Maria Costello aiming to make history in Sidecar races at Isle of Man TT

Maria Costello and her Sidecar TT passenger Julie Canipa.
Maria Costello and her Sidecar TT passenger Julie Canipa.

Top female racer Maria Costello is aiming to make history by becoming the first woman to race both Sidecar and solo machinery at the Isle of Man TT.

The Northamptonshire competitor has announced plans to race in the Sidecar Races at the TT with Manx woman Julie Canipa as her passenger.

Costello celebrated the news on International Women’s Day after gaining acceptance to compete in the ‘chairs’ class around the Mountain Course.

Last year, Costello made her sidecar road racing debut at the Southern 100 road races year while Canipa – who was awarded the Susan Jenness Trophy by the TT Supporters’ Club for her fantastic efforts in the event in 2018 – began her TT career alongside Doug Chandler in 2015. The 50-year-old from Port Soderick on the island teamed up with Greg Lambert in 2017 to claim her best TT finish of eighth.

The Susan Jenness Trophy is presented to the female competitor considered to have made the most meritorious performance at that year’s TT. It is awarded in memory of Susan Jenness, who lost her life while marshalling during an off-road event in the UK but was also a sidecar passenger in her own right.

A delighted Costello said: “I’m so excited about getting the opportunity to compete on my sidecar at the TT, this would make me the first woman to race both a sidecar and solo at the TT races and to do it as an all-female team would make it even more special."

“I’m so delighted to have Julie as my passenger. She is a massive boost to my sidecar racing and especially to my TT as she’s a terrific passenger and she also has four years of experience there.

“Julie and I feel like such a great match and I feel very lucky to have her onboard. We have the same approach and we believe in each other’s ability,” she added.

“Hopefully, that will go a long way towards making our goals a reality and we're really looking forward to getting some testing and races under our belts in the coming months.”

Costello, who recently secured a deal to ride a Paton Supertwin for Mark Coverdale this year, goes into the season with a new mechanic, Chris Purdie, who will work alongside existing spanner-man Matt Williams and new team members from Ireland.

She continued: “I’ve got continued support from many of my existing sponsors, which means the world, and some new sponsors to announce in the very near future.

“We would welcome additional support for this attempt at making more history possible and we have some great positions on both my sidecar, solo and my helmet available for new sponsors.”

Costello’s achievements on the Isle of Man include being a former female lap record holder on the TT course and being the first woman to take the podium in a race at the Manx Grand Prix and a Classic TT podium.