SCUGOG: Local Scugog resident, Kathleen Coburn, was recently one of 150 women honoured with a spot on Next Step Quilt Design’s 150 Canadian Women quilt.
Mrs. Coburn was inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame, in 2011. She was the first woman to win a RACE series final and was also the first woman to earn points in the Camel Pro series, for the American Motorcyclist Association national championship. She and friend Toni Sharpless were also the first women to qualify for the Daytona 200. Toni Sharpless was also honoured with a place on the quilt.
“I was pretty humbled. There’s a lot of really important women in Canada that have pioneered in their professions or sports, so to be included amongst 150 of them, I was really honoured,” Mrs. Coburn told The Standard.
However, despite all she has accomplished, Mrs. Coburn said, when she first got into motorcycle racing, she didn’t plan on being a representative on the motorcycle racing stage for women.
“The joy of motorcycle racing is, there’s no male or female boundaries. It’s like the fastest person in front of you, whether they be a male, a female or a chimpanzee, racing is just a pure sport to be faster than the person in front of you,” she said.
“When I started racing, I had no idea that there were no women participating.”
Mrs. Coburn started racing in 1983, and continually raced until 1990. She later married Jonathan Head and started up a company known as Bee Property Maintenance.
“During the day, I can be found climbing around people’s gardens,” Mrs. Coburn said with a laugh. “I [set up the business] purposely because I wanted to have a family. When I was racing, I lived all over the world, to follow a world championship circuit, and I knew I wanted to have a family and the picket fence, and I’m really lucky that I’ve been all over the world.”
Kathleen has two daughters, Melissa and Emily. She talked about what she has hoped to teach them.
“To say yes to every opportunity in life. To be able to really stick your neck out and get out of your comfort zone, in order to either achieve greatness or to experience so many things the world has to offer,” she said.
Mrs. Coburn is going to be racing at a special festival in August, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. “We’re going back to race, to see what it’s like,” she said.