We catch up with Sonya Abbott, Kawasaki racer, enthusiast and dealership Principal of her own Dealership, Fifth Element Kawasaki, in Mandurah, WA.
Hi Sonya, how long have you been in the Motorcycle industry for?
I have been in the industry for over four years. The past year I have been focusing on setting up a dealership with my partner Paul. All of my experience has been with Kawasaki.
How long have you been riding?
I have been riding at the local club for 3 years and have competed in some natural terrain events during this time. Prior to this, I was casual bush riding on the endless trails in Kalgoorlie where I grew up as a teenager. When I joined the Coastal Motorcycle Club in WA my aim was to ride and encourage more girls to become involved. I approached the club and proposed the inclusion of a girl’s class on club rounds. They were very accommodating and it’s been so much fun. Now with the business I find it harder to dedicate time to my hobby but I always support and encourage girls like myself to join in this predominantly male sport, rather than being spectators. When I don’t get the chance to race, I love to watch the girls get around and appreciate their efforts and progress.
Why did you set up your own dealership?
I had the dream of one day owning my own dealership and really worked hard to make that dream a reality. Being in a position where I can be surrounded by bikes and fellow enthusiasts like myself to me is the ultimate lifestyle. I also felt that there was a niche in the market for women in relation to stocking ladies accessories and bike apparel but also offering friendly advice and service to other women that want to be a part of this growing industry. I felt that there was a lot of things I could improve on and approach in a different way. I love the challenge of learning and growing with the market and I will continue to do this and be open to change. So far it has been a lot of hard work but it’s so fulfilling looking back into my world of motorcycling that’s been created at Fifth Element Kawasaki. The growing number of happy customers leaving my store is a sweet taste of success to me and a fulfillment of what I set out to achieve.
What bikes do you currently own?
I have a 2011 KX250F sponsored by Kawasaki and I have the privilege of riding the Kawasaki demos we have on the Dealership floor. I have had my open class license for a road bike for two and a half years and in this time I have owned four different road bikes. I’m having a lot of fun on road with our shop bikes when I don’t get the chance to get dirty off road!!
Why do you ride?
Riding for me is a way to unwind, but also a challenge. I enjoy going to the track and pushing myself to get faster and work on my fitness but sometimes I enjoy a casual trail ride with a bit less demand on the body! Riding for me is very pleasurable, for some people its cars, for me its bikes.
Anything annoy you about being a female enthusiast?
Probably the perception that riding is for guys and that as females, we wouldn’t understand or relate to the sport. We are all there sharing a common interest and all striving to get to the chequered flag as quick as possible and I’d like this to be respected. The worst thing for a guy is to be beaten on the track by a girl. This just makes us want to go faster!!
What advice could you offer other female enthusiasts who are heading into dealerships looking for a new bike?
The first thing I would suggest would be to do your research on what bike is most suitable for you as an inpidual, this may be road or off road, or maybe both. Have a fair idea on your budget and what you will get the most pleasure out of. I’d like to think that other females coming into my dealership will leave totally satisfied with the service, advice and their purchase and not feel pressured into something they didn’t want. Ask as many questions as you like, and make use of the demo models on the floor if the option is there.
What does the future hold for you?
I hope as business settles into routine I will be able to focus on my racing and enjoy riding on a more competitive level. I set my targets high not only in business but on the track. I will continue to support local talent like Tahlia Riley, our sponsored racer who is heading to the Nationals this year and other girls interested in becoming a part of the motorcycle industry. I am hoping to compete in some trail and enduro events too and love not only representing Fifth Element Kawasaki but girls who love the sport of motocross.