Women Riders

Inspirational Women: Stefy Bau

Written by  June 28, 2016

In my previous stories about women’s motocross racing, one name was not mentioned, but should have been: Stefy Bau. Born in Italy just three years after the birth of women’s motocross, Stefy first became an active rider in 1983 at the ripe old age of six years old. Having ridden dirt bikes since she was four, Stefy entered her first race in 1983 as the only girl competing and came in a respectable third place.

Stefy raced 80cc bikes until she was 14; coming in at Top 5 in every race she entered up to that point. At 14, she changed to 125cc and won her first FMI (Federazione Motociclistica Italiana) Italian Women's Motocross Championship. From then on, Bau won 7 of the 8 FMI Italian Women's Motocross Championships from 1991 to 1998.

In 1999, Bau dominated the WMA AMA Championship by winning every round. She also was featured in EA Sports videogame, Supercross 2000, and won the unofficial 125cc and 250cc Women World Motocross Championship held in Colorado. For the next six years, her domination of the sport continued as she won more races and racked up an impressive list of “firsts,” including being the first female invited to participate in previously male-oriented events in Japan, Qatar and Italy.

In 2005, Stefy was invited by the FIM to become the first woman to compete in a round of the FIM World Motocross Championship in the MX2 class. Her ability to be media-friendly made this an opportunity for her to communicate about the empowerment of women. In addition to her racing, she had become a mentor for other young women who wanted to compete. But 2005 was to be Stefy’s final year of active racing when, in October while training for the upcoming year; she had an accident that destroyed both ankles to the point of possible amputation of both legs. She announced her retirement in July 2006, still unable to walk.

While Stefy could no longer actively compete in racing, she became the General Manager of the newly established FIM Women’s World Championship by Youthstream. Issued the number 211 by the AMA when she became a pro racer in the US, Stefy started her own branding and business development company 211 Engaging. By 2014, she had several companies in the motorcycle industry and beyond with 211 MX School, 211 Media and 211 Outreach, all under the umbrella of 211 LLC.

Stefy now travels around the world to speak about branding, the empowerment of women in sports, and bringing in new technologies for better connectivities. She continues to be involved with motocross, teaching young women the sport. One of her most recent projects was teaching young women in the Middle East and Africa the sport of motocross racing. Tanya Muzinda, a young girl from rural Africa, became the first EU Women’s Motocross Ambassador in Zimbabwe thanks to Stefy’s efforts.