Interview with Stefy Bau 1999 WML/AMA Lady's International Cup Champion

By Debbie Matthews

DMSports          Stefy, first of all welcome to America ! 

STEFY               Thank you very much.  I have been made to feel very welcome here. 

DMSports          First off we want to give the readers a little background about you.  Can you tell us a little about your accomplishments? 

STEFY               Yes, I just won the WML/AMA Ladies International Championship Cup in both the 125 and 250cc Pro class,  so I am World Champion!  In 1998, I took second at the Cup.  There was a 3-way tie for 2nd.  !  In  1994, I finished third at the Cup.  In 1992 I was the Women's World Cup Champion in Italy, and I have been ranked as the top woman rider in Italy for many years now. 

DMSports          We understand that your goal this year in the United States is to go for the Triple Crown of Women's racing.  (Ladies International Cup, WML/AMA National Championships and the AMA Amateur National Championships).  What are your chances ? 

STEFY               Well, I think they are good, although the racing here is very hard.  There is a lot more competition for me here than in Italy.  So far, I feel good.  I won the Cup, and the first two rounds of the Nationals, so it is very good for me now.     

DMSports          Who is your biggest competition? 

STEFY               Everyone !!!  In Europe we do not have concrete start areas, so this is difficult for me.   My biggest worry is probably Kristy Shealy (4 time AMA Amateur National Champion and former International Cup Champion) and Tania Satchwell (New Zealand National Champion).  Shelly Kann (current AMA Amateur National Champion and 1998-Cup Champion) can also be difficult. 

DMSports          What challenges do you face coming to race in the USA ? 

STEFY               The only challenge for me is to travel from Italy to here.  In Italy I am paid by Yamaha Italy to race and win championships.  I race in women's class and also men's national pro class.  So, I must travel back and forth to USA and Italy to race in all the races.  The trip is ten hours each way and it is very boring!  I like the USA, the people are very good, and I would like to stay here, but I make my money in Italy. 

DMSports          Who supports you in youre your racing efforts? 

STEFY               Well as I said, in Italy I am a factory rider.  Yamaha Italy pays me to train and race.  When I come to the USA to race I have a contract with Team Green Kawasaki, and Eric at Crossroads Kawasaki  in Pennsylvania gives me a motor home to go to the races.  UFO supports me In Italy with money and clothing.  It is the best. 

DMSports          You have two contracts with competing factories ?

 STEFY               Yes, I signed two contracts so if the American's don't want me I can still go home and race in Italy.   Since I race in two different countries the factories have no problem. 

DMSports           This is a very unusual arrangement for this industry.

 STEFY               Yes, but it works for me.  I hope the American people like me and I can get paid next year in America.  I like it here and I would like to stay. 

DMSports          How does women's racing in America compare to Europe ? 

STEFY               In America the magazines and TV give more space to the women's events, but not women riders individually.  In Europe, only I am considered because I am champion. I beat all the other women riders and I have fans.  If you are number two, nobody knows you.   I am on the cover of cooking magazines and on television.  In the USA, if you are the number one, you are very good but if you are 2nd, people still know you.  This is better, because you can have more opportunity. 

DMSports          Are there a lot of women racing in Europe, or is it small ? 

STEFY               In Europe there are not a lot of women.  In Italy we have the Championship, so we have plenty of women for race.  I know of two women riders in France and England, but not many like in Italy.  I think the best thing would be to move all the riders from Europe to  ride here in the USA.  In the USA you have the  DMSports and DMSports that make races for women and do a very, very good job for the women.   

DMSports          Is that what motivates you to race in the USA ? 

STEFY               Yes, I think the more women that come to the USA to race, is better competition.  The women from England, Sweden, and France are very fast, and it could be a very, very good Championship for the women here in the USA.  But I only think this is possible in the USA.  In Europe and other countries we do not have organizations like the USA has to help us. 

DMSports          Do you have any advantage or disadvantage coming to the USA to race ? 

STEFY               Now, no. Except now, I pay for all the tickets to fly back and forth to Italy and it is very expensive.  In Europe I win very much, so I want to be here.  I want to do a very good job here racing and then I want to move here and raise a family.  Motocross is my job.  I want to be an example for the other women.  I want to make the sport better for them.  I want the American women to see that there is another woman who rides very fast.  I want to help them get to where they can make this their job in the USA too.  

DMSports          What is you opinion of racing in America ? 

STEFY               I think that it is a very, very good thing.  I raced the Cup in Italy in 1992, when there was only the 4-woman team from the USA.  When I came to the USA in 1994 for the Cup, the TEAM effort had grown.  Now when I came back, the TEAM has become a League.  This is very important. 

STEFY               In Europe there isn't a large league for women riders.  When I am in Europe I talk about the opportunities available in the USA.  They are very excited.  They hope that maybe in the future there will be a league or branch in Europe for them as well. 

DMSports          What are the differences between the tracks here and in Europe ? 

STEFY               The tracks are very similar.  As far as the riders, the top 4 or five in Europe rider very much like the top 5 American riders.  In Europe, in the women's class, you have only Amateur and Pro.  Here in the USA, you have many classes, Pro, Amateur, Novice, 60, 80.  In Italy you have only one class for women.  I would like to stay here ! 

DMSports          What do you like about America ? 

STEFY               I like America, because in America you have more opportunities to do the job you want to do.  I am a rider.  I want to ride for a few more years.  I am 22.  I think I can be competitive until I am 29.  In Europe there is not many opportunities for riders. 

DMSports          Do you get paid in Europe to race ? 

STEFY               Yes, but only because I am number one woman rider.  In 1995, I won an Amateur Championship with the men in Italy.  I am the only woman to ever do this.   

DMSports          What do you dislike about America ? 

STEFY               The food !  (laughs)  I do not like the food in America because I am Italian and Italian food is the best food in the world I think.  I don't like the food, but I like the people.   

DMSports          What is the best track in Italy ? 

STEFY               The best track I think is ASTI.   

DMSports          Why is that ? 

STEFY               It is in Northern Italy.  It is the best for me because it is similar to Budds Creek, MD, ASTI has big tabletops and big doubles.  The people that run the track are very, very good.  They work very hard for Motocross. 

DMSports          Thats, it.  We wish you good luck. 

STEFY               Thank you very much.  See you at Budds !