Push it to the limit

Jasmin Kohl tests the boundaries of speed when racing her motorcycle. And that’s the way she likes it.

Jasmin Kohl loves speed. Most weekends from May to August you will find her ripping through laps at various BC race tracks on her Kawasaki Ninja 250. Her sleek sport bike delivers a kick; Kohl compares the feeling to riding a rocket, as she routinely hits 140 km/h on the straightaway. But that’s all part of the appeal. “I’m an adrenalin junkie,” she says. “I like to push the limits.”

 

A senior accountant with Grant Thornton LLP in Vancouver, 40-year-old Kohl began racing motorbikes only two years ago, but has been intrigued by cars and motorcycles since her childhood in Cranbrook, BC. Racing suits her keen competitive instincts. “The goal is to drive as fast as you can without crashing. You want to wring the bike’s neck,” she says. Kohl bought her first motorbike at age 25, a 600cc Yamaha R6 that cost $10,000. But after that metal beast was stolen she used the insurance money to defray the costs of her studies to become a CPA.

 

Kohl races with the Westwood Motorcycle Racing Club at Mission Raceway Park. The club offers numerous racing classes for various models, from vintage to superbikes. She competes in the 250 Production Class Gold Cup series, which features six 10-lap races each season, contested on a winding, 2.2-km paved course. The club has 125 members, only four of whom are women. Competing against both sexes, Kohl finished third in her class last year and in 2016. Her top lap speed in 2017 was 89.99 km/h.

 

Located 60 km east of Vancouver, the Mission track has nine turns. The keys to posting a fast time include picking an ideal line (the most efficient way to enter a corner), learning how to brake and leaning at the optimum angle. In addition to icy nerves, the sport requires cash for entry fees ranging from $100 to $125, $40 medical fees, plus gas and gear. “On some of the higher-powered bikes, racers will burn through a set of tires in one weekend,” she says. “That’s about $450 worth.” Add to that the $200 it costs to rent practice time at a track for a day.

 

Recently, Kohl has been getting pointers from her fiancé, a race instructor, and hopes to improve on her third-place status next season. “I love competing against the men. My goal is to give the two guys who are ahead of me a run for their money.”