Brianna Bonanno Has Figured Out Faster Is Better
Story By: Savannah Rose
Photos Provided by: Brianna Bonanno
Brianna Bonanno moves quickly in everything she does. For her, life just needs to move a little bit faster than the norm. She lives in the fast lane in all facets, exhibited by working to graduate school two full years ahead of schedule, pursuing dreams, racing her UTV in the Women’s class and even Stock 1000 class at a very young age.
Coming from the beautiful wine country of Santa Rosa, California, Brianna is currently attending Pivot Charter, which is a school that allows the flexibility to work from home, and on the road. This way, she’s able to balance long weekends of work, racing, and schooling.
Almost immediately after her first introduction to UTVs, Brianna was scrolling through Instagram and discovered Polaris RZR racer Maddie Wedeking. After a few messages back and forth, they eventually met at King of the Hammers in 2018, where Maddie took Brianna under her wing and exposed her to UTV racing. They still text each other after races to check in, talk details and get the insider updates.
Brianna races a 2018 Polaris RZR 1000 that was put together by Holz Racing, racing in both the WORCS series as well as Nor Cal Rock Racing. In 2019, Brianna started her racing career in NCRR driving an older RZR 900, with a goal to finish as many races as possible. In her rookie year, she raced to the podium with a second place finish in the end of year championship. Shortly after that, the decision was made to move up to a 1000cc car.
Her first WORCS race was a new experience for her, as she had only driven the car in practice, and never in the long course format. Brianna adapted as she raced and managed to take forth place, coming in a mere few seconds behind the 3rd place competitor. This season, she’s moving up from Women’s into the 1000 stock class at WORCS, and plans to try the 1000 Pro class in NCRR after having some success in Production 1000.
Growing up in an off-road family, Brianna had her first experience in a rock crawler at just three months old! Her father had been rock crawling for many years, and around 2016, she started driving herself. Brianna loves racing against family, despite it obviously increasing the workload.
“Having both of us race makes preparation more than most teams. Double the parts, double the work and us running two different brand cars doesn’t help with,” laughs Brianna. “But this is something I would never change. My father has been my biggest supporter. He’s even in my phone contacts as #1 Sponsor. Without him I wouldn’t be where I am.”
Brianna was also able to race against her older brother, who is usually her crew chief. She took first, ahead of her brother in second place. “I will forever tease him because his little sister beat him,” proudly exclaims Brianna.
As far as other female inspirations in powersports go, Brianna told us, “I had the privilege to meet and chat with Jessi Combs at King of the Hammers in 2019 before she sadly passed away. I constantly think about her and how much she inspired me as a woman and a racer. I remember watching her on TV and thinking about how much I wanted to be like her.”
Along Brianna’s journey, she has been able to meet many other females who inspire her. Women like Sara Price, Sierra Romo, Bailey Campbell, Kristen Matlock, Shelby Anderson, and many others. While the number of women excelling in powersports is growing constantly, the numbers are still skewed. Fortunately, social media has made everyone much more accessible, and gives everyone a glance into the daily lives of their inspirations.
Some of Brianna’s goals for her racing career are pretty much what you’d expect, she really wants to take 1st place in a championship, but most importantly, to finish every race she competes in. Eventually, she wants to “Iron Woman” the King of the Hammers, as it’s legendary for being the place to show your skills as a driver. One day, she wants to try her skills at an Ultra 4 car. Despite many UTV racers who natively head to desert racing, she really has a special place in her heart for rock racing.
This year, she finished on the podium for the end of year championship, which was another goal. Initially during 2020, she scored a lot of 4th and 5th spots, which still isn’t a bad place to be. Recently she and her father made the executive decision to have her start racing his old Pro N/A car, and she has managed to podium every race since the switch. Pretty impressive! We can’t wait to see where she takes it from here.
Follow along with Brianna on Instagram at @briannabonanno805