There are two types of people in this world: those that talk about it and those those go out there and do it. Our girl Sabah Mukri is most definitely the latter. With a racing career spanning over just two seasons she has managed to gain the backing and respect from renowned motorcycle related outfits such as Vendetta Racing, Torque Block, Liqui Moly, EBC Breaks and become the first female to race in the history of the UAE Sportbike Championships.
As with many “overnight success” stories, Sabah has put years into her craft and been building up to this point for quite a while. She has never lost sight of her lifelong dream of donning full leathers and tearing down the straights and strafing apexes on a racetrack.
But the road to success is long and winding, several sharp bends have threatened this moto girl for the fall; slight complications with motorcycle licence issuance for women in the Emirate of Sharjah, an overseas education, no established local female racers before her to learn from and the sheer cost of keeping up with being race ready. Let her words explain it for you, “You know it’s an expensive passion to have. Getting sponsorship has been difficult at times, I’m willing to race, however, it comes with a hefty price tag. Plus, I’ve really had to brace myself for the challenge and get out of my comfort zone in terms of riding. It’s all working out well so far.”
Determined to overcome any obstacles, Sabah propelled herself forward by pushing through several track days at the Dubai Autodrome and Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island circuit on the back of getting her motorcycle licence in 2008. She made further breakthroughs after completing levels 1-4 of Keith Code’s California Superbike School in 2009 – 2010. After setting aside time for her studies through 2010 – 2011, Mukri came back to the UAE with the mission of earning a regular position on the grid. Her attitude is fierce and unrelenting “It’s all or nothing, you got to finish what you started” and she is right on her game plan! With encouragement from the Dubai motorcycle community Sabah went for her racing licence last year and had her first Championship meeting in February 2016.
Before settling on her racing weapon of choice, the Yamaha R6, Sabah went through several bike progressions over the course of her riding career. Surprisingly it was Mamma Mukri who was first to give her blessing in 2008 by ‘going halfers’ on Sabah’s first motorcycle, the Ninja 250. Some six months later came the upgrade, a Honda CBR600RR, on which she learned to really open the throttle to the lock. Mukri continued on her supersport exploration with the Triumph Daytona 675R over 2011 – 2013 prior to racing with Team Blue.
As a relative outsider to the racing scene, Sabah went through all the trials and tribulations that a rookie could be faced with. This has meant that she has gathered so much information she has practically become a walking Wikipedia for motorcycle racing! “As in any competitive sport there are people to help you and there are people to mislead you” she wants to set the record straight for other women entering the sport “..when you’re new, enthusiastic and willing to participate, there’s no need for a bad experience.” Sabah has set a firm ambition to establish a ground for females to enter the sport.
When asked if she has encountered any objection on adding that feminine touch to a largely macho sport she gave confidence saying “There is no sexism. Zero. The guys make me feel more special. They all want to ‘Miyagi’ me and share their advice just to make me a faster, better racer.”
Sabah is becoming an ambassador for lady riders and is continuing to break down the barriers to entry for women across the region with the MC – Women Motorcycle Track Riders in the UAE. “I started it 3 weeks ago and its crazy how many girl riders have come out of the woodwork,” said Mukri. “So many girls have got in touch, I’m so charged. We can really make something here.” She hopes that raising her profile will in turn heighten the awareness of women in motorsport and play a part somehow in lifting the licencing restrictions some women riders have been faced with.
Sabah is as passionate as ever to continue racing and has future ambitions of participating in the Sportbike Championships in both Qatar and Bahrain. She has already made a small dent in the history of the UAE, and showed us that it is possible – limits are set only in the mind of man. We females can do it too!
So here’s a holla to all the honeys out there to get your heels on wheels! If you are interested in taking part or supporting the ladies in the pit and on track, join the Facebook group Women Motorcycle Track Riders in the UAE.
For more updates on Sabah’s racing career checkout her Instagram account @team_pinkys_racing