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Maddi Patterson: “I wanted to challenge this idea that women aren’t capable”

Earlier this month, Females in Motorsport spoke with Maddi Patterson, Founder, Owner, and Team Principal of Sekhmet International Motorcycle Team

Australian-born Maddi is making impressive moves across the motorcycle community and is providing a new platform for women to begin their career in motorsport, but how did Maddi’s own career start? 

“My career in motorsport makes me laugh, in the best possible way,” she tells Females in Motorsport. “10 years ago, I didn’t have a clue about this industry that is now my life.” 

Maddi’s career in motorsport actually started because someone asked her to hold an umbrella… 

“As ridiculous as it sounds, that was my first job in motorcycle racing,” she tells us. “I then went on to start my first agency, ‘Paddock People’, and co-founded an e-commerce business ‘Love My Ride’, which sold motorcycle riding wear in Australia and New Zealand.” 

But Maddi didn’t stop there and she continued pushing whilst recovering from a life-changing accident. 

“I worked as a full time sales and marketing consultant for the world's largest event company, while I was pursuing these endeavours on the side,” she says. “And in between all of that, I overcame a life changing accident and learnt to walk again.” 

“All of these things were hard at the start,” she says. “But, they were fun, rewarding, and full of learning experiences. It was work, and it was all worth it.” 

Maddi moved to the United Kingdom in 2022 to pursue a career in the sport she loves and soon found success after landing a role at Motorcycle Sports as a journalist in MotoGP, before she progressed to Brand Marketing Manager.

“After 10 years of all those things combined, it led me to where I am now,” she says. 

Alongside her work with Sekhmet, Maddi recently founded a digital marketing agency, PHNX, which works across multiple industries including motorcycling, aviation, automotive, and yachting. 

In mid-2023, Maddi made the decision to set up her own Motorcycle racing team, Sekhmet, with the aim of  helping women enter the sport she loved. 

“I could see people I love and care about struggling to get anywhere in this sport,” she says. 

“From athletes sacrificing their money and wellbeing, to young people trying to get a start in marketing and media in motorcycling, it’s hard for everyone,” she says. “So I thought, ‘if there's not enough jobs and there’s not enough opportunities, why don’t I create some?’.”

And so she did. Eight months later, Maddi’s new racing team, Sekhmet, will make its debut during the inaugural FIM Women’s Motorcycling World Championship.

But how did the name of Maddi’s team come about? 

“It came about in a funny way,” she says. “I was having coffee with a friend in the morning just discussing how hard this industry can be and I said something along the lines of ‘I should start my own team’ and she responded and said ‘you remind me of this Egyptian deity Sekhmet. She was the god of protection and battle. The protector of friends’.” 

Maddi felt an immediate connection to this name. 

“She [deity] was also born from fire, which was eerie, as I was in a fire three years ago that burnt 60% of my body and there was a lot to overcome during that time,” she says. “From that moment, there was no doubt in my mind that if I was going to have a team, that’s what we’d call it.”

“I’m so grateful that my friends think of me that way, strong and brave,” she says. “That’s what I want for this team. The opportunity to challenge perceptions, change minds, win respect, and acknowledge talent while creating memories and making history.” 

There was never a doubt in Maddi’s mind that she would join the FIM Women’s Motorcycling World Championship. 

“It was a no-brainer for me,” she says. “The opportunity to give capable athletes a shot in an industry that is inherently sceptical about them is incredibly humbling.” 

“What a chance to do something different,” she says. “To be the difference. In the first ever female dedicated world championship in motorcycling racing.”

When the decision was announced to launch an all-female motorcycling championship, opinion was divided, with most questioning its necessity, but Maddi looked at it much differently. 

“This is as much an opportunity to display talent as it is a smart business move,” she says. “You have to start somewhere, and what better place to start with something that is new, fresh and more than that, a huge opportunity for underrepresented groups in sport.” 

“The reality is, if you like motorcycle racing, you’ll like this class,” she tells us. “When the visor goes down, nothing else matters. This is racing. And that’s why you should be watching.” 

Maddi has already identified the riders to join her iconic team. Mallory Dobbs (#14, USA), and Lissy Whitmore (#34, UK), will represent the newest team to join the championship line up. 

“I’m proud to say with the help of my business partner and others around me, we have assembled a team of the right kind of people,” she tells us. “The people that fit our values, and people with the potential to be the next generation in motorsport and its changing face.

Not only proud of her riders, but Maddi is proud of the team and company she is building. 

“We are a unique group,” she says. “We value our athletes and their potential to go far, we invest in them, and more than that, I recognise that as a new team, in a new championship, led by a 28-year old, there’s a lot to prove.” 

Maddi is no stranger to pressure, and this new venture is no different. But, Maddi is driven by her commitment to increasing opportunities for women in motorsport, and it’s already making her a better leader. 

“If it was easy, everyone would do it, but since the moment this was announced,” she says. “I knew I wanted to challenge this idea that women aren’t capable and more than that, to show that if you really believe in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, you can get there.” 

“None of this has been straightforward, and there has been huge growth within myself over the last eight months,” she tells Females in Motorsport. 

Despite being a new team, Maddi is feeling confident that Sekhmet can hit the ground running, and isn’t fearful of the pressure from her competitors. 

“Of course I look around me and see what others are doing, but to anyone watching us, I would tell them to expect the unexpected,” she says. “If we’re challenging perceptions and winning respect, then that means we have the opportunity to do things differently, because we can.”

“As a team and an organisation, our goals are clear, we have vision and determination,” she says. “With everything I do, I do it with others in mind. I want to continue to create a brand that gives those opportunities to people full of talent and drive that didn’t exist before.” 

With the new season just a few months away, Maddi is looking to her short-term goals, and they’re mainly driven by creating awareness of the FIM Women’s Motorcycling World Championship, and success within her team. 

“Immediately, the championship and showing people that we’re here and we’re as capable as anyone else is paramount,” she tells us. “However, this is motorcycling and things move quickly.” 

Just like the industry, Maddi is moving quickly and is already thinking about her team’s future and expansion. 

“I think by the end of the year when we’re looking towards our next vertical, the women’s world championship will have felt like a breeze,” she says. “The pipeline is continuously moving and it’s our job to stay ahead of it.” 

“Five years from now, I truly believe you will know Sekhmet Racing for much more than our World Superbike pursuits, put it that way,” she tells Females in Motorsport. 

Maddi is proud of her journey so far, but is keen to continue paving the way for future generations and be a strong leader to others. 

“I want to see my staff and athletes go further than they could have before, I want to be the reason people feel good about our sport, and our industry,” she says. “To be the thought leader around creating effective opportunities.”

When thinking about her future, Maddi is sure she wants to continue advocating for, and hopefully witness, change.

“I am looking to the future full of anticipation and determination to continue to challenge perceptions and commit myself to being the change we want to see, for a sport we all love,” she says. 

Importantly, Maddi wants to maintain her positive attitude in the future and in her work. 

“In short, and as silly as it sounds, being happy, that’s important for me, and my family,” she says. “And continuing to be a little bit delusional, which has worked for me so far. I think you need that. The sky's the limit, so full throttle.” 

The inaugural season of the FIM Women’s Motorcycle World Championship will start with the Emilia Romagna Round, Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” on June 14th-16th. 

For more information on Sekhmet’s recent launch announcement, please find the full press release here, and should you wish to know more about how you can support the team, and be involved, please contact Maddi Patterson

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The author's genuine passion for the topic is contagious. blob opera

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