year-old Kirsten Landman is a role model for girls and women throughout South Africa, holding her own among male contestants at this year’s ‘Original by Motul’ class.

Kirsten Landman in action at the 2023 Dakar Rally. Photo credit: Foto P, photographer Rodrigo Barreto.

Original by Motul is known to be one of the toughest classes, because motorbike riders are required to maintain their own motorcycles. Kirsten admits that this was just as difficult as it sounds, and even considered dropping out several times – first, when she fell ill, then after a severe weather warning, and again after injuring her back. She says that she kept going throughout all of these challenges because of the overwhelming support and love she received on Facebook. She was also guided by the spirit of her mother, who died from a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer in 2022. 

Kirsten is one of only three women to have finished this gruelling class, and one of the 14 participants (out of the 27 riders who started the race) to complete it. Finishing the race gave her an enormous sense of peace and relief, knowing she had done her very best – a spirit of determination and perseverance she has been drawing on since she first started racing at the tender age of eight.

Although Kirsten hasn’t yet planned her next adventure, she is focusing on hard enduro events and South African races in particular. She’s also eager to take part in extreme racing in Europe, and may even consider another Dakar – although, this time, she would enter the Malle Moto. Until then, she’s living by her motto: “Take each race, one race at a time.”

Kirsten Landman makes South Africa proud at the 2023 Dakar Rally. Photo credit: Foto P, photographer Vinicius Branca.