What did the men in the bar once talk about? Of women and engines, as in the beautiful song by Bruno Lauzi. An outdated cliché, given that the topic of motorcycles no longer affects only the stronger sex. More and more women are speeding on two wheels. Not only those who, aboard their scooters, zigzag through traffic to accompany their children to school and then fly to the office. But also the pink centaurs who are passionately dedicated to sports such as motorally. It is the case of Domitilla Quadrelli30 years old, former model, from Bologna who moved to Verona last December who won Garmin’s coveted Beat Yesterday Awards 2021, the award assigned to the five most daring sports feats.
We asked Domitilla, the mother of a beautiful 8-month-old baby, some questions, to discover the reckless world of motocross and motorally.
At what age did you start to compete?
Up to 22 I was a model and event organizer, which was very often focused on motorcycling. That world fascinated me, but I still didn’t have a license to ride a motorcycle. Then I launched myself, a little for fun, a little to challenge myself. I started with road motorcycling and then, immediately after, “off road”, on rough terrain, between dust and mud. Three months later, I already had three bikes: a 91 Yamaha Teneré (a touring model which, being considered vintage, saved me a lot on insurance), a KTM GS125 and a BMW K100. With the second, a vintage enduro, at the age of 25 I took part in the Swank Rally on Ice in Crevacol (France), a very “technical” circuit on an icy track. So much so that I had to mount the nails on the wheels in order not to skid.
From there you never stopped. And you got back in the saddle immediately after giving birth. Right?
Exactly. I was in the sixth month of pregnancy, expecting my son Carlo. And I asked myself: do I do it or not? So I signed up for one of the most spectacular Motorally races: lo Swank Rally which takes place every year in Sardinia: 1500 km of off-road routes to be covered in five days, with 8-9 hours a day in the saddle. Sardinia is spectacular: you cross areas off-limits to normal means of transport such as the dunes of Piscinas or the forest of Burgos, a real labyrinth in which it is difficult not to lose orientation.
The difficulty of the pilot lies in following, without stopping, the indications of the road book, a kind of roll of paper that shows the route to follow and the warnings such as “at km 34 there is a ravine”. It rotates on a cylinder controlled by a button and the challenge lies in the read it while driving, without stopping or getting hurt. I did the Swank Rally of Sardinia when my son was just two months old. My husband Pierpaolo and the little one followed me along the way and in the evening we met to sleep together in the bivouac. It was a great emotion to be able to rejoin them, after having covered kilometers and kilometers, raised earth, passed mud channels, jumped bumps and dunes. Only woman in the race in the competitive category, I finished 22nd out of 44 and I am honored, considering the caliber of the drivers.
What do they say in the family about your reckless passion?
My husband Pierpaolo is also passionate about motocross and has always supported me. My mom wasn’t happy with my choices at first. She worried, she feared for my safety. And indeed falls, blows and bruises are on the agenda. And in 2019, during a workout in the California desert, I flew face down and broke my nose. Having my nose sewn up in an American emergency room was an interesting experience, even if it only took me once! After two months I was already on the track because it is important not to be discouraged, never to lose the rhythm of a good training. Lately my mom has also got used to my adventures and has become much more collaborative: she helps me with the child during competitions and training and, seeing me happy, she is the first to rejoice in my goals.
What kind of diet do you follow? and how do you train?
Until I gave birth to Carlo I always ate everything. During pregnancy I gained 15 kilos and I have 6 left. Too many, because to compete you need a lean, lean body. So I relied on a nutritionist who made me one customized high-protein diet, where carbohydrates are provided only for breakfast and the three snacks. I follow her willingly, I feel she makes me feel good. As for training, it is important to develop endurance. And for this I do three hours of crossfit per week, which alternate with the exercise bike: they serve to strengthen muscle mass. Then it is important to ride a motorcycle as much as possible, all year round and in any weather, training on the motocross and enduro tracks.
What are your next scheduled challenges?
I will participate in the Italian Motorally Championship and in June the Sardinia Legend Rally: 1000 km in three days, on the trail of what was once the World Motorally Championship. They are challenging but beautiful routes. In 2022 my most important challenge is to grow the project I launched five years ago: i Women Motors Bootcamps, events / campuses dedicated only to women to help them push their limits, increase their self-esteem and try new things. You go to motocross school, welding, mechanics, but also yoga, clay pigeon shooting, parachuting. The women who participate, of all ages, discover that they have unimaginable abilities: together with other women we have fun and are strengthened, learning to concentrate and smile about life.