New Zealand motorcycle racer Avalon Biddle is the inaugural women's European champion.
The 23-year-old clinched the title at the penultimate round of the European Junior Cup (EJC) at Jerez, Spain last weekend. The series is a support class for the World Superbike series and the riders face each other off on identical Honda CBR650F bikes.
Biddle dominated the women's series, within the main series, showing a new-found consistency that enabled her to accumulate a healthy points haul at the majority of the seven rounds so far contested.
The young woman from Orewa is in her fourth season punting various racing motorcycles around Europe and in the past has tasted some success, but not the high of winning a championship.
Biddle finished second in the Italian women's championship in 2012 and helped develop a Moto3 bike in the local series for the Rumi factory team in preparation for the Italian manufacturer moving into the world championship.
"It was a pretty big relief to finally get it done," said Biddle on her way to France for the last round of the championship on October 8.
"It's a really satisfying feeling to have achieved what I set out to do this year and to give everyone who's supported me something to celebrate as well.
"There's been a few ups and downs and crashes along the way but we finally got there. It's such a good feeling to tie it all up with one round to go," she said.
"Being more confident in myself and my abilities has meant I'm a lot more consistent, which helps with winning a championship. I've definitely matured over the last few seasons racing in Europe and am now a much better and more strategic racer."
New Zealand has a bit of good form in the EJC, most recently when Jake Lewis won the title in 2013. The series is generally regarded as one of the hardest in Europe to win as the machinery is all the same, and the racing is cut-throat with no quarter given or taken, regardless of who you are.
The riders will be going wheel-to-wheel in front of crowds up to 30,000 in countries such as Great Britain, Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Portugal.
The women race in the main EJC field and Biddle has been the best by some margin having finished just outside the top 10 outright in the past. Due to the close nature of the racing, she sits 23rd in the overall championship with one round to go. However, by winning an officially sanctioned FIA championship, and showing she can take it to the men, Biddle has attracted a fair amount of interest for next season.
"It's just now a few days later that it's just starting to sink in that I have won a European championship. The whole of Sunday [when she won] it just felt like a normal race day.
"Winning will definitely help me with getting something organised for next year and there is already a fair amount of interest in what I might be doing.
"I already have a few options to race a 600 here next year, which will be really good. Winning has definitely opened a few doors and I have to look at everything carefully to see what the best move would be for me and my racing career," she said.
Not only is Biddle's win good for the sport in New Zealand, it's also a great benchmark for all the young women racing in New Zealand to see what can be achieved on a European scale with hard work and dedication.