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She's Easing Into the Fast Lane

July 03, 1986|DAVID KECK

In her native Germany, Birgit Soyka was used to riding motorcycles along the autobahns at speeds of up to 150 m.p.h. without threat of citation. But now, living in North Hollywood, she has been forced to slow down to a crawl of 55 m.p.h.

"Here, it's just slow," Soyka said. "I just fall asleep here. But I slow down because I cannot use any tickets anymore. I'm broke."

The tickets--she won't reveal how many she's actually gotten--haven't stopped her from going fast on a motorcycle. But now she does it on a track and it's perfectly legal. And it could turn out to be for a profit.

Soyka currently holds the points lead in the American Road Racing Assn. 450cc modified production circuit at the 2.5-mile Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond. She's the only woman out of almost two dozen riders.

She planned to move up to the Formula USA open class for faster bikes on Sunday, but a blown engine during practice stalled her debut until next month.

Soyka rides for Paul Van Zuyle of Santa Monica. Soyka got the job over several hopefuls because of experience--and the fact that a woman could attract more sponsorship than a comparable male.

Soyka was a fashion model in Germany, then a secretary for a German motorcycle magazine. Soyka was a test rider for the magazine and spent most of her time traveling through Europe and attending races. Soon she was riding in them and doing pretty well.

Her experience as a test rider has taken her across 46 states in the U.S. Her current stay started last year. The country is much different than what she had seen on German television, but for the most part, she likes the U.S. and Southern California especially.

If only they would raise the speed limit.

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