Nerves and emotions were high as the women of Royal Enfield’s groundbreaking Build. Train. Race. (BTR) Road Racing program took to the track at Virginia International Raceway, Sunday, May 22, for the first round of the 2022 season. For the first time, the full grid, each aboard a Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 of their own unique build, took the green lights at the MotoAmerica North American Road Race Championship. Through the intense Virginia heat and humidity, and the most competitive grid BTR has ever seen, it was 30-year-old Kayleigh Buyck of Sodus, New York who emerged victorious.
Buyck not only won the final race, but topped the charts in both practice and qualifying sessions. On paper it was a flawless performance, but was anything but a runaway victory for Buyck, who also had her share of drama when she crashed in Q2. Cora Tennyson passed Buyck for the lead in the early laps of Sunday’s main race, only to end her efforts with a spectacular high-side. From there, Buyck resumed the lead, with Crystal Martinez relentless in her pursuit. Martinez finished less than a second behind at the checkered flag. Not far off was Chloe Peterson, who rounded out the overall podium.
“I still haven’t found the words to describe the thousands of feelings from our first BTR race,” said Buyck. “Being able to hold pole position all weekend even after a bad crash, and then to pull a win is a feeling I cannot describe. Being on this team, racing with 14 other amazing women who empower each other is a dream come true. We are all each others’ biggest fans and having Breeann Poland, Melissa Paris and Anne Roberts there to make this all a possibility is something I will forever be grateful for!”
Even Tennyson, who didn’t get to run the full distance, and also incurred a jump-start penalty, had some good takeaways from the weekend. “Despite how it ended, I am very proud of what I was able to accomplish before my crash,” said Tennyson. “After a jump start and falling from second to seventh, I was able to battle back to the front. All of the ladies showed tremendous effort and resilience and I’m proud to ride with them.”
- From Royal Enfield