SHE made quite an impact when she burst onto the racing scene last year, making her debut in the BMCRC Rookie Mini Twin series.
But now Ieva Baublyte is bidding farewell to club racing after inking a deal to enter the 2017 Ducati TriOptions Cup.
The Romford chick is joining the Highsparks Motorsport Team alongside four other team-mates, and will be heading off to the BSB paddock to pilot a Ducati 899 Panigale.
It follows a successful first year of racing in the Bemsee paddock, where she instantly made an impact taking a podium in the opening round of the year and backing it up with further rostrums and her first win.
Having ridden bigger bikes at numerous track days across the UK and Europe, she had been initially looking to stick with the Bemsee paddock for another season until a late change of plan.
“My original plan was to jump on a 600 and stay in Bemsee but do a few wildcards in BSB and see how I get on,” she told UK Clubsport. “However, a friend of mine gave me the idea of doing the Ducati TriOptions which I’d never thought about, and after looking into it a bit more I realised that it was possible.
“A lot of money is involved in the class, and researching the costs if I was to do it myself, I started to think that maybe I should leave it for the following year as it was way above my budget.
“I was very close to calling it a day but luckily I found Highsparks Motorsport who were willing to take me onto the team.”
The jump in class and bike certainly seems a big one, but Ieva is well aware of what she is getting into.
“I have ridden a few 1000cc bikes but it was all a bit of fun, I never pushed myself on them because they weren’t mine and the last thing I would want is to crash someone else’s pride and joy.
“But I have never ridden a Ducati or raced anything bigger than a 650 twin so it is quite a big step up for someone like me with such little experience in racing. I do however like to throw myself into the deep end and give my confidence a good test.”
Because it’s all new, Ieva isn’t keen to set any targets before she starts, but knows the early days will be a steep learning curve.
“As I am moving up from a pretty much standard Minitwin to a bike with different electronics, suspension and other trick bits, it will take a bit of time getting used to but some testing in Spain should give me a good start.
“I don’t really want to give myself a big target in case I disappoint myself. Without testing the bike, at the moment I feel like top 15 would be a good result but that might even change to top 10 once I have a go on it and have my first race.
“I will always be in it to win it but I also need to look at the facts and be reasonable as other boys will be on the new 959 Panigales and I’ll be completing on an 899.
“Being a rookie, I aim to learn as much as possible and get as fast as possible so that I could come back the following year with bigger targets.”
But while she is excited about the season ahead, she admits it will be with a pang of sadness to leave the BMCRC paddock.
“Joining Bemsee was one of the best decisions I have made. The club is filled with some of the kindest people who gave me loads of support throughout the whole season and I have made some great friends who I will surely miss seeing during the weekends.
“I’m extremely proud to be joining the Highsparks Motorsport team to ride my dream bike. I’m absolutely buzzing. And I’ve learnt a valuable lesson: if you really badly want something, everything is possible if you just put the work into it.”