Danielle Gardner is cut from a different cloth to most of her friends, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. The 19-year-old from Sydney has always been a motorcycle devotee, a passion fostered by like-minded parents, two brothers and one sister, and a family farm in country NSW that served as a regular riding outpost.
Like so many thousands of people around the globe, Danielle’s powered two-wheel career started on a Yamaha PW50 as she churned out the hours on the farm from dusk to dawn – only stopping for short sustenance ‘pit stops’ in between acquiring vital life-long riding skills such as throttle and brake control, balance, cornering techniques and situational analysis.
PW50 maintenance is routine, but Danielle was also on hand every time the basics such as tyre pressures were checked. Thirteen years later, Danielle’s tech wisdom has gone to another level as a third-year apprentice at the multi-franchise TeamMoto Blacktown dealership in Western Sydney.
Danielle started the apprenticeship at the end of 2020, in what she says was a natural progression from her adoration of motorcycles from such a young age.
“I was always thinking about turning my passion for motorcycles into a career," explains Danielle. "An opportunity arose when one of my local stores (TeamMoto Blacktown) advertised for an apprentice and I put my hand up. I was lucky enough to go through the process and get selected and, if all goes well, I will finish it at the end of 2024.”
The fact that Danielle is now plying her trade in a traditionally male-dominated industry is not lost on her, but what started as a something of a novelty is now little more than a side note.
“There was definitely no shying away from the fact that I was the only female apprentice at the dealership when I started – and still am -- but I was made to feel really welcome and just got stuck into it. We work as a team, and we treat each other as equals and help each other out. I absolutely love my job.”
When asked if she sees herself as a role model for women, Danielle reveals that she does not see herself as a trailblazer. "It’s more about following a passion, similar to what lots of other women do in other industries," she reveals. “In saying that, if some women are thinking about becoming motorcycle technicians, I hope I have shown them that it can be done. I’d certainly like to see more women in the industry, and going through the vocational system. It’s a great career, and I haven’t looked back since the day I started. In fact, it’s been really smooth sailing, and I’ve been lucky to have worked on a wide variety of two- and four-wheeled machines to help build my knowledge and skills.”
Shannon King, Dealer Principal of TeamMoto Blacktown, said that Danielle has an amazing work ethic. “Danielle is a fantastic technician in the making and her attention to detail is something that sets her apart from other apprentices. It’s great to see females taking an interest in traditionally male-dominated professions. Women are not strangers to motorcycling but generally don’t get involved on a professional level.”
Danielle’s talent – and determination – are serving her well, and it appears as if she has found her calling. “I love going to work every day, and I’m sure this is just the start of a very long career in the motorcycle industry. I’m not sure where that will take me in the long term, but at the moment I’m just happy doing what I’m doing.”
In the meantime, Danielle will continue to work in the TeamMoto bunker, broken up with regular outings on her motocross bike and the occasional commute to work on her road bike.
It’s the life she knows, and she’s making a tremendous fist of it.