Royal Enfield’s BTR Program: The First All-Women Lineup

Andrew Roberts

Andrew Roberts

Build. Train. Race (or BTR)–now in its 3rd year–is the first initiative nurturing road racing and flat track women-only riders in building their own unique Royal Enfield race-ready motorcycles and providing guidance and training throughout an entire race season. For the new 2022 season (the largest yet in both the number of racers and races!), the road race and flat track grids will now include 15 women–new and returning riders. The road racing program will consist of six rounds, and the flat-track series, seven.

The formula is straightforward; competitors build a race-ready machine from the provided Royal Enfield motorcycle, train on their race bike with racing professionals, and then grid up to race on the national platforms of American Flat Track or MotoAmerica (new for 2021) in a class of their own against their fellow BTR competitors.

Simple enough on paper, but those few short words do little to properly describe the crucible that the BTR program is. Many of these BTR female riders have little to no experience wrenching on motorcycles, and most have zero racing experience. BTR competitors have described the experience as “challenging but rewarding,” “practically a second job” and “the best thing that has ever happened to me.” 

Royal Enfield’s BTR Women’s Programs

Royal Enfield’s BRT Women’s Programs

A long-time fanatic of racing and a champion of female riders, Bree Poland–the Head of Marketing & Communications for Royal Enfield Americas and Global Brand Manager for the Continental GT platform–established Royal Enfield’s BRT program, first the BTR Women’s Flat Track Program in 2020 and the BTR Women’s Road Racing Program in 2021 to simultaneously gain more exposure for the Royal Enfield brand while bringing new female faces into motorcycle racing in America.

  • Royal Enfield BTR Women’s Flat Track Program: The inaugural BTR season kicked off in 2020.
  • Royal Enfield BTR Women’s Road Racing Program: The inaugural BTR season kicked off in 2021.

More on the above two programs below, but first, a brief explanation of the Royal Enfield’s BRT Program phases, mentors, partners, and sponsors so that you know more and read from an informed standpoint.

BTR Women’s Program Phases

Royal Enfield’s BRT Program

By offering an incubator to coach riders not only how to race bikes but also how to build them, too.

  1. Build: During the first three months of the season; participants build their Royal Enfield 650 Twin: Flat Track riders receive the INT650, and Road Racing riders receive the Continental GT 650. Royal Enfield, its partners, mentors & sponsors support each woman throughout the program to build a race-ready motorcycle.
  2. Train: Each discipline is then given ample time for training with Royal Enfield’s mentors Moto Anatomy X Racer Johnny Lewis, Crew Chief Erik Moldenhauer, and Melissa Paris, who has a deep resume of international road racing, wrenching, and MotoAmerica team ownership. After training is complete, the riders will have the necessary skills to get out on the track.
  3. Race: Throughout a series of races, the riders, and their teams will then face off to test their hard work, dedication, and racing skills.

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BTR Women’s Program Mentors

There are professional mentors during every phase of the program, each with a clear outline to help competitors craft effective approaches from the start through to the end of the build, train, and race. From that jumping-off point, you take a unique path from stock bike to race bike.

For the 3rd season (2022) in a row, Melissa Paris will mentor the women throughout the road racing season, and Moto Anatomy X Royal Enfield Racer Johnny Lewis returns to provide on-track coaching for the flat-track racers and Crew Chief Erik Moldenhauer to offer technical advice and support throughout the build and race portions of the program.

BRT Women’s Program Partners

  • Royal Enfield BTR Women’s Flat Track Series Partner: MotoAmerica
  • Royal Enfield BTR Women’s Flat Track Series Partner: American Flat Track

BTR Women’s Program Sponsors

The initiative attracts generous support from great companies, and being able to send the Royal Enfield BTR women out onto the track with premium parts, support, and protection is everything. The high-level sponsors allow the riders to go out onto the track confident in their choice of safety gear without having to empty out their pockets. Each racer is also expected to bring their own personal sponsors.

For 2022, Royal Enfield welcomes back a generous host of sponsors for BTR Flat Track and Road Racing. Returning to the team are S&S Cycle, Maxima Racing Oils, BOXO USA, and Öhlins USA Suspension, while new sponsors Arai Helmets and AGV come on board for the 2022 season.

“The support of these outstanding sponsors is key to the success of Royal Enfield BTR,” said Poland. “We couldn’t do it without them. Sending the Royal Enfield BTR women out onto the track with the confidence of premium parts, support, and protection means the world to us. Our continued thanks to everyone backing our 2022 BTR Flat Track program.”

BTR Women’s Flat Track

The BRT Flat-Track program entered the American Flat Track (Race Series Partner) in 2020 (Inaugural Season), and the 2021 program was the best yet, with nine racers taking on four rounds of the AFT Championship. The all-women rider lineup grows to 15 from 9 riders and adds three tracks to seven racetracks in 2022.

Motorcycle – The Mark Three INT650

BRT Flat-Track participants each receive a Royal Enfield INT 650 motorcycle, which they design and modify into their own unique race bike. An air/oil-cooled parallel twin configuration chosen for its authentic uncluttered lines, the 648cc engine is built for real-world riding. With a twin throttle-body paired to a highly precise Bosch fuel injection system and EMS tune results in excellent throttle response throughout the rev range. The frame, developed in conjunction with legendary Harris Performance, is thoroughly tested for durability and offers superior balance and handling. 

The INT650 provides an optimum blend of dynamics through a mix of comfort & feel with a reliable, responsive & easily adjustable foundation. This twin-cylinder classic-style motorcycle is an ideal platform for flat-track racing.

Once enrolled in the program, the participants receive their Mark III INT650s and start their builds for the season. While most of the work must be done by the women, they are able to incorporate components from outside sponsors to ensure these motorcycles are race-ready. Next will come training & then it’s to the races.

The Riders

The Riders Royal Enfield’s BRT Program

It brings into the fold riders (handpicked by a panel of judges) who are completely new to the racing scene and ignites in them a passion for wrenching and racing. Their journey has a ripple effect, from their social media posts to the televised racing. These women will inspire countless other riders to do their own maintenance, try to custom fab a new bit for their bike, to go out and do a track day or even get their race license.

For the 2022 season, Royal Enfield is seeking riders with some level of experience in motorcycle racing. In the past, BTR has sought out complete beginners, but since there will be riders returning to the program in 2022, the applications are now open to riders with experience in the discipline they are applying for.

Seven returning riders will be joined by eight new participants, growing the 2022 Royal Enfield BTR presence in the American Flat Track paddock to 15 racers over last season’s nine. Jillian Deschenes and Jaycee Jones return and will likely continue their battle for dominance. Lana Macnaughton, Gabrielle Hughes, Nean Kiskela, Malary Lee, and Erin Ferris are also back and hungry for more in 2022.

Past riders include Andrea Lothrop, Melissa Paris, Kerry Sano, and Sarah Dixon among others.

The Schedule

Along with the team roster, the BTR Flat Track schedule increases in scope, as well. On the heels of last season’s four-round circuit, the BTR program will visit seven American Flat Track venues in 2022. Racing will begin at the Volusia Half-Mile in Barberville, Florida, on March 10, for “BTR Select,” which will invite returning riders, and new participants who have their builds complete to compete in an exhibition race. The first BTR Flat Track full-grid event will be the I-70 Half-Mile in Odessa, Missouri (April 23), after the entire field has completed their race bikes and training.

To illustrate how the schedule runs, below is a 2022 Royal Enfield BTR Flat Track Timetable.

The flat-track program’s seven rounds will take place in conjunction with the American Flat Track series.

  • March 11 (Round 1): Volusia Half-Mile I, Barberville, FL
  • April 23 (Round 2): I-70 Half-Mile, Odessa, MO
  • June 11 (Round 3): Laconia Short Track, Loudon, NH
  • July 16 (Round 4): Port Royal Half-Mile, Port Royal, PA
  • August 6 (Round 5): Black Hills Half-Mile, Rapid City, SD
  • September 24 (Round 6): Cedar Lake Short Track, New Richmond, WI
  • October 15 (Round 7): Volusia Half-Mile III, Barberville, FL

BTR Women’s Road Racing

Royal Enfield BTR was proud to be a part of the 2021 MotoAmerica Road Racing Championship, where they were welcomed into the pits as revered members of the racing community.

For the first 3 months and under the tutelage of professional road racer and renowned team manager Melissa Paris, the BTR Road Racing women will build their own race bikes from Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 motorcycles and put together unique sponsorship programs. From there, each goes through road race training courses before taking on the racing portion of the program at select MotoAmerica Superbike Championship rounds. Working with a world-class racer like Melissa Paris is not an opportunity that comes along often. The culmination of all their work is seen on the track.

Along with a larger grid of riders for 2022, The Royal Enfield BTR program will also race at more rounds of the MotoAmerica Championship.

Motorcycle – The Story

England, 1960s. Young men and women flock around cafes on their stripped-down motorcycles, creating a culture high on style. The Continental GT 650 is a nod to that time. The machine with a story takes one back to the time when motorcycling was all about making a statement. Now we’re taking it one step further and pushing the boundaries of what a Continental GT can really do. We know you’ll want to be a part of this! And the BRT road racing ladies get lucky enough to relive the cultural phenomenon that refuses to fade away.

Each of the 15 participants receives a Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 motorcycle that they will spend the next three months (the “Build” phase of the program) designing and building. The GT 650 welcomes them to the 60s with the retro-inspired clip-on handlebars and bump stop seat for maximum styling on a stripped-down classic racer silhouette, resonating the café culture.

At the race track and swift twists and turns, you can trust the café-racer double-cradle frame, twin rear shock absorbers, Brembo disc brakes, and high-performance engine to do the job.

The Riders

Like the BRT flat track, selected riders are handpicked by a panel of judges. Kayla Thiesler, Michaela Trumbull, Alyssa Bridges, Trisha Dahl, and Bridgette Leber make their return to the road racing program. Leber crosses over from the flat trackside and returns to her road racing roots. They will be joined by 10 new women joining the program, which was opened to racers of all experience levels for 2022, rather than focusing on new riders.

Past riders include Becky Goebel, CJ Lukacs (2021 champion), and Scarlett Grosselanghorst among others.

The Schedule

Up from the previous year’s schedule of three rounds, BTR Road Racing is slated to run six rounds within the MotoAmerica FIM North American Road Race Championship for the 2022 season. Along with a return to Brainerd, Pitt Race, and Barber Motorsports Park, BTR has added VIR, Road America, and New Jersey to the 2022 schedule.

“The Royal Enfield BUILD. TRAIN. RACE. racers and crew were a pleasure to have in our paddock last year,” said MotoAmerica Communications Manager Paul Carruthers. “The series was embraced by our fans, the rest of the paddock, and the industry. We’re excited to welcome them back this year for twice as many rounds, and with even more racers.”

2022 Royal Enfield BTR Road Racing Schedule

  • May 20-22 (Round 1): Virginia Int’l Raceway, Alton, Virginia
  • June 3-5 (Round 2): Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
  • July 29-31 (Round 3): Brainerd Int’l Raceway, Brainerd, Minnesota
  • August 19-21 (Round 4): Pittsburgh Int’l Race Complex, Wampum, Pennsylvania
  • September 9-11 (Round 5): New Jersey Motorsports Park, Millville, New Jersey
  • September 23-25 (Round 6): Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama

About Royal Enfield

The oldest motorcycle company in continuous production in the world, Royal Enfield made its first motorcycle in 1901. A division of Eicher Motors Limited, Royal Enfield has created the midsize motorcycle segment in India with its unique and distinctive modern classic motorcycles. With its manufacturing base in Chennai, India, Royal Enfield has been able to grow its production rapidly against a surge in demand for its motorcycles. Royal Enfield is a leading player in the global middleweight motorcycle market.

Royal Enfield North America (RENA) is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is developing a growing network of more than 140 dealers in North America, including the contiguous U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. RENA currently offers the all-new Meteor 350, Himalayan, and the 650 Twins (INT 650 and Continental GT 650) motorcycles, along with a range of motorcycle accessories and apparel.


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