The future is female
The future is female, and she’s strong, determined and fierce
It’s been said that “the empowered woman is powerful beyond measure” and at Total, we know this to be true. This Women’s Month, we are paying homage to some of the incredible women we sponsor in the exhilarating world of motorsport who inspire so many women to be strong, determined and fierce. It's no secret that historically, motorsport has been somewhat of a ‘boys club’, but these women are part of the growing number of female drivers, mechanics and engineers who are following their dreams, shaking and revving up the status quo. As Total, we are extremely proud of the partnerships and work we do to support women and give them a real meaningful presence – both in the boardroom and on the track. The future truly is female, and she is breaking all the stereotypes.
Taye Perry has been racing professionally for over a decade, as the leading female off-road motorcyclist in South Africa, and has achieved multiple MSA off-road and cross-country titles. Next year, she’s taking her talent to the world stage and competing in the Dakar Rally, in Saudi Arabia, which is one of the toughest and gruelling off-road motorsport events in the world.
Growing up, Taye never felt like she fitted in.
“I was quite the tomboy – quiet and shy – but I was very competitive. That’s probably why racing became my favourite escape,” she says. “A lot of the time, kitted up, no-one knew I was female. Even to this day, that’s the case! Although, nowadays, it’s more of a pleasant surprise than a shock.”
She says being smaller than most of her competitors has been a challenge,
“But what I lack in brawn or strength, I’ve made up for by having a better technique or riding style. I adapt and I always make the best of it.”
Taye truly believes that the things that make women different from men, are their greatest strengths.
“We think, learn, adapt and react differently. And that’s good for competition,” she says.
Taye added that being associated with a leading brand like Total that’s recognised globally, and having the company and teams believe in her and her abilities is a “big deal”. She’s thrilled to be sponsored by ELF as well as Total Excellium.
“My journey to Dakar and the road to finding the right partners just got more exciting thanks to Total,” she says.
Sandra Labuscagne Jonck
Growing up with a father who is off-road racing legend, Coetzee Labuscagne, and has competed in over 100 events over the last 38 years, it’s no surprise that Sandra Labuscagne Jonck has an innate love for cross country racing. Last year, Sandra raced with her dad as his navigator, and together they won the Special Vehicle Championship. Following her dad’s retirement from cross country racing, she’s taken the wheel and is racing for the Total Agri Racing Team in the South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS), with her husband, Jaco, as her navigator.
But, Sandra’s road to success hasn’t always been an easy one and competing in what has traditionally been a very male-dominated sport has been challenging.
“People always say: ‘You’re a female driver’, but I aspire to be a good driver, and not just known as a female driver,” she says, “There’s also this misconception that if you participate in a male-dominated sport, you’re somehow less feminine and that’s not the case. I feel like it’s all about being a good all-rounder”.
“My dad has always been extremely supportive. He’s never said: ‘You’re a girl, you can’t do that’,” she says. This is something that has stuck with her and spurred on her passion to compete against her male competitors for the trophy.
“It’s so important to show little girls that they really can achieve anything they put their minds to. There’s so much talent that would otherwise end up going to waste if they don’t.”
Sandra’s extremely excited about her partnership with Total Agri. This marks the first time in the history of the SACCS that there’s a woman in the driver’s seat.
“It’s so great for a big company like Total to be shattering stereotypes like this. It’s a massive stride in the right direction and I hope it inspires other partnerships promoting women in motorsport,” Sandra says.