The 2017 International Six Days of Enduro in Brive France had no shortage of storylines or highlights but here at Dirt Bike Girl Adventures I like to highlight the awesomeness of the women in our off-road sport… especially our American ISDE Womens Team!
This years team of three was Becca Sheets, Brandy Richards and Kacy Martinez – Coy. For all three it would be their first appearance competing in the prestigious six day race. All three are amazing and proven off-road racers and seemed to work very well together. Want to learn more about the ISDE?…please check out the information HERE.
I extended an invitation to Becca, Brandy and Kacy to share an ISDE RACE REPORT – I for one love to hear the details from the racers and get that inside scoop!
Here is Becca Sheets ISDE Race Report – Becca is so fierce and such a fighter – I love how she continues to claw her way up when sometimes things get tough. I truly admire her spirit and tenacity and expect her future in Off-Road to continue growing and excelling, Becca is a Champion and continues to display that with her competitive fire.
Congrats Again to all the Ladies that competed in this years ISDE… especially Team USA with their well earned Second Place!!! (whoop-whoop)
(IN HER OWN WORDS)
So going into race week at ISDE everybody told me “Day one will be the easiest day!”. Now that it is all said and done, I say “Lies!” I had bike issues at the beginning of the first day of racing and I lost A LOT of time, which resulted in me having to race for about seven hours straight only stopping for fuel. I was told to worry about nothing except getting back to impound before I would hour out at the end of the day…it didn’t matter if I got penalized for any reason… I just had to make sure I stayed in the race so our Women’s USA Trophy team could keep our chance at the overall. It seemed nearly impossible. It was 90+ degrees and I had well over 100 miles before I made it back to impound. I rode every special test with my tool pack and hydration pack on just trying to get through. I made it back to impound with a few minutes to spare at the end of day. Unfortunately (we didn’t know) that I had already houred out at the first time check I went though after I got my bike running again, which was many – many miles previous and had already been disqualified. I was fortunate enough that Antti (Team Manager) and the rest of the team decided to use their “re-impound” on me so that the Women’s trophy team could have a shot. This meant I was back in the game (woo hoo!) . I was very grateful to have the chance to race the remainder of the week!… Despite being completely drained and dehydrated, I was excited to focus on actually racing for Day 2.
Day 2) Overall, I had a pretty solid day. I stayed consistent in the top five. I had a couple 3rd’s in there. Kacy and Brandy were also doing well. All three of us were just kind of in battle with the Aussies all day. Some of the transfers were a bit hairy but a lot more enjoyable than the first day. At the end of Day 2 while I was changing tires, we realized one of my forks was damaged and had to be repaired. Luckily we had a spare to throw on for impound and we were able to repair it for Day 3.
Day 3) With all of the chaos out of the way, and all new transfers and tests for Day 3 I was excited for a fresh start. After catching up on some time from Day 1, I was able to start on the same minute with my teammates again.
Day 4 & 5) The remainder of the week went pretty smoothly for all three of us. Brandy had some faster times and was killing it. Kacy and I kept it pretty consistent as well and had good test times ourselves! The week actually got easier for me. I was close in times towards the end of the week with one of the Australian girls. The night prior I was waking up with pins and needles in both of my arms and didn’t get much sleep. It seemed the fatigue was finally getting to me. I tried to push my limits as best as I could without making mistakes (which is pretty much the definition of ISDE). On Day 5 I had a few crashes that resulted in some not so good test times but I put that all behind me and just wanted a good moto for the last day of racing.
Final Day) I finished 5th in my moto on Day 6. I could barley hold on to my bike anymore (ahhh!). Brandy took the win which was awesome!
All three of us girls fought hard all week. Even though we finished second, I’d say it was a strong second and we really showed our colors with some great racing.
I will say that ISDE is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Overall I really enjoyed it. I do wish that I would have had a bit more speed and done better but it was my first “six days” and I finished despite all of the obstacles that were thrown my way. So I will take that and go on with it. It was really an honor to be a part of such an historical event.
Our USA Women’s Trophy team was awesome. I cannot say for sure but I don’t think ISDE France will be my last!
Australia has brought us… “The Black Box Flight Data Recorder” – ” The Electric Drill” and most notably… “Off-Road Motorcycle Phenom – Tayla Jones”
My first Tayla sighting was at the Full Gas Sprint Enduro in 2014 at Big Buck in South Carolina… With a super smooth and fast riding style I knew if she decided to become a regular here in the States, women’s off-road would benefit and continue to excite.
American women do not run from competition – they see it – admire it and then they work on learning from it in hopes of eventually rising to it… Currently it is the Australian Tayla Jones that is dominating the scene in many areas of off-road. While putting this interview together after the Australian Womens Trophy Team victory during the International Six Days of Enduro in France a mere eight days later Tayla would find herself on the podium spraying sweet champagne at the Grand National Cross Country Series Round 10 in Unadilla N.Y. in celebration of a well earned National Series Championship Title…three rounds early in the Womens Premiere WXC Class! Every round she entered in this years GNCC series she has won…that Championship Victory is Well Deserved In-Deed!
Just last month Tayla raced Round One of the Endurocross Series in Las Vegas and earned a sweet 3rd place… This 21 year old from New South Wales Australia is in the zone to say the least and setting a feverish pace for the competition to rise to.
Tayla isn’t just a fast female racer – she in competitive in the overall against the men as well – you’ll find her placing in the top 15 among fast Pros and A riders in the Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series where mere seconds make all the difference!
If it sounds as though I’m excited about the Aussie dominating the American scene – I say well – yes… She is brilliant on a dirt bike and is working with an American team, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4 and her mechanic is American Stu Baylor… She is living on the American East Coast riding and racing some of the best Americans in the business and while she is making her mark in women’s off-road she is also elevating women’s off-road for all women and inspiring them to put in the work and rise to the top level in racing!
I had a chance to chat with Tayla about her and her teammates fifth victory in the International Six Days of Enduro – the team of three women in the Womens Trophy Class who raced a challenging off-road course for 6 days – without assistance to work on their motorcycle and required to get to check points on time. I’m no expert on the ISDE but you can learn about it HERE. I kept track of our awesome American Team – Becca Sheets, Kacy Martinez-Coy and Brandy Richards – for our American Ladies – this would be their first time racing in the ISDE, a brand new team eager and ready to rip the fresh course in France! It was very exciting to watch the live scoring as the race progressed through the week and our American ladies continued to improve. In the end Sheets, Coy and Richards finished respectably in second followed by France…YAY! I believe if this team sticks together and returns to ISDE in 2018 they will battle hard for that win and prestige that come with it.
Now onto Tayla on that prestigious team victory in France…
Wow…5 years in a row Team Australian Women have dominated ISDE! Congratulations to you, your team and Country! What’s your secret?…No secret really. Racing in Australia is a lot like Europe, we follow all the same rules and our tracks are laid out similar so that really helps when it comes time for ISDE. How long have you been teammates with Jemma Wilson and Jessica Gardiner? Jess, Jemma and I have been team mates for the last 5 years. When you were living in Australia did you race or ride together much?I raced Jess as a kid at mx but I only started racing Jemma when I went to off-road in 2012. Over the last few years I’ve gotten to ride with Jess a fair bit as we only lived a couple hours a part but Jemma lived 15 hours north so the 3 of us never really trained together. Australia has one main off-road series that we all did so we got to race against each other a bit. Did you feel a lot of pressure to hold onto the ISDE title going in to this year’s race? Yes and no. Obviously we went into the race with a target on our backs after winning the 4 years previous but that doesn’t change our way of racing. We know how to ride and all we can do is our best no matter what so as long as we did that we were going to be happy. Is it all serious or do you ladies find time for fun and laughs?Not at all haha. We like to have a lot of fun and it never gets very serious at all. Is it difficult to work on your own bike as required during the ISDE…does that come up much?I do get a little nervous about something going majorly wrong and not knowing what to do but it never seems to happen. Even if I do have a drama I either know enough to get by or if I’m at a control I can have verbal help from someone who does know what to do so that helps. One of your teammates Jemma Wilson announced her retirement from ISDE on social media… What are your thoughts on her announcement and for the future of your team?It is really sad to hear after such a great 5 years as a team but it’s also exciting to see what comes next. Jemma was a strong part of the team so replacing her is going to be hard and I hope the next in line will fit in just as well. Any chance that your Australian friend who you have been competing regularly against in the United States, Mackenzie Tricker would be a good fit for the team?I have chatted with Mackenzie and she is definitely keen to give the ISDE a try, so who knows maybe she will be our new team mate. Kenz is definitely fast and would definitely contribute a lot to our team fir sure. You have had such amazing racing success in the States everything seems to really be clicking for you… do you feel racing here in the U.S. has played a part in your success in the ISDE? Racing in the US is a whole different ball game compared to Australia and Europe. I feel like I have gotten faster being over here so that helped for sure in France but I still believe the Aussie style is better suited getting ready for Europe. The Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series that you follow and are leading in the Pro Women division is supposed to be similar to the ISDE do you feel that form of racing has helped you in any way?Yeah for sure. The sprints is the closet the USA have to the ISDE and it such a great series. It is my favorite racing here and I love the European style tracks Hooper lays out. Anyone wanting to do a six day should really consider doing the sprints to get themselves ready for it! Please feel free to Give a shout out to anyone that is in your corner…. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this if it wasn’t for my awesome team and the great bunch of supporters I have in my corner. The whole Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4 Performance Husqvarna team have provided me with everything I need to succeed and I cant thank them enough. Also a huge shout out to my mechanic Stu Baylor for all he does for me, a lot goes on behind the scenes and he makes sure my bike and everything is ready for me to win races no matter what.
Note: Pictures compiled from Tayla Jones Social Media Pages.
The picturesque town of Brive France hosted this years running of the International Six Days of Enduro… a prestigious off road motorcycle race that has been held in various countries since 1913. I can’t imagine what the anticipation and excitement the nearly 650 racers must endure. While motorcycling may be thought of as an individual sport – here you will find many that normally race against each other now band together as a team for their pride of their country. It wasn’t until 2007 that the Womens Trophy Team was introduced to the lineup… and here we are ten years later celebrating this years three woman team which consists of Becca Sheets, Brandy Richards and Kacy Martinez – Coy.
All three are capable of smooth and fast riding – All three representing America with pride! All three a part of history in this special event across the sea…
One of these special ladies is Brandy Richards, an accomplished motocross racer and west coast off-road racer from Lake Havasu, Arizona. While many look at the ISDE to have a collection of off-road racers – a motocross racer who also enjoys racing off-road most definitely is a great asset to any team. Being able to tap into that moto speed and be able to tame that same speed for the off-road technical terrain… that is a special ingredient to add to your team for sure!
So who is Brandy Richards?… Brandy’s mom, Shellie fills me in on her daughters racing accomplishments…and its quite intensive for sure!
Shellie Richards: Brandy has raced off-road since she started riding a PW. She was only 5 years old when she started her first series the “WORCS”series…she started winning at a young age. On her 50cc Cobra she won the boys 7-8 A class. She won on a KTM 65 and moved to 65 B class… She has also raced motocross and did very well off-road in the boys class. Brandy won the championship in the 65B , 65 A , 85 B , 85 A , all in off-road then won multiple times in the girls class when they started that in the WORCS Series. She also raced the Amateur National Loretta Lynns many times and won the girls class there in 2012. She went back in 2014 in the Woman’s class and got 3rd overall and then went back in 2016 and won the national title there!
She has started focusing on off-road lately – its what she has fun doing. She has wanted to try the ISDE… and then Antti Kallonen from KTM called her and asked if she would be interested in racing the ISDE in France and she said yes… And now she there – Crazy!
This photo shows Brandy on a 65 getting 1st in the boys A class and Kurt Caselli talking to her on podium congratulating her! He used to tell her he watched her race all the time and when she would win he new he would win! Nathan Woods was the other rider that took second She new him pretty well also but Kurt was her favorite when she was little…
There is no doubt that Brandy has a bright future ahead of her in motorcycling… At the end of the sixth and final day of racing during this years ISDE, Brandy was the fastest American in Womens Trophy and 3rd fastest overall in the Womens Trophy Class behind the always impressive, Tayla Jones (Australia) and Laia Sanz (Spain)! And to add to all of her accomplishments she also won the final test – a Motocross race on the final day!
Congratulations to the entire team for racing their hearts out for 6 days in a foreign country away from familiarity, friends and family… having to manage every aspect of their race for themselves, their bikes and each-other. After all the racing these ladies worked for – they ended up with a solid 2nd behind the Australian women and ahead of the host country France!
We Are So Proud of all of your efforts!!! #webelieve #america #isde2017
2017 Team USA… Becca Sheets, Brandy Richards and Kacy Martinez Coy – all first timers at this years Enduro Olympic Games… “The FIM International Six Days of Enduro!” The host country of France is sure to offer some beautiful countryside for these ladies to shred on… and these ladies will do just that! I am incredibly excited for this team – all three are top in the sport of off-road and all three would love nothing more than to bring home gold for America!
This year it seems that the womens team will be under the big tent so to speak… USA’s ISDE Team Manager Antti Kallonen:“We are going to apply the same ingredients to the Women’s World Trophy Team as we have to the World Trophy and Junior teams in the past. We are keeping a realistic view on where we’ve started and where our goal is. There are no shortcuts to success and we believe that we are taking the first step necessary to get there. We have committed to a three-year plan and we’re looking to take the Women’s team to the top.”
While it will be no small feat – as the best of the best in the Womens World Trophy class are represented from nine countries the competition will be tight! The Women’s World Cup is determined by totaling the team’s top two of three riders’ scores each day for six days with the lowest team score after six days being the winner. It is an enduro-type format, where riders have to follow a set route at a set pace over six days… you have to hit your times to avoid penalties. Racers are also responsible for working on their own bikes without outside assistance. This can be anything from changing tires to bleeding brakes and these ladies have been preparing for this challenge and are ready to go at it in Brive France!
Is Team USA up to the challenge?… Are you kidding? Do you know who these ladies are?
Becca Sheets: A hard charger – this lady is your 2016 Grand National Cross Country Series Champion. She consistently strives to improve and will not shy away from competition. She is definitely a great pick for this years team… I expect you’ll see some great times from Becca as she gets in her zone. She just recently competed in a 24hr off-road race with a team of three other women racers in preparation of getting that seat time and building endurance – she definitely hit her marks there!
Brandy Richards: A champion since she started racing… Brandy is no stranger to speed or competition – Brandy comes from a Motocross background – and is the 2016 Loretta Lynns Amatuer Champion on top of a long list of accolades. Brandy also races in the WORCS Series so she is no stranger to off-road… Another top competitor that has talent in both disciplines – I imagine her speeds will be top of the charts by weeks end!
Kacy Martinez Coy: Cali-girl Kacy is such a smooth racer and is no doubt a strong pick for this team. She is a multi – time champion in the GNCC Series as well as racing multiple off-road events – even enduro-cross. Kacy is highly talented and consistent, I am sure she will be a vital part of this team and will help bring them to ViCtOrY!
So… keep these three amazingly talented ladies in your thoughts as they grab throttle and hit their marks in history! There is something so killer – to see three Champions that usually compete against one another to come together – strategizing and supporting each other for the pride of America!
I got swept up in the Total Eclipse Mayhem that seems to have taken over a large swath of the Country.
The last “Total Solar Eclipse” in the United States was on February 26, 1979… I was 9 and don’t remember the pilgrimage to special places or any of that. Of course there wasn’t social media and self absorbing dribble like there is these days… People have literally planned huge trips and shelled out large sums of coin to go get a glimpse of the Eclipse – I’m sure you have heard all the hoopla about it… It’s been on the news – there have been books written on the subject and special eye protection in circulation… even a few airlines emphasizing which of their flights will have a view of the solar spectacle… and charging appropriately…cough-cough…
“The path of Totality” (when the moon completely covers the sun) this year the width of this path is about 75 mile and will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina. Once the calculations were figured out, the towns in this path seemed to really embrace the opportunity… I just so happen to be on an east to west road trip during this time and the closer I got to this “Path of Totality” it was like some crazy wildfire was spreading… “Watch Here” “Best Spot For The View” “Don’t Miss It” “Get Your Information Here” “Limited Edition Gold Eclipse Pendants Here” “Get Your Eclipse Pizza” “Eclipse T-shirts”
The parks were really on this… Yellowstone – was actually North of the path… but that didn’t prevent them from trying to lure people in – the park was in full Eclipse mode. The Grand Teton National Park was in the path and they had booths set up at numerous turnouts as well as every visitor center. Campgrounds were at max capacity with long waiting lists miles and miles away…
I happen to be in the Path of Totality in the Grand Tetons… and in Jackson, Wyoming during this time. You could see signs everywhere and masses of people milling around the cafes and shops asking with such interest “Are you here for the Eclipse?!” People were peddling eye protection on street corners. Cars with “Totality or Bust” written on their windows… Photographers and film crews setting up camera stands days before to ensure the perfect view.
We plotted a trip on dirt bikes of course. Our plan – to get out of the madness of the crowds. Follow the path less traveled…or so we thought! Once we grabbed a bite – geared up and gassed up – we headed out of town. Our destination Shadow Mountain via pavement and gravel roads we would be in the shadow of the Grand Tetons but we had to hurry! As we traveled people were lining the streets bumper to bumper. Two way traffic streets were now only one way. Motorhomes, Cars, Trucks, Vans and Tents all you could see – ribbons of colors leading the way. Photographers set up with special foil looking filters over their lenses – everyone using their glasses to practice staring at the sun.
We rode and rode it was as if we were in Tour De France. Speed limits of 25mph made it feel like eternity as we made our way to our spot… People from everywhere – Austria, Japan, China, Poland, France… you name it!… only thing missing was cowbells and superheros dressed with flag capes…
We found our spot in the Red Hills overlooking the Gros Ventre River among beautiful hills and valleys – so perfectly silent except for the sounds of our heated bikes beginning to cool. Looking up with my National Park Issued Eyewear I could see it happening as the moon passed in front of the sun. Slowly the sky darkened like a purple hue and as quickly as that happened it seemed to turn to light again. Out of nowhere a large military plane flew over us – in this Path of Totality – it was amazing as it was so low and turning right overhead flying out of sight – (seeming more exciting than the solar show I just witnessed). And just like that I could see people in the valley below packing up and heading out.
We folded up our party glasses, threw our helmets on and whipped up little dust devils in our wake. Our plan was to start this “New Moon” with our first epic single track ride deep in the hills of Wyoming… and that it was! An absolutely killer day experienced from the seat of my 2017 KTM 250 EXC-F!
Later that evening as we walked through the empting town of Jackson – those that remained were still talking about the event – I heard many telling stories of their experience of the Solar Eclipse – yet one stood out among the rest… As a woman said to a stranger… “It was so amazing that I started to cry”
Well I hope you had an epic day doing whatever it is you did – whether it included block parties staring at the sun for a couple of minutes or ripping on your motorcycle – we can all agree that the world keeps spinning – seasons change and Life Is What You Make It so Make It Epic!
MY GUY AND I ARRIVED ON THURSDAY TO TRY AND LOCATE A DECENT CAMPING SPOT FOR US AND
BOTH OUR TEAMS. LET’S BE HONEST – TALL PINES IS NOT EASILY NAVIGATED IN A BIG RIG OR BASICALLY ANY TYPE OF CAMPER/TRAILER… THIS ALONG WITH THE PRIOR 6 HOUR DRIVE WOULD START OUR CHALLENGE RACE. A NICE CAPER TO OUR EVENING WAS A RIDE TO DINNER TO A LOCAL OLD SCHOOL DINER CALLED TEXAS HOT ON OUR DUAL SPORTS…TEXAS HOT INDEED.
FRIDAY MY TEAMMATES STARTED TO ARRIVE AND WITH IT MY EXCITEMENT! HEIDI, AMANDA & SAMANTHA WERE FIRST – WE JOINED OUR GUYS AND WENT ON A TRACK WALK – WE KNEW WE’D HAVE SOME SLICK HILLS TO TRAVERSE AND WE NEEDED A QUICK LOOK AND STUDY. ALL WAS GOING WELL THE SUN WAS SHINING AND WE WERE EVEN TALKING ABOUT HOW THE TRACK WOULD PROBABLY DRY OUT. THEN OUT OF NOWHERE THE CLOUDS GATHERED AND IT HAPPENED… A GOOD OL’ DOWNPOUR ON US RELENTLESSLY FOR ABOUT AN HOUR. WE WERE ALL SOAKED TO THE BONE AND THEN SOMEONE REALIZED SHE HAD LEFT THE VENT ABOVE HER BED OPEN ON HER CAMPER… OOPS!
ONCE WE MADE IT BACK TO OUR CAMPERS WE DECIDED WE WOULD WRING OURSELVES OUT AND MEET AT OUR PIT TO START PLANNING OUR SETUP. DURING THAT TIME OUR TEAMMATE MARINA SHOWED UP – SHE WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO RACE BUT SHE PLANNED TO JOIN US FOR SUPPORT AND JUST BASICALLY ANYTHING SHE COULD HELP WITH, SUCH A BLESSING! – A COUPLE WEEKS PRIOR SHE HAD CRASHED HARD ON HER BIKE AND SUFFERED A BROKEN COLLARBONE AND COULDN’T RACE. WE ALSO TOOK THIS TIME TO TEST OUR TRANSPONDER IN THE DIFFERENT RACE CONDITIONS… THIS WAS JUST PLAIN FUN – THEN THE TYPICAL SELFIE BREAK FOLLOWED BY A PROPER TEAM MEETING UNDER THE COVER OF OUR FLY
TENT… UNFORTUNATELY OUR ACE, VALERIE WAS STILL IN ROUTE AND IT WAS NEARLY DARK… SHE WAS OUR STARTER, OUR HOLESHOT DEVICE! ONCE SHE ARRIVED OUR TEAM WAS COMPLETE AND NOW JUST REQUIRED SLEEP… TOMORROW OUR EPIC ADVENTURE WOULD BEGIN!
AS I WALKED DOWN TOWARD OUR PIT I NOTICED THE MOST AMAZING SIGHT – OUR AWESOME BLUE FLY RACING TENT WAS DECORATED FROM TOP TO BOTTOM WITH ALL THE GOODIES AMANDA, HEIDI AND I HAD BROUGHT! HEIDI – WHO WAKES BEFORE THE BIRDS START CHIRPING SNUCK TO OUR PIT AND KILLED IT WITH THE PIT DECORATIONS – WE HAD DISCUSSED DOING IT IN THE MORNING – BUT SHE KNEW HOW HECTIC THINGS GET AND SPRINKLED HER FAIRY-DUST MAKING IT BEAUTIFUL! WE HAD OUR EYE ON THE PRIZE FOR THE *BEST PIT DECORATION CONTEST… AND SHE IS HIGHLY COMPETITIVE!
FLY RACING HOOKED UP THE TEAM IN KINETIC TEAL/YELLOW WOMENS RACE GEAR AND LIMITED DECAL TOOK IT A STEP FURTHER BY ADDING OUR SPONSORS, NUMBER AND NAMES ON OUR RACE
JERSEYS! WE LOOKED RACE READY FOR SURE! IT WAS TIME TO TAKE SOME PICTURES WHILE WE WERE ALL STILL CLEAN, THEN HEAD TO THE RIDERS MEETING AND THE STARTING LINE FOR THE 10AM START.
THIS YEARS TEAM OF DIRT BIKE LOVING LADIES HAD TO TACKLE SOME OF THE MOST EXTREME MUD THEY’D YET EXPERIENCED ON AN 11 MILE, 24HOUR RACE COURSE. LOCALS REPORTED THAT IT HAD BEEN RAINING FOR WEEKS PRIOR TO THE RACE. AT A TYPICAL XC RACE YOU ARE PREPARED TO DEAL WITH THE ELEMENTS THE DIFFERENCE HERE IS THAT THIS IS A 24 HOUR EVENT WHICH MEANS THE COURSE WILL NEED TO BE TRAVERSED FOR…DRUM-ROLL…24 HOURS BY… IN THIS CASE 143 TEAMS! THAT SAID IT’S A SHAME THE COURSE WASN’T DESIGNED WITH THAT IN MIND… THE ELEVATION CHANGES THAT WOULD TYPICALLY BE FINE WERE NOW ROCK WITH A THIN LAYER OF ICING… AKA SLICK MUD… THIS MADE FOR A SLALOM COURSE OF FATIGUED RIDERS OVERNIGHT. THE TRACK CREW HAD TO MAKE MANY CHANGES THROUGHT THE RACE… I’M THANKFUL THAT THEY DID BECAUSE BY ALL ACCOUNTS IT GOT PRETTY NUTTY OVERNIGHT!
VALERIE WAS OUR STARTER – SHE WAS SO EXCITED TO GET GOING… THE MUD DIDN’T DISCOURAGE HER EITHER – THAT GIRL LIVES TO RIDE! WE MET HER ON THE LINE – HEIDI HELD HER BIKE WHILE SHE STOOD FACING IT – OUR COMPETITION THE SPUNKYDUNK DAMSELS WERE READY AS WELL… WHEN THE 10 SECOND COUNTDOWN BEGAN CHEERS OF ENCOURAGEMENT WERE HEARD FOR BOTH TEAMS – THE GREEN FLAG WAVED AND BOTH GIRLS SPRINTED TO THEIR BIKES – VALERIE KICKED HER 200 KTM FIRST AND WAS GONE… THE RACE WAS ON!
OUR PLAN WAS FOR EACH RACER TO DO 2 LAPS AND SWITCH… VALERIE WAS DOING SOME AWESOME TIMES – ABOUT 37 MINUTES PER LAP! WHEN SHE CAME IN FOR AMANDA TO TAKE OVER SHE WAS BEAMING, SHE LET US KNOW HOW SLICK IT WAS BUT – I THINK SHE COULD HAVE EASILY HANDLED
ANOTHER 2 LAPS. AMANDA TOOK OVER AND BOOGIED DOWN PIT ROAD ON HER KTM 300 AND THEN OFF INTO THE SLICKNESS SHE HANDLED 2 LAPS AND ONCE SHE RETURNED SHE TOLD US ABOUT HOW SHE HAD BEEN SO TEMPTED TO COME IN AFTER THE FIRST LAP…BUT SHE WANTED NO REGRETS
AND SHE WORKED THROUGH THE DEMONS AND DID THAT SECOND LAP! NEXT UP WAS HEIDI – SHE WAS A BIT NERVOUS BUT STAYED TO PLAN AND WENT OUT ON THE COURSE… SHE HAD AN EVENTFUL FIRST LAP AND DECIDED IT WOULD BE BEST TO BRING IT IN AND SAVE HER SELF BEFORE SHE WRECKED HERSELF… THE TRACK WAS GETTING PRETTY
ROUGH. SAMANTHA WAS ON DECK AND READY TO TAKE HER NEW HUQUVARNA 250EXCF TO THE RACE COURSE. THIS WOULD BE HER FIRST RACE ON THE FOUR STROKE AND SHE WAS VERY EAGER TO SEE HOW IT WOULD PREFORM. AFTER 1 LAP SHE ALSO CAME IN AND TOLD ME TO PREPARE MYSELF FOR THE TECHNICAL COURSE AND DON’T TRUST ANY OF THE ROOTS – THEY WOULD SURLY TAKE ME DOWN… I WAS NERVOUS YET EAGER TO HAVE MY TIME. AS SOON AS I DROPPED INTO THE WOODS I WAS FEELING
GOOD AND GASSED IT BUT JUST AS SOON AS I DID THAT MY FRONT WHEEL PLOWED INTO A BREAKING BUMP AND I THOUGHT I’D BETTER CHILL OUT. THEN THE GRASSY FIELD SECTION THAT FOLLOWED WAS INSANE SLICK WITH TOPSOIL… OFF TO THE ROADS THAT AMANDA MENTIONED BEING SO SLICK HER BACK END KEPT TRYING TO COME AROUND ON HER. I MANAGED OKAY WITH THAT AND WAS ACTUALLY HAVING FUN EVEN ON THE TECHNICAL ROOTY SECTIONS AND LOVED THE INFAMOUS “MATRIX” – OF COURSE I HAD A COUPLE CLOSE CALLS BUT IT WASN’T UNTIL I CAME UPON A STEEP DOWNHILL THAT LEAD TO A RIGHTHAND TURN INTO THE CREEK THAT I REALLY STARTED
TO FOCUS ON THOUGHTS OF DOING THIS AT NIGHT. I WATCHED OTHER RACERS MAKE THEIR WAY DOWN THE HILL EVEN GOT TO WATCH LISSA ALDAKIMOV AS SHE SO SMOOTHLY MADE THE DECENT BUT I HAD JUST COME FROM A ROUGH SECTION OF INSANLY SLICK ROOTS, DEEP HOLES AND RUTS THAT WERE EXTREMELY CHALLENGING FOR ME AND HAD THIS EXCHANGE WITH A COURSE
MARSHALL ON A 4 WHEELER… I RODE UP TO HIM PRIOR TO SETTING OFF TOWARDS A MUD HOLE AND SAID “MAN – THIS COURSE IS REALLY CRAZY FOR A 24 HOUR – I MEAN ITS REALLY SOMETHING NOW, I CAN’T IMAGINE WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE AT 3AM!”HIS RESPONSE “WELL THIS ISN’T FOR EVERYONE” MY RESPONSE “WELL YOU HAVE CLASSES FOR EVERYONE – SO IT SHOULD BE” OFF I WENT TO COMPLETE MY LAP WHICH TOOK 1:17…YIKES! I THOUGHT ABOUT TAKING ANOTHER LAP ESPECIALLY SINCE IT WAS STILL LIGHT OUT BUT I THOUGHT IT MADE MORE SENSE TO LET VALERIE GET BACK AT IT WITH HER SPEED AND ENTHUSIASM!… OUR ROTATION HAD SOME ADJUSTMENTS AS WE WENT TO ADAPT TO THE CONDITIONS – THINGS WERE MOVING ALONG PRETTY WELL.
ONCE THE EARLY MORNING HOURS OF NIGHT TIME HIT THINGS GOT SKETCHY. AMANDA WENT OUT AFTER VALERIE AND SAID IT WAS SLICK BUT SHE HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE – SHE HAD THOUGHT OF CONTINUING TO RIDE ANOTHER LAP… HEIDI WENT OUT AND UNFORTUNATELY ON AN UPHILL HAD TO DEAL WITH TWO GUYS TAKING HER LINE AND KILLED HER DRIVE – SHE WAS IN AN AWKWARD POSITION AND THEN HURT HERSELF. AFTER THIS – HER THIRD LAP OF THE RACE SHE WAS UNABLE TO RETURN TO THE COURSE. SAMANTHA WENT OUT AND HAD QUITE AN EPIC EXPERIENCE – HER THROTTLE STUCK AND HER BIKE ENDED UPSIDE DOWN AFTER A FEW CRASHES AT AROUND MILE 6… IT WAS TREACHEROUS – SHE EVENTUALLY HAD TO GET ESCORTED OUT BY A MARSHALL. WE WERE ALL WORRIED AS SHE WAS OUT FOR NEARLY 3 HOURS! CRAZY… IT JUST SO HAPPENS THAT AT THAT SAME TIME ANOTHER SAMANTHA FROM THE PREMIERE TEAM WAS ALSO HAVING ISSUES AT MILE 9. WHILE SAMANTHA WAS OUT MY GUY HAD SEEN HER TWICE (ASKED IF SHE WAS OKAY AND WAS) AND WHEN HE MADE HIS WAY BACK KNOWING IT WAS MY TURN IN ROTATION HE LET SOMEONE KNOW NOT TO LET ME OUT ON THE COURSE. I TOOK HIS ADVISE AND STAYED IN THE PITS. I BELIEVE VALERIE WENT FOR 2 LAPS FOLLOWED BY AMANDA THEN WE HAD A LAG – I WENT OUT IN THE AM AND HAD ABOUT A 2 HOUR LAP…JUST TRAIL RIDING – IT ACTUALLY GOT SLICKER AND WETTER AS THE MORNING WENT ON! WE THEN HAD VALERIE GO OUT FOR HER FINAL LAP AND TAKE THE CHECKERS FOR THE TEAM!
WE ENDED UP 97TH OVERALL AND 1ST IN CLASS WITH 18 LAPS THAT WAS 11 LAPS AHEAD OF OUR COMPETITORS. LAST YEAR WE DID 26 LAPS… AND I COMPLAINED ABOUT THE DUST – BUT I HAVE TO SAY AFTER DEALING WITH THIS MUD AND TECHNICAL SECTIONS ON THIS YEARS COURSE – I’D TAKE THE DUST ANY DAY!
ON A PERSONAL NOTE…I MYSELF AM PRETTY BUMMED THAT I WAS UNABLE TO GET MORE QUALITY LAPS IN AND RIDE AT NIGHT…BUT ALL IN ALL OF COURSE IT WAS AN EXCELLENT EXPERIENCE AND I ENJOYED BEING ABLE TO SHARE IT WITH MY RIDING BUDDIES!
I MUST ADD HOW AWESOME IT WAS TO HAVE MARINA THERE IN THE PITS – KEEPING TRACK OF LAP TIMES AND TAKING PICTURES – SHE EVEN BROUGHT CHAMPAGNE FOR POST RACE CELEBRATION!
A BIG BONUS WAS OUR TEAM WON THE PIT DECORATION CONTEST – WE SCORED SOME SWEET FLY BACKPACKS!!!
It’s only 5 days away now… That once a year specialty race that we have been chatting endlessly about…
There is just something awesome about the entire process. Once the team is selected you form a type of sisterhood. With some of us this bond has already been solidified from past rides and even this past race… This year we bring on a new moto-ripper as well as finally getting to rip with a moto-lady that had to sit out the last two due to injury. We are also unfortunately down one of our wild-cards this year due to an unfortunate injury. However we are motivated and excited to get together to do our best and encourage each other in this test of physical and mechanical endurance. We are still a six woman team even if there will be only 10 wheels tackling the course instead of 12… Our abilities are all over the board yet always improving and this is part of what makes the team so fun!
We Have Many Layers Behind the helmet – We are women that come from totally different backgrounds – We like to ride dirt bikes yet we also like to be girly and goofy… We are smart – We are successful – We want to encourage girls and women to get out and ride… no matter your level – just take that step – and We LoVe to Have FUN! This is our Theme… FUN – Dirt Bike Girl Adventures Style!
AMANDA KNAPP – After reading a story in my American Motorcyclist Magazine that featured Amanda on the cover for an article titled Changing Perspectives – I learned that she was living in Maryland – I have always found it rather tough to meet people to ride with locally so I emailed her and invited her and her husband over to ride… This was one of the best connections I have ever made. I believe we have become great friends and they are the nicest people and awesome advocates for our sport. In 2015 I asked her to be a part of my DBGA team for the North East 24 hr race and she agreed – however she sustained a injury racing and couldn’t compete with the team – She showed her enthusiasm and grit though – as she came and supported us on crutches… She is just that type of person <3 Then in 2016 I thought for sure she would be able to join us – yet she still had issues from that original injury and just couldn’t join in the fun (sad-face ) So this year will be the first year that my good friend Amanda will be able to put her wheels to the Tall Pines Dirt and go at it with us!!! So YES this is Exciting!!!
HEIDI HAWKINS – My riding buddy that never quits! Heidi is so full of energy… its insane – she can ride and ride and ride… Heidi attended a race at my property 5 years ago and ever since then we have had many fun adventures. We have ridden the roads on dualers as well and as she always says.. “Its An Adventure!” and yes it is! We have taken many spills and laughed our butts off trying to get it right… She is uber competitive and extremely tough. Another connection that I am blessed to have made and a testament to how incredible the sport of motorcycling is for all the neat people you meet. Heidi Iron-woman’d the North East 24 hr in 2015 and Joined the team in 2016. We had a blast and her and I stayed up for the entire 24 hours last year holding down the fort so to speak in the pits. I know she has also done some big improvements in her riding this year so it will be awesome to see her clock off some laps!
SAMANTHA KILGORE – I met Samantha at a race – she likes to call “The Kenda” it was a Full Gas Sprint Enduro at Boyer Farm…lol We duked it out a bit – she was on a smaller bike and really needed to move up – she clearly was ready to spread her wings! Doing what you do when you meet a like-minded Dirt Bike Girl… You become Facebook Friends… And so it began – I asked her to be on the team for 2016 and she happily agreed! It was great getting to meet her and her guy – Samantha managed to find the one and only puddle at Tall Pines last year and took a dip in it!…. All good tho – we had a blast for sure. Since then we have had many ride day get-togethers! She corners like shes on rails…amazes me! I recently talked her into the Dual Sport life… which is just too awesome to be growing our “gang” we (Amanda, Heidi and Samantha) like to call “BIKES & BOMBSHELLS”… Samantha just recently returned from Costa Rica riding and she even did a nice write up and interview with some local women racers for the DBGA Blog… She is also very interested in getting others out on dirt bikes and spreading the Dirt Bike Girl Adventures word! Very Cool Indeed I believe she may be leading our team in a Zumba warmup before the race at the pit… So Stop By! ……….
VALERIE HORENSKY – The newest member of our team I met at a GNCC Banquet… My dirt biking friend Dawn Silvia had told me about Valerie because she had recently moved to Maryland so I introduced myself and invited her to ride. Valerie is definitely competitive… she recently took my front wheel out at a “SLOW RACE”…yup…lol I’m glad we got to get to know each other here more recently and the opportunity presented itself to ask her if she’d be interested… I was thrilled she agreed to be part of our team for 2017 – I think shes really going to enjoy the course at Tall Pines and I’m looking forward to having her on the team!
MARINA GRUBB – Marina was our WILD CARD… Last year I was searching for another teammate and Samantha had noticed a woman asking if there were any teams looking for another racer… It worked out perfect…especially since we had a member unable to make the race. Marina had never raced before and showed up on a Honda 450! Yup… and she did really well… That’s why I call her our WILD CARD. She rode at night without issue… oh it was tough but she managed multiple laps as well as bringing the team in for the finish! I believe it was Kristina Zmuda and her that clocked our teams fastest laps. Marina was eager to race again with the team this year however she wrecked on her new KTM 250xc only a 2 weeks ago and broke her collarbone and sustained a concussion… We hope to see her for her team spirit and encouragement in the pits this weekend. Quick healing thoughts for Marina!
ME! – I can’t say it enough… I really look forward to this race every year and I hope to continue to contribute and be a part of it as long as I can. The process is a bit stressful at times but in the end it is so worth it for the awesome memories and friendships. I am super happy to have met so many wonderful people in motorcycling – the teams I have been a part of have always been a blast and I have always loved the diversity.
DBGA is about women riding dirt bikes, having fun, making memories, building friendships, growing the sport, trying your best, being your goofy fun loving self!
DBGA offers the woman in off-road motorcycling a place to voice their opinions about the sport as well as delivering interviews with dirt riding woman in all levels of off-road via Facebook and at DirtBikeGirlAdventures,com
In 2016 Dirt Bike Girl Adventures created “A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WMX RACER” to bring a young motocross racing inspired girl (Brooke Bowlin) a first hand look at how a Professional Woman Motocross Racer preps and goes about her race day (Mackenzie Tricker/Jessica Patterson) Even with the canceled race at Budds Creek – these ladies got together and had a great impact which is what it was all about – special thanks to Fly Racing for the swag as well!
Samantha Kilgore Represented Dirt Bike Girl Adventures at a Blue Ribbon Project – a group that tries to fight child abuse… and lets children know that they can do amazing things in life!
I hope you enjoy the following write up and special interviews produced by my good friend Samantha Kilgore! Its pretty awesome to have your friends share their experiences and spread the DBGA Community Mojo…its like having satellite team… a roving reporter… you get the gist…its pretty darn cool! We are doing good things here and it feels AMAzing! Thanks Samantha – You Rock!
“You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
Oh! The places you’ll go!”
Where, oh where do I even begin to capture my moto adventures in Costa Rica?! A little back story: 4 years ago, I was a field rider, putting around on a Yamaha TTR125. My husband talked about this dirt bike adventure in Costa Rica since we met nearly 8 years prior, so for his milestone birthday I surprised him by booking a ride package with Costa Rica Unlimited. They put me on a CRF230 and off we went for an epic 70 mile adventure. Long story short- I bit off more than I could chew. I had ridden more that day than I have cumulatively in my entire life. My butt was sore, I was terrified of the hills and rocks, and had -had enough. The day promptly ended when I cooked my front brakes on a ridiculous downhill (with no guardrails!) Needless to say, this was a major turning point in my motorcycle riding career… After we returned home, I was insistent on learning how to ride properly so I could enjoy an epic adventure in Costa Rica in the future.
Fast forward 4 years, 4 bikes, and countless races later I booked with Costa Rica Unlimited again. Husband and I packed our gear and my custom suspension set-up, and headed to the jungle! Our day started at the BEAUTIFUL
CRU Compound; a few houses overlooking some of the most beautiful landscapes you’ll ever see, complete with a moto shop and 2 moto doggies.
We spent our riding day on the trails and roads in the Costa Rican jungle, visiting 2 water falls, having lunch on the beach, and blasting down the black sandy beaches on our motorbikes. The day was EPIC. I couldn’t have imagined anything better. This was my redemption trip. Something that I had made a mission, and looked forward to for 4 years. I set out to have enough confidence and skills on a bike to enjoy paradise. The riding was amazing. Although we
stuck mainly to fire roads, we did take our adventures on some trails. As you can imagine, the washouts are pretty epic, as are the clay-mud and rocks. We made sure to get nice and dirty throughout the day. Our tour guides, Chris and Miele were fantastic. Despite having a huge trip the following day to go ride in Big Bear, CA, and then race the Baja 500, they agreed to take us out.
The following day, in the middle of town mind you, there is a motocross track where they were holding motocross races. How perfect! Roman and I grabbed the camera and GoPro and headed to the track to see some Costa Rican motocross. The track was very well groomed and looked super fun!
I was lucky enough to interview 2 female racers from the event for DBGA, and despite the slight language barrier (I have a Spanish vocabulary of about a 3 year old), I got some great insights from these amazing women. Thanks to a family member who spoke good English, I was able to have an interview translated for me
Meet Melissa Tencio. A 17 year old factory KTM motocross racer from Frailes, Desamparados Costa Rica. She races on the Pasion MX team, owned, managed (and she even races!) by Marisol Reid aka the Moto Lady Boss of whom I also got to speak with! Here is Melissa’s interview:
When did you first learn to ride a motorcycle?:I was 8 years old.
How long have you been racing?:6 years
What is your greatest accomplishment in racing?:Top racer on the team and won championships for several years.
What’s the best advice you have been given for riding?:Stay disciplined in order to succeed. Stay focused.
If you could change one thing in the sport for women, what would it be?:The sport really is for men, but women should know that they can do it as well. I wish more women developed a passion and believed they could succeed in the sport.
Melissa is clearly wise beyond her years
Meet Marisol. Where do I even begin to describe this Moto Lady Boss!? I saw her doing her Lady Boss thing in the pits, talking with the ladies, fist bumping before the moto and I knew that she was a force to be reckoned with. After walking around the pits, she stopped me and asked me where I was from and introduced herself. We chatted for a bit and I told her all about DBGA, our trip, and complimented her on the stellar KTM set up she had. She agreed to let me interview her and here’s how it went:
Where are you from and how old are you?:I’m originally from Costa Rica, however, I spent many years living and racing in Florida. I now split my time between Florida and Costa Rica, and between my factory race teams, Pasion MX. I’m 40.
When did you first learn to ride a motorcycle?:I started late. I didn’t learn how to ride until I was 27. From there, I fell in love and knew I wanted to pursue it. I own, manage, and race with Pasion MX, a Factory KTM race team with 21 riders total, 3 of which are women. Next year I plan to start a Pasion MX Kawasaki Factory team. It’s in the works J
How long have you been racing?:5 years
What’s your greatest accomplishment in racing?:Champion MX for 2017
What’s the best advice you’ve been given for riding?:Be disciplined. Melissa is very disciplined, for instance, which makes her the best female we have on the team. Watch the previous champions, get advice from them. Be disciplined and work hard so that you can make your dreams come true.
If you could change one thing in the sport for women, what would it be?:Nothing. Here you are treated the same, so just compete, be respectful, and everything will be OK.
I am truly humbled to get the opportunity to meet and talk to some moto-women from Central America. While we may not have verbally understood one another perfectly, we are kindred spirits of the sport. Passion is passion, regardless of culture, location, age, gender. So cool to experience that first hand! Pura Vida!
I continue to be inspired by the many interesting women in off-road. I guess its like this in most sports – people come from all over from all types of backgrounds…but I tend to think ours is a pretty special group. Women that are comfortable pushing the envelope and testing the boundaries and then some that just like to dabble along the jagged edge.
There is no doubt that we are a unique bunch yet as unique as we are, we share that common love for a sport that requires us to gear up like modern day gladiators regardless of our speed.
I believe in my core that riding and racing a dirt bike teaches a plethora of life lessons… even when you think your just having fun roosting and rippin around a dirt circle – you are honing your skill, your mind is wide open – adrenaline is flowing your senses reeling.
What do we take from all this fun in the dirt? Where can it lead us? Educators, Business Leaders, Adventure Seekers… Having the strength and willingness to serve our Country and protect its citizen’s by joining the armed forces…
You are fierce… there truly isn’t anything you cannot do – You’ve been here before… Choosing the best line – studying the surface, preparing yourself and equipment for this “battle.
In the words of Mr. T “I pity the fool” – “I pity the fool that underestimates any woman that grips that throttle and hammers those sharp-edged rocks” And I celebrate you and encourage you to keep that momentum on that sketchy uphill we call life… Keep Striving because we – us – your “moto-sisters” we’ve got your back and we will cheer for you as you take all you have learned and sprinkle the world with it.
Meet this young lady – a racer – a seeker of adventure and thank her for her service… as she starts this special journey… leaving her home in West Virginia The Blue & Gold for a new adventure and career in the Navy…ironically also Blue & Gold at a time in her life where lots of other people her age are getting ready for summer vacations… A big salute to her for taking this step… I am sure she will be a wonderful asset to our military forces and join me in sending her positive vibes as she starts Boot-Camp this week…
I hope you enjoy this interview and its inspiring message to – Be That Change…
Talent: Ashley Shaffer
Hometown: Bunker Hill, West Virginia
How did you get involved in riding dirt bikes and then racing them?
My dad grew up racing them so eventually he got my brother into racing as well. We originally started off racing BMX then upgraded to bikes with motors.
What racing series do you follow and what classes do you race?
I race VCHSS (Virginia Championship Hare Scramble Series) I race 200C. I will race GNCC here and there in the women’s C class.
What bike are you currently riding?
I am currently riding/racing a KTM 200 exc.
Do you prefer…Two Stroke or Four Stroke? Cats or Dogs?…
I prefer two strokes since I race in the woods, I usually lean more towards a four stroke if I’m doing motocross. I like dogs more, who can resist a moto dog?
Do you do your own mechanical work on your bike?
My dad is a mechanic for dirt bikes, I usually go to him for any mechanical issues but if it’s a easy fix, I’ll usually fix it myself. I do my own bike prep though.
Most memorable race battle…
I would have to say last year, was battling for first place on a fun hill climb. Bar banging for the lead, it’s a awesome feeling.
Best piece of advice you were given when you first started riding?
My best advice I was given…slower is faster. Slowing down and learning other techniques and watching faster people go through sections. Just sit back and watch, see what you’re doing differently. That has definitely helped me get to where I am today.
Is there something you think needs to be improved in the industry to bring more girls into the sport?
I think it needs to be known more that just because you’re a girl doesn’t mean you can’t do what a guy can do. I’ve seen girls way faster than a guy on a bike. You don’t always have to run a females class either, if you wanna race with the guys, DO IT!! There is nothing stopping you, but you.
A new chapter is starting in your life – You have joined the Navy! Congrats on that and Thank You in advance for your service and willingness to serve our amazing Country… Can you share a little on what prompted you to decide to make this inspiring decision?
I have always wanted to enlist into the military. I got tired of seeing all my class mates go down the wrong path and so I want to be that change. I want to show people from where I come from, you don’t have to go down everyone else’s foot path but you can make your own. Do better for yourself. Also, my whole family is military and it has always had a huge impact on my life. I figured why not sail the seven seas!
Do you feel your motorcycling background and experiences in the sport will be a benefit as you take on this new chapter?
To never quit, to keep pushing. During a race we can’t really quit and we must keep pushing through to get points or a trophy. I feel like that would help me during basic, I’ve endured a lot of rough courses… I can handle boot camp. It’s all mind over matter.
Everyone has someone that encourages them and supports them in the sport… Who would you like to give a shout out to?
A shout out to everyone in the VCHSS family, everyone encourages and helps everyone out. I’ve raced with them for 17 years and not once have I felt out of place or discouraged. They only helped and pushed me on the course and even off the course.
Fun fact about you?
Fun fact? I think that’s the hardest question on here… My mom and I always had to take a selfie before all of my races, it was a tradition really. If we didn’t it felt weird and seemed like I always had bad luck during that race.
It seems appropriate that we celebrate the “Moto-Mom” on Mother’s Day… That special woman that always has your back… is always cheering you on – and always there with open arms whether it was a good day or a bad day on the bike.
She has been with you since the very beginning of your beginning.
She has that natural instinct to protect you and defend you without fail.
Even when you think she isn’t watching… she somehow seems to know whats up.
A “Moto-Mom” embodies strength and courage. She has to fight back any anxiety she may have pushing back those nerves and allowing you to grow. If you fall she is there with concern yet she is also there with that drive to see you pursue your dreams – she’ll dust you off and watch with bated breath till you taste that victory you have been striving for… all along she only hopes for your safety and love.
She is fierce –and you must never underestimate her…
Celebrate her and all that she has done and continues to do for you… because life as a Moto-Mom isn’t always rainbows and unicorns.
This year I would like to introduce you to a special “Moto-Mom” If you’re a regular on the off-road scene on the East Coast you may have seen her around a time or two. She may be at a registration table one minute signing up anxious racers or You may have seen her helping to organize the chaos in the staging area… heck, you may have even seen her 7 miles into an off road race course pointing racers lines up to her knees in sloppy mud.
There is no doubt that there are many amazing “Moto-Moms” out there in the pits, on the fence lines or even patiently waiting at home… much of what they do in support of their kids unfortunately may go un-noticed… However this year I was inspired by this particular woman after seeing her in pictures from the Wild Boar GNCC…Knee deep in mud and being constantly roosted by racers… It struck a chord with me because it occurred to me how involved this women gets on any given day. She isn’t Only at races that her son competes in…she can regularly be seen at other races still giving her all to our race “family”. Many may search for a dry line someplace else…but not this woman – which kinda sums it up… She lives the life basically 52 weekends a year and wouldn’t change a thing… and she is always willing to lend a hand – the moto-community is stronger with her no doubt! I wanted to take a moment and recognize this lady…
Say hello to: Tina Marie Wicker… “2017 Moto-Mom”
Moto-Kids: Kaliub Russell & Makayla Marie
How did you get involved in the sport?
I got started into the sport in about 1981, friends that I went to school with raced local events in Ohio and of course I tagged along to be part of the pit crew. I started riding motorcycles when I was 5. My brother and I had a Sears and Roebuck manual 3 speed 50cc bike … my dad and mom both had Honda 125 dual sport bikes. Dad would ride the 125 up to the side deck where I would be waiting, he would hop off the bike … I would grab the clutch jump on the bike and take off. At only 5 years old I could not touch the ground so when I was finished I would ride back over to the deck and jump off… lol good ole days… I won’t tell you I didn’t own a helmet had no boot or gloves and usually had a dress on as my mother was trying to make me into a refined young lady. Whoops sorry it didn’t work.
Do you currently ride? What would be your bike of choice?
I only ride when I have the chance to hop on a bike, usually a pit bike. One day I will surprise everyone and show up at a Full Gas Sprint Enduro and sign up to race…but I am too rusty right now to try that!
You’re a mom of a couple of amazing kids who happen to both be involved in the sport – did you ever imagine your lives would be so entrenched in the sport that nearly every weekend would be spent at a race track?
Yes both of my kids are very involved in the sport and I have been at some type of motorcycle event during race season nearly every weekend since I was 14 years old… So I cannot imagine my life any differently. I wouldn’t change anything for that matter. It has been a great ride.
Have you ever spent Mothers Day at the track?… If so, was that okay?
LOL… I have spent Mother’s Day at the track … of course all the time and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
You don’t seem to mind getting dirty – I’ve seen you nearly knee deep in mud pointing lines to racers – sometimes deep in the woods on the race course and not just your own son… Have you always been so involved – you seem to really enjoy it!
Yes, I have always been deeply involved with the riders and helping where ever I am needed. Years ago long before we had race teams for the 100 miler series/GNCC, Nation Hare Scrambles, National Enduro Series and Hare and Hound Series there would be a group of us on all colors of bikes riding together across the country to race coast to coast and many times I would be the pit crew for several of the pro riders. I helped work on the bikes (2 strokes) did pit stops alone, helped change tires etc. whatever it took to live the dream and lived on peanut butter and snickers bars to stay awake.. no more snickers for me though…
Congratulations on being a new grandmother! Do you think the little guy will get into racing like his dad? Are there any similarities this early on between the two of them? Do you see yourself 10 years from now pointing lines for Krue?
Thank you I love being Krue’s Nan … He is amazingly awesome! I wish I could say he will play golf but it doesn’t look like it. As you know he has been around the races since before birth… and yes he and Kailub both have and had a favorite go-to toy… MOTORCYCLE toys! They both made dirt bike noises even before they uttered their first words. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. As a matter of fact poor Makayla made motorcycle noises and played with toy dirt bikes from the get go and of course Kailub was that instigator…
What’s it like being a Moto-Mom?
This is a hard question as I don’t know what it would be like not being a Moto-Mom. One thing is for certain I have lots of moto kids… most of them are grown up but they will always be my moto kids… anyone in the industry knows… it takes a whole race family to raise successful, respectable racers. Sometimes it was another parent looking out for my kids at the races… The kids that grew up with my kids use to all get together on Saturday night and play kick the can in the dark. Or play hide and seek. All of us parents would watch out for each other.
How do you think the sport of off-road has shaped your kids?
Wow how has it shaped my kids. They learned accountability, respect, honor, dignity how to get along with others and help the underdog. How to be disciplined, what the meaning of delayed gratification is. What hard work is. Honesty and integrity and above all of this they learned Love… love of self and love of others and that all glory is given and received from God who allows us to be a part of this journey. Keep in mind that for the past 20 plus years I have known pretty much where and what my kids are doing on the weekend and we have done it with our entire race families. They did not have time to get into things that could have taken them down a destructive path.
Any advice you could share with Moms that are new to the sport and thinking of getting their child into racing?
Advise to moms… If your child has a passion for our great sport, encourage them, support them, be their biggest fan. Drag the rest of your kids to the event and make it a family thing. Yes I said drag. Because 20 years will pass by quickly and you will be able to look back and say WE did that together. It doesn’t matter if you have to tent camp or sleep in your van, eat peanut butter or sponge bath for two days. You are making memories together as a family and not apart in two separate locations. Never-NEVER be that parent that stands on the side line screaming and yelling at your child because you feel they didn’t go fast enough. It isn’t about winning or losing as the parent it is about being there and loving them for where they are and helping them to grow and make decisions and life choices while giving them guidance and stability. They will decide when the time is right to move to the next level and will look back and say… My mom was there to support me and encourage me through the good races and the bad and she always loved me at the end of the race… no matter what the outcome!
Where is your happy place?
My happy place… Buried deep in the mud with the other teams standing toe to toe with me making decision’s together… deep in thought as to where next to move a line to get all the racers through all while knowing… Makayla is in the pits holding pits boards for Mike and Chandler is assisting Kailub’s mechanic and my precious Krue is standing nearby watching his daddy race and the rest of my race families are all nearby doing the same and at the end of the day we are all together as one family…
Fun Fact About You!
When I am not at the races or working my job I still like to be on the road. I would rather get in my car and take off to an unknown destination just because I can… I cannot say that one person inspires me but things inspire me. The journey of life and helping others, reading what I can about motivation and self-growth are of great inspiration. I can eat peanut butter for every meal and don’t talk to me if I haven’t had coffee. I am a very picky eater and would rather eat nothing than send my food back at a restaurant. Sometimes I only sleep 2 hours a night for several days and then I crash… my brain will not shut down it seems to be on overdrive. I want to zip line across Niagara Falls… I love to climb trees and just sit there and listen to nature… I drive for hours in complete silence just so I can hear the words that the Lord entrusts within me… Life is a great journey and in my world and the world of racing … it is a RIDE and great RIDE!!
Full Disclosure… I had the pleasure of meeting Tina back in 2015 at a GNCC in Georgia. Billy and I had asked the ladies at the sign up tent after the race if they knew any place we could park our motorhome until the next round of racing… Tina quickly offered us to park in her driveway which was on the way to the following round. We didn’t even know who she was… yet she never hesitated and we were so grateful that we wouldn’t need to drive the unnecessary miles back and forth… She wanted nothing in return…she just wanted to help a racer out. Ever since then through racing and hanging out at Full Gas Sprint Enduro’s we have gotten to know her and her super fun daughter Makalya – They are fixtures at the races… and always eager to help and get involved. We are blessed to know her and I’m very happy to feature her in this “2017 Moto-Mom” feature!
Happy Mothers Day to all you Moto-Moms out there-Enjoy Your Special Day!
Special Thanks for the great pictures from Wild Boar GNCC: Suzanne Conner Smith and Stacy Mundy Photography!
I’ve heard good things from my buddy Amanda about the race series she follows… ECEA – I have been wanting to try one just simply because its fun to line up with your buddies and ride a prepped race course. Its been a challenge trying to make one of them because the race schedule conflicts with my guys race schedule and we usually don’t race up north which is where these are basically located.
Anyone that knows us, knows we tend to make plans last minute and this weekend was clearly that! Friday the decision was made – my guy would race his first JDay Sprint Enduro on Saturday at Southwick, Massachusetts and I would start my birthday week off with my first ECEA in Millville, New Jersey on Sunday! There was a mad dash after work to pick up a trailer and some scrambling to pack up for the 7 hour trip…but we made it happen arriving in the area late Friday night.
My guy, Billy was excited to race the JDay… he was eager to try something new and the JDay Sprint Enduro format would deliver that – he had planned to race the Camp Coker GNCC in Society Hills, South Carolina this particular weekend but he hasn’t really been pumped up about racing for 3 hours… so we find ourselves at Southwick for the first round of the JDay! He had a pretty good race day… a late one (I think he was still on the track at 6:30!) He won his class and placed 7th overall so I’d say it was a great Saturday! We didn’t leave the track until after 7pm and then needed to grab dinner – by the time we were done it was 9…we were exhausted and still had a 4 hour drive to my race in the morning! We made the decision to grab a hotel for the night and get an early start – which ended up being 5 hours of sleep and then a 3 hour drive to the track…he was exhausted and I was a bit tired as well but I had made up my mind I would finally after a couple years of procrastination I would finally race an ECEA Hare Scramble!
Arriving at the track a quarter to 9 was perfect! I met Amanda and she gave me the tour and filled me in on getting signed up – Jersey has a lot of special rules too, which she filled me in on… its actually quite crazy! I had left Billy at the trailer with my bike – he had to change my air filter – my bike has been running horribly and we thought it was the filter so once that was done I geared up and headed through tech inspection – caught up with my pal Amanda and we headed to the start.
Our race is in the C Division and starts at 10 am… Our class is Womens Amateur and is the last starting row in that group. That is really nice for someone like myself – I don’t like to be pressured 30 seconds after I start my first lap…it takes me a little bit to get rippy… lol
With some quick pointers from Billy… and Amanda filling me in on what to expect from the course that I have never laid eyes on before I tried to focus on my start. I grabbed an inside line and felt lots of nervous energy filling in… 10 seconds and the drop of the green flag – my bike fired up and I raced to that first turn (not really a turn more like a slight angle…lol) and I definitely held myself back with the throttle… I just wanted to relax and ride – I know I’m in a race but really I’m just excited to ride!
On my fist lap I probably had a huge smile on my face… the course was pretty much exactly what I needed it to be… The dirt was perfect – it had rained there the day before which had created the most perfect traction. The course had minor elevation changes – a few of the hills were insane fun to me – I wished I could have made a practice loop and rode them all day! The “rock” section was childs play… and the course provided many areas to pull over to let faster racers by. My second lap was really fun because I felt like I now knew the course and what to expect – I was relieved and started trying to ride better. I have had a real issue with fear of holding faster racers up… I don’t want to be that person – but it is incredibly difficult to get out of peoples way when there is no line but the race line – lucky for me when other racers came up on me there were areas that I could move to – my challenge was not to stop like I had in the past…just keep riding and I definitely improved on this – yet I am nowhere near where I’d like to be…a couple times I did stop because there was a single line area and about 15 racers single file approaching me… there is just no way I could safely get through with that pressure on my rear wheel – but these races can only improve me. Third lap I felt like my knees were going to implode.. I could hardly stand up anymore and this course was very whooped out – you really had to stand – today my old knees feel like they have no bend in them and they need a squirt of wd40! When I saw the checkered flag I was mildly disappointed – yes I was tired and stiff but I was having a blast and didn’t want it to end! I pulled off the track and waited for Amanda to arrive – about 5 minutes she arrived at the checkers and had completed her 4th lap – if we had another lap she may have lapped me!!! Eeek…. thank goodness I enjoy this sport and don’t shy away from my competition!
Looks like I ended up racing for 1 hr and 36 min … only getting in 3 laps before the checkered flag – and took 9th out of 12 but it was quality! I really enjoy this type of racing – I like the 2 hour Harescramble because for me I get warmed up and used to my bike – I never just jump on my bike and feel bonded I have to ride a bit and get loosened up – the downfall to that for me is I’m not in shape…quite a bit out of shape so when I start to get feeling more confident on the bike my energy decreases and my muscles are screaming at me. There is no doubt that if I could keep racing this type of format and get used to people on the trail I would get faster and more competitive – hopefully I’ll get to some more of these soon!
Love My Life!
This week I will be turning 47! I swear I don’t feel like that on the inside – I still feel like a 20 year old. I know everyone says age is just a number and I agree with that to a degree… but when your body is feeling its age, yet in your mind you have so much more you want to accomplish and you feel like time is slipping…well it can be frustrating. All I can do is do my best and I hope that when people see me on the track they are laughing with me not at me because I am having a blast out there and just enjoying this ride I call my life!
Special Thanks to my guy for being my pit-tootsie for the day and taking me to this race…he makes this all possible and I can’t imagine my life without him!
Thanks to my special and good friend Amanda for her constant encouragement and friendship.
And Thanks to my sponsors for their continued support! Trail Pros, Ride On Moto, Fly Racing, Limited Decal, Scott Goggles, Task Racing
Shout Out to the Bombshells that couldn’t make this race – Girls you were there in spirit We shall do some rippin soon!
Its always a blast in the Womens Amateur line at a Full Gas Sprint Enduro… While there is always competition the atmosphere is totally chill…and we get to see each-other 6 times in between tests both days. We are always chatty-Kathies…and its not always race talk – but what is always common is our enthusiasm for everyone to have fun – we support each-other and always try to make newcomers feel welcome and included!
While I didn’t race this round I did manage to still do a little chit-chatting with the ladies…the usual smiles and happy-times surround the line.
Round 3 we saw a newcomer, Cindy Harris. I believe I had heard that she had never raced in the woods – so she opted to hit the Cross-Tests only, which is a great way to still have a blast and build your speed. We had Claudia, Dawn, Christy and Heather…who ran all 12 tests throughout the weekend. The courses on Saturday were super slick – the woods test had a couple tricky uphills out of hairpin bottom corners also a greasy stream to traverse which definitely let those with woods experience shine. So far this season this had to be one of the more challenging woods (enduro) courses.
Each lady had their experiences out there with natures elements – yet all arrived time after time with smiles and laughter – you can’t beat that!
This round we saw Heather Cosner take the win in class – Heather is such a great competitor – and the ladies…or guys should never underestimate her. She is gritty and isn’t afraid of a challenge…and if its slick and rocky…well you have better be on your A-Game because she seems to really get into her zone in some of the most gnarliest of conditions!
The first Grand National Cross Country Series Race at Big Buck Farm in South Carolina… Everyone goes to that… Its time to test your endurance and off-road skills at the choppy and seriously dusty race awaiting the classic 10 secondsssss……trigger word!
Heres the deal – more women are diggin this sport we call off-road hare scrambles racing – heck many of them have been attending the races with their families already – for the brother…the cousin…of maybe better half. They say “Hey – I think I wanna try this!” and somewhere along the lines they do – and then they get hooked and start booking hotels making plans and paying closer attention to the competition.
Whatever the reason is – its happening…perhaps even Dirt Bike Girl Adventures helped in a tiny way – sharing some of these special stories from the girls in the sport!
Attending the first and second rounds of the Full Gas Sprint Enduro a couple weeks ago I was incredibly encouraged seeing new faces of girls lining up to rip up the courses and this weekend at the GNCC was even more encouraging.
The youth girls class had nine lined up – that’s pretty awesome considering this is clearly a boy dominated sport – a lot of girls start racing later in life…so yay! In the newly added Womens C Class there were a rockin eight ladies… and in Womens B Class a slammin seventeen!!! Womens Pro WXC class had twelve which is pretty good considering the Pro Women don’t receive any purse monies…
At Round One the niche’ racing series called Full Gas Sprint Enduro saw seven in the Womens Amateur as well as seven in the Womens Pro…this is actually pretty good especially since this series is really just starting to stride…Once the Pro Women realize they can make some good money in this off-road series I think the Pro-Ranks may start to really grow!
The racing in these classes is no less exciting than the mens classes – these ladies all want a taste of the glory – each one has their own story of the road that has led them to take on this form of racing. In many ways it can be much more interesting – as you see more and more women become interested in the sport.
Lets face it – it isn’t the norm but thats okay…norm is boring and so…well….Normal!
Here is a small collection of photos I have taken at the past couple races I attended – If you have been interested in taking your skills to the race course – why not? There is a class for everyone!
“HEY – THANKS FOR BEING PART OF MY CRAZY MOTOLIFE!”
“It takes a special kind of person to get all wrapped up in someone that is all wrapped up in motorcycling… Its a lifestyle that is filled with peaks and valleys however the ride is amazing and so much more rewarding when you get to share it with someone that enjoys it as much as you!”
This year we hear from four ladies that love the sport and found that awesome person in their life because of the sport of off-road motorcycling…
Makayla & Mike!
“Mike and I met about 5 years ago at the GNCC – Loretta Lynn’s. We had always hung out in the same group of friends, and he secretly followed me around the track for a good year in a half he finally got the nerve to like one of my old photos on Facebook. Letting me know he was purposely scrolling through very…very old photos. I messaged him and we hit it off since then. If it weren’t for the races I wouldn’t have found my best friend and boyfriend of 3.5 years we have more in common than anyone I’ve ever known. It’s funny how in this big world we are brought together as a family of racing. And we find love in many different ways through this crazy sport”
Lindsay & Ryan
“I’ve ridden dirt bikes most my life but at the time I met Ryan I didn’t have one, so he asked me out on a date .. and at the time I didn’t know but he traded a bunch of parts to a friend to borrow his bike for me. He surprised me with a dirt bike trail ride date! We rode to a lake and he had even packed us a little lunch…. It was by far the best first date I’ve ever been on..not long after that I got another bike and we’ve been riding and racing together..He even proposed by strapping the ring to my dirt bike handlebars right before a race! Dirt biking is a huge part of our life and now our boys are riding too!”
Lissa & Rob
“Both Rob & I were members of different Enduro club’s (& still are) but we both had an mutual friend from my club, Competition Dirt Riders. I was dating another guy when I first met Rob at his club’s Hare Scramble in October of ’00. I didn’t realize until much later this was him, but I saw a guy standing next a YZ125 “For Sale” in the bed of a truck. Since it was near sign-up, I was looking at it & bending his ear about dirt bikes (Rob always recalls this as the first time we met and who the heck was this girl rattling on about dirt bike engines).
The second time we met at one of my Club’s Easter Weekend rides the following spring. I didn’t realize this was the guy I spoke to prior at his club’s race. He didn’t say anything and was stand-off’ish, so I pegged him for a snooty fast A-rider.
During this time, I was dating a guy but we broke up shortly after that Easter Ride, but I never even thought of Rob at this point.
Our mutual club friends, once they heard I was single, pestered Rob to go on a date with me, the girl with the dirtbike tattoo (as Rob remembered me by).
Our friends thought he was younger then he was & I was older, only for us to find out once they set us up on a double date with them that we had a twelve year difference! Our age difference has never been an issue, especially once we started comparing family histories.
His father was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, the same city my grandfather was born in! They both migrated to Germany at the end of WWII and both immigrated to the USA in 1952 on the USS Hershey within a few months of each other. Rob thought I was joking at first, that our family histories mirror each other (what are the odds), but it made us realize our families came a great distance for us to eventually cross paths!
The fact that we share almost every interest & we are each other’s favorite person to go riding with, we have in our book literally found our soul mate in each other, sixteen years ago.”
Samantha & Ryan
“My huni, Ryan Francis and I are the ultimate race couple. We are both D6 Hare Scramble multi time champions. Pretty cool that we both hold that number one plate right now together and we couldn’t be happier. We train together in the gym and on the bike . He pushes me to be a better rider and am very thankful to be able to call him my Valentine!”
Hangover Harescramble Adventures – The Longest Race of My Life
Written By: Samantha Kilgore
It’s the first race of my 3rd racing season, and the first time where my moto girls are going to be competing against one another, instead of on the same team. Nervous doesn’t really describe the range of emotions I felt in the days and weeks leading up to this race, but it was definitely the most prominent. First, it was snowed out. Weather was unbearably cold, and conditions would have made even the toughest of tough cringe. Postponing 1 week in Maryland is the difference of literally 40 degrees. Crazy Maryland weather. I found myself checking the weather obsessively, and even with the rain leading up to the event, the temperatures were staying in the “unseasonably nice” category, and for that, I am extremely grateful.
Now, this location is known for its epic mud. I had raced there twice before, once in the extreme mud, and once in the extreme dry dust. Neither of which I would consider “fun”.
Fast forward to the night before- I felt myself getting race day jitters starting around 8pm. By mid-night, sleep was not really an option. My wheels were turning, my mind was in race mode, and nothing seemed to ease it. I got about 3.5 hours of sleep that night; coincidentally around the same amount that I would spend racing, ha!
The day of, I was tired. Really tired. We arrived at the track early to help Nancy and Billy with whatever they needed. I think Nancy and I both needed a NAP! The parking lot was a small glimpse in to the conditions for the day; a soupy, nasty, muddy mess. I saw full size dually trucks getting stuck!
Drop of the flag seemed to sneak up on me as I was one of the last riders to arrive at the line; funny because I was probably one of the last ones to take the checkered, too. And the weather, OMG! It was like someone hit a light switch and the temperature was perfectly comfortable. No cold fingers or toes, not too hot, not too cold. Just right! Against my better judgment and past experiences, I popped my bike into gear, and turned it off waiting for the start. Big mistake. This bike is only temperamental with one thing: starting in gear when it’s not fully warm. Flag drops, bike won’t start. Fabulous. I know better. Ugh. Get it started after my girls have left and forgotten me behind. The motocross track is a thick, muddy mess with bodies and bikes everywhere. People are stopped waiting for others to pick up their yard sales on the track, and I think to myself “there’s no WAITING in racing!” Bye, Felicia! I motor on by all these yahoos who are standing around like a bunch of patient little lambs waiting their turn. Not today, suckers! I must have passed nearly 30 people who were stopped, contemplating their life as racers. I get up to the over under bridge and again, people are stopped waiting in line. Ha! I’ll just go around these weirdos, too! In the first few miles, I saw many crushed souls. Bodies, bikes, helmets off, defeat in their eyes. Whatever. I’m a bad ass dirt bike chick. Can’t scare me away with a little mud and ruts! I continue on, doing surprisingly well through some treacherous conditions that literally have grown men giving up.
I complete the first lap pretty much unscathed. It was tough, no doubt, but nothing I couldn’t handle so long as I continued to pick smart, smooth lines. I avoided the mud puddles that were swallowing riders and blowing up bikes. If you look around, you’ll see a better line. Take it! Given my short stature, in sketchy situations I sometimes teeter on the bike, and it falls over. Whatever. Pick it up and soldier on. I complete the second lap, and I’m a bit more tired, but I know that there are now less riders out on the track. I’ll just ride my own ride and take that last lap at my leisurely pace. The tiredness didn’t hit me til about mile 2 or 3. I started noticing myself getting lazy, dropping the bike more, and riding slower. I was starting to have to dig deep for the endurance to commit to the final lap. I was coming up a hill when I saw a rider who had given up, and was standing around, waiting for sweep riders. In that moment of distraction, I dropped the bike on top of myself. The guy starts chatting with me about his experience. Hmm, not the best moment to strike up random conversation. Do you NOT see the bike that outweighs me by double laying on top of me, and you want to chat about your race defeat?? I replied “I’m sorry you’re having a tough time. Would you mind helping me get my bike off of me, now?” LOL! Poor guy was so delusional and tired, he didn’t notice my situation. He helps me, I give him some words of encouragement, and off I go. I get to about mile 5 and I’m starting to give up. Will this lap EVER be done? I come up on the sweep rider, who happens to be one of my moto girl’s hubby. He gives me some encouraging words, and follows behind me, despite my tired whining. Eventually, after a few more drops, and some rest stops, I take the checkered. 3 hours and 4 minutes. What the hell? 3 hours?
I ended up with a hard earned 2nd place that day. I can honestly say I gave it my everything. Ultimately, I am most proud of how I performed emotionally. In every race to date, I was fighting some major demons. This race was different. I went into it and completed it in a positive state of mind. It was a major turning point in my riding adventures where I have become comfortable in my abilities, and can kick those demons in the throat, and actually enjoy my ride. Looking forward to this year and the adventures it holds.
Hi! So much is happening right now – so excuse the lack of postings here – I use Facebook more regularly it’s easier for me to connect with people that way…
Happy to be one of the Sponsors for the Hangover Hare Scramble 2017! I have competed in this 2 hour off-road race since 2012…It was my first race and now I make a point to race it every year… In November of 2015 I was gearing up for the race and started searching as to where and when it would be taking place…but nothing came up on the interwebs. I told my better-half, Billy and he said “We’ll Put It On”…I was like “WHAT?” and then it started – we reached out to our friends and went through the motions. I of course raced it and had a blast! You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect weather race day either! (Braap Magazine 2016 Race Report)
So here we are it’s now a part of what we do and we are enjoying it immensely! Trails were surveyed in 2016 and stakes are in the ground for the 2017 event! A crazy cold blast laid a few inches of snow as well as bone chilling 7 degree temps and wind gusts as high as 30mph forced us to postpone the race until the following Sunday…Still in the Hangover fashion – it will be chilly and all that comes with that but it isn’t looking frigid and dangerous for people to travel which is a plus!
As far as the girls and ladies classes – they seem to be filling up nicely which is so awesome! I feel like I am witnessing a surge in female ridership and that is clearly such a positive for the sport!
So here’s to hopes for an awesomely fun race day in only 4 days!…let the countdown begin!
I just recently completed my review on the Fly Racing “Sector” boots made by TCX… and I have to say they really met my expectations!
I made this review video after I had about 7 hours of trail riding on them – I found them to be of excellent quality and comfort. However I was finally able to put them to the test in race mode as I just competed in the final round of the Full Gas Sprint Enduro in Union, South Carolina… This race was a 2 day event and on the first day the conditions were insanely dry – there were wildfires in nearby communities just to give you a feel for the conditions… On the second day of racing the sky opened up and did a heavy soak on the mostly clay course… It hadn’t rained in weeks so it was a real blessing for the area. This weather scenario was actually quite perfect for my review because what had prompted me to even look into the Sector boot was to find a lighter boot that wouldn’t be compromised in protection – in previous mud situations I had found my Gaerne’s far too bulky and heavy feeling.
I planned to do a real comparison of the SG12 Gaerne boots that I have owned for a little over a year now on the first day of competition and then switch to the Fly Sector boots the following day – so with the change in conditions it was a perfect way for me to get a better feel for the differences.
I wear a size 8 in women’s and with boots coming in mens sizes I run size 7. In my Gaerne’s I have a nice Sole’ insole in them that takes up the little bit of room in the boot up and down – they are extremely comfortable wearing. I feel solid on the bike and have no issue – except for the fact that they feel like lead weights! I really would notice this on a mud ride. The Fly Sector boots however (also a size 7 in mens) are a little different, as they come with an inner booty. I found it at first a little strange to slide it into the boot but once I did my foot seeded nicely inside. The area around my calf left a tiny gap in the boot – you can see that pictured in the video…the boot still latched fine and presented no trouble – I measured my calf circumference to be 16 1/2″ however once I added my riding sock, leggings, shin pad and riding pants it was a bit more. In the Gaerne’s I encountered no such issue with the calf width.
Once on the bike I settled in nicely in the Sector boot – I thought for sure I would need to adjust because I just the day before I had ridden 6 special tests in my Gaerne’s however surprisingly I felt right at home. Once my boots packed with mud I didn’t feel like they were unbearably heavy like my SG12’s which was really awesome especially since riding in wet clay pretty much is no fun to me… I say the only good wet clay is on a potters wheel…
So overall I give the Fly Sector boots a BIG…
I feel they are a Premium Race Boot made with great quality components and I LOVE the fact that they are at an affordable price point at only $350!…and a pound lighter than the SG12’s!
Hopefully your local dealer has some you can try – if your in the Virginia/Maryland/D.C. area be sure to check out my dealer Ride On Moto and let them know Dirt Bike Girl Adventures sent ya!
Happy Riding & Be Safe – also…stay connected with us on Facebook!
If you have these boots or any boot recommendations you’d like to talk about be sure to comment here or on Facebook – I love to hear from you and your opinions count!
Finally put together a video (CLICK HERE) with the footage I had from our Adventures at the 2016 North East 24 HR Challenge Race!… Even added some BONUS footage of my final lap on Sunday – it may be some of the slowest race footage you have ever seen – but as I have always said – my Go-Pro footage is some of the best if you want an idea what the course looks like
So I hope you enjoy it and hopefully if all goes well, we’ll see you next year in New York!
The Day in the Life of a WMX racer didn’t go quite to plan …rather it took on a life of its own. The idea of hooking up a female amateur racer with an experienced professional female racer I’m sure has been done before….however when its you that is connecting them its an amazing feeling of accomplishment when it seems to have been such a success.
The rolling hills of Budds Creek, Maryland were to be the site of Round 9 in the Womens Pro-Motocross Series, also known as WMX. The WMX series isn’t touring the country with much publicity – seems many don’t even know where and when or who… yet it is a series that indeed hosts some of the fastest women in Motocross – this years 10 round series was scheduled along several different premiere amateur races – the WMX race is the premiere race, where the ladies run both their 15 minute + 1 lap motos. Awards, special monies and purse seem to vary depending upon the promoter or host. The ladies just do what they do in the hunt for that series title.
This particular round had quite a lot at stake – the local District 7 and Mid Atlantic Motocross Association had secured quite a bit of cash and prizes for the racers making it extra special – sure to be a good turn out event. The usual $2,000 series purse was up-ed to $5,000 and the payback was increased from top 5 racers to 15! Racers had literally come from near and far in hopes to shred the course and walk away with the loot! However it was becoming clear that Mother Nature wanted to play in the dirt as well – Hurricane Mathew had been waging havoc for the last few days on the southern east coast yet all indications were that the storm was going to be hooking a right and head out to the deep Atlantic waters by Saturday. Instead it headed up the east coast and blended with another storm from the west and seemed to stall over the area. It rained and rained the skies stayed an oppressive grey all day. On Saturday the MAMA/District 7 races at Budd’s Creek were cut down to a 1 moto format and preparations for Sundays races which would include the WMX motos began.
Well – it never let up…around 1am Sunday the wind picked up and as the rain continued throughout the morning. Some people weren’t eager to gear up and slop around yet others could taste the opportunity to capitalize on the non-optimal conditions. At around 7am after multiple meetings it was decided that the race should be cancelled. The irony is about an hour after they cancelled the rain began to subside and as everyone packed up and began to head home the sun came out!
I feel for the racers that wanted to tackle the course no matter the conditions. Some of these women had literally been on the road since Round 8 in N.J. camping out waiting for this day…They stayed throughout the storms – making the best of it – preparing what they could for what was sure to be an epic mudfest. It just wasn’t in the cards – most likely the wind contributed to the cancellation with gusts of 40+mph! Yet just a few hours later this is a post on Facebook from the track promoter…
Sun, afternoon, track has been re-prepped, we are open Columbus Day and everyday until Thanksgiving. 10-5. MARYLAND STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS THIS COMING WEEKEND
One may think after reading this that perhaps the project (Day in the Life of a WMX Racer) never materialized – yet it absolutely did – in a most organic way.
My plan was to arrive Sunday morning and connect 10 year old Brooke Bowlin, a talented motocross racer from Timonium, Maryland with Pro MX’er Mackenzie Tricker, from Australia. We had all chatted separately about the project and were all looking forward to the meeting and along with an epic day of racing. Brooke would be racing the JR Mini class and Kenzi would be running the WMX – in-between motos the plan was for Brooke to shadow the experienced racer – seeing first hand what it means to be a professional woman racer – what preparations need to be made – how she handles race day – and all it entails as well as watching Mackenzie on the track – seeing her race style and techniques. This happens to be a track that Brooke knows very well – her local motocross track that along with her, her father and her uncle have all ridden many collective hours here – who knows the 10 yr old may have been able to give Kenzi some pointers and choice line advise…! An added bonus to this hopeful experience was that Tricker’s good friend and rider-coach who happens to be non-other than 7 time motocross champion Jessica Patterson would also be someone Brooke would have an opportunity to meet and observe!
There was to be an autograph session where Brooke would have been able to connect with multiple pro-women and once again see and experience the race day life as a pro. I had a shirt special made for her with thoughts that she’d be able to capture these ladies signatures on it as a neat memento and also contacted Fly Racing and they were nice enough – always eager to support the racers – they provided hats and water bottles to hand out!
Unfortunately due to the storm and cancellation of the race much of that plan did not materialize…but what did as I said earlier was organic.
Mackenzie and Brooke on their own met on Saturday and got to spend some time chatting… So yes the connection became reality! And I feel so good about this – I arrived that Sunday morning hoping to catch both of them before they left – I hooked up with Brooke first – she is just such a cool girl and such a character! She had been so excited about this day… I handed Brooke a special Dirt Bike Girl Adventures pitboard I had special made with her name and racing number on it from Limited Decal along with a custom DBGA t-shirt and Fly Racing swag. She talked about how bummed she
was that the races were cancelled because she was ready for the mud – the day before she had raced the JR Mini class and had grabbed the holeshot – slinging mud on the competition – and in the pouring rain she finished the race in 2nd place!…but she had been eager to get back out there today no matter the conditions. As we were talking – I noticed Jessica and Mackenzie getting ready to pull out and I caught them before they left – Brooke followed… We talked some more and Mackenzie had the same reaction to the cancellation of the race – she had been ready to tear it up in the mud – especially with all the brutal GNCC’s she had been racing – my prediction would have been a win for her at this round following her second place finish at Round 8 in Englishtown, NJ!
Seeing the ladies talking with Brooke and Brooke’s father Roy was a really cool thing – with the possibilities of them getting together down south in the near future as Brookes’ racing schedule will be heading that way. And yes… she did get a couple autographs on that shirt after all…
The only way to continue to grow this sport is to share it with the youth and the racers themselves are some of the best advocates for the sport and are best positioned to do this sort of thing. Their involvement is crucial and another reason to think long and hard on who you represent – who you have sponsoring you – because the kids want to be like you – do what you do – use the products you use – the choices you make matter when you are a role model and top in your sport. I hope this little project encourages others to play a special role in a young persons life. And I am hopeful that this connection will continue to bloom.
Pay It Forward…You may have heard this saying before. It doesn’t have to do with money yet it does have to do with investments…
Investments in time & energy…
When I first heard that the Womens Pro Motocross Series would be heading to my neck of the woods at Budds Creek Motocross Park my mind began to race. I had lots of thoughts on what DBGA could do to bring attention to the fact that some of the top women in the sport would be here getting the opportunity to showcase their moto-skills.
Right away I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce a young girl to the sport or rather introduce a girl already in the sport to get to know the sport on a pro-level.
There was the idea – and out from it grew “The Day In The Life of a WMX Racer”
First I had to find a professional and then I had to find an amateur…
The Pro: Meet Mackenzie Tricker a 21 year old Professional Motocross Racer from Australia. Mackenzie is currently 4th in the WMX Series.
WHY WE LOVE KENZI: She has displayed an undeniable commitment to race… She left her home and has been in America seeking to race against the most talented racers in our country. Currently 4th in the WMX Series, she has not shied away from trying different disciplines – she has been quite successful in the Full Gas Sprint Enduro and the sometimes quite brutal Grand National Cross Country Series. When she gets knocked down – she gets back up – she has that never quite fire in her belly and is an excellent role model for the sport as well as being coached by one of the most admired and talented racers in the Motocross World, Jessica Patterson (7x Womens Motocross Champion). Its not easy for anyone to stay committed with training and racing schedules – yet being on the other side of the globe from your family and friends – continuing through injuries and struggles to stay the course and find the strength is something quite special. That is a quality that needs to be highlighted. That is a quality that should be shared with the youth amateur racer. When I approached Mackenzie about this opportunity she never hesitated – she was very excited to be involved…which is most excellent! Follow Mackenzie on Facebook
You’ve heard it before – It’s not easy being a Woman in a Male dominated sport – yes – this is a fact, even if you just focus on the strength differences – but if your trying to make it as a Professional Woman Racer in the Industry – it is insanely difficult. While the opportunities seem to be there on the surface its not all that easy to get solid racing support. The Struggle Is Real – but you continue to show your skills and you hope that your results will speak volumes for you.
If we want the sport to be there for the future women racers we need to build that gate – and it starts with us – all of us – all levels. Here we are Dirt Bike Girl Adventures bringing together 2 racers… Paying it Forward…
AMATEUR RACER BROOK BOWLIN! Who is Brooke Bowlin? She is a 10 yr old fifth grader from Timonium, Maryland. She has been riding since she was only 4 yrs old! Not only a motocross racer Brooke has even raced indoor Flat Track and knows how to twist that throttle! As if that’s not enough – Brooke is also quite a swimmer and is currently on a swim team! Brooke is quite an accomplished young racer with a bright future ahead of her. While she has her eyes set on a future in Motocross she seemed like a perfect candidate to partake in The Day In The Life of a WMX Racer…This special day at the track will give Brooke insights on what it means to live this sport to the extreme. It will also present opportunities for her to ask questions and meet those on the top box of the sport. I am so excited to bring these two ladies together and look forward to bring you the report of the day!
My goal is to be one of the most competitive female athletes in the motocross industry. Also to promote motocross so that girls of all ages know that it is possible for females to be competitive in any class of motocross racing… ~Brooke Bowling
Two Days Of Racing!
Brooke will be racing this weekend as well – Saturday and Sunday! Cheer for her as she twists that throttle!!! Follow Brooke on Instagram
A Quote from Becca Sheets after winning at Unadilla:“There were times I got frustrated but you have to remind yourself to breathe because when you get frustrated things get worse”
Current WXC points leader Becca Sheets, continues to showcase her off-road talents, yet this year she seems to be in that “Zone” racers speak of… winning three Grand National Cross Country Series races in a row and sounding extremely confident yet humble in post race interviews.
This could very well be Becca’s year…
If Championships are won by talent and determination then I say this could quite definitely be a Championship year for Becca. However there is no shortage of talent and determination on the WXC line – on any race day you will see a display of women ready to rip the courses holding nothing back. This year the WXC class has been incredibly exciting to follow…yet there is no denying that Becca is also quite consistent this year. With only a few races remaining in the series we’ll soon see who will be on the top box gripping that #1 plate!
Women are no different then men in their strive for success and no place is that more evident then in this sport. The trials on the course are equally endured. Watch any woman work hard to conquer, succeed and continue to improve is an inspiration. N
I hope you enjoy this fun interview with Becca!
How old are you, how many years have you been riding and where do you call home? I am 23 years old I have been riding for 16 years. Ohio is my home!
Relationship Status: Tyler!
Current Bike: 2016 YZ250 FX
Favorite Riding Spot: That’s a tough one. Any place with awesome flowy trails.
Lefty or Righty? Lefty!
Cats or Dogs? We have a cat and a dog. They are both awesome!
2 stroke or 4 stroke? 4 Stroke, but I don’t mind ripping a 125 now and again!
Becca will never leave home without her…….(I don’t even have a creative answer for this!) PHONE.
Did you come from a racing family? My dad raced when I was little, so I’ve always been around bikes. But I have three other siblings and I’m the only one that rides!! My whole family is very supportive of me and always have been! So I’d say we are indeed a racing family.
You have been riding dirt bikes since you were a little girl – have you ever had people tell you that you shouldn’t do this type of sport because you’re a girl? If so what was your response to people like that? I’ve never really had anybody tell me that directly. I think in this day in age there are so many females participating in “men’s sports”, that most people just accept it.
Being a woman racer racing in a male dominated sport – would you say that for the most part the guys you compete with play fair or have you experienced rough tactics out there on the race track that you feel were because they didn’t want to be passed “by a girl”?…
HAHAHA!! I would never say that the guys try to be unfair about it. But I have had some races in the past where I just felt bullied a bit. But hey, that’s racing and it only makes us tougher. (I only cry sometimes)
Is there a woman in the sport either past or present that you admire or look up to if so who and why? When I was younger I always looked up to girls like Tarah Geiger, Sarah Whitmore, and Jessica Patterson. They were and still are successful in this sport and I think that was the coolest thing to me. Now that I’m older I’ve had the chance to race some GNCC’s along side those ladies so I think that’s pretty awesome!
Are you happy with the way women are supported in the industry? Are there improvements that still need to be made that will encourage more female ridership? I really think there are series and companies that give women the support they need. As far as improvements to be made, there’s no one answer. I have a lot of different opinions about us as women in this sport. I could go on and on. The one constant reminder I am given is to just work hard when it doesn’t pay off, keep working. I believe if you work hard and dedicate yourself, the support will come.
What series other than GNCC do you race? I try to do as many of the Full Gas Sprint Enduros that I can (hopefully all of them next season). As for local series I just jump around and race whatever I can!
Congrats on currently being the WXC Grand National Cross Country series points leader! After this latest round at Unadilla you have four wins which is the most out of your WXC competitors this season and with three of those wins being back to back that’s really killer!… This year you seem to have so much more confidence – Without giving away too much – whats going on – whats different – is it a certain level of maturity and gained experience? Bike set-up on point? People in your corner? Peace and Happiness? Well thank you! Honestly, it’s a little bit of everything you said. Last year was my first year on a 4 stroke and the first year for the new YZ250 FX. So we have definitely made some major improvements to my bike set up and I’m a bit more experienced on the four stroke this year. I am surrounded by great people and great sponsors that believe I can win this championship. So it all kind of creates the peace and happiness.
At Unadilla there was another record turnout with over 750 racers in the 10 o’clock show on one of the shortest GNCC courses, which leads me to ask… What is the most challenging part of GNCC? The courses or the lappers? At Unadilla the lappers are definitely more challenging than the course. It just depends on the track really. But all in all I think it’s the combination of the course and the lappers that make GNCC’s challenging as a whole.
If GNCC added a Premier Womens class with payback in the three hour afternoon race, would that be a class you would move up to…even though it may not be the headlining class? If that’s what they decided to do for our class then yes I would. The WXC class is the highlight of the morning race and I think GNCC does a pretty awesome job of showcasing that. And I think sponsors appreciate it as well. So I don’t really see a major benefit of moving our class to a mid pack row in the afternoon race, even if it did have a payback.
Do you have any interest in racing the ISDE? Maybe someday!!
If not racing – what other sport or career would you have wanted to pursue? I’ve always been interested in physical therapy just from having to go through a lot of it. I think I would enjoy helping people get back to playing sports they love after injuries or even helping people with disabilities become stronger.
I know there isn’t much money to be made in off-road – people that focus hard and show up to race on the weekends are usually squeezing it in between a full-time job which makes it difficult to have time to train and ride… How do you balance work and training – What do you do between races to stay prepared? It’s pretty hectic during the weeks throughout race season. Usually as soon as I get off work I’m headed somewhere to ride or cycle. And if I don’t do that because I have things to get done at home, I’ll go for a run and then do things around the house. It’s stressful and I miss out on a lot of things sometimes but it’s all part of the the sacrifices that have to be made. Luckily the people around me understand that which makes it easier on me.
Future Goals?…. Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years? Right now I’m just trying to focus on being the best I can be in the present!
Best piece of riding advise you have been given? “Toes in!”
What advice would you give some of those ladies a few rows back from you in the Amateur Womens class that hope to some day advance to the WXC class and lineup beside you? Just keep working towards your goals. Practice technique on the bike and surround yourself with better riders to learn from. That is one of the things that has helped me improve the most over the last few years.
I know there is a pretty big list of family, friends and sponsors you would like to recognize for their supporting Becca Sheets Racing ~ Please feel free to give a shout out to them! Fly Racing, Maxxis, Seat Concepts, and of course my track crew. Johnny G and Tyler and all my friends and family!
DBGA COMMUNITY QUESTION: Jason Hooper founder of theFull Gas Sprint Enduro Series asks: “How has racing some Full Gas events affected your results at the GNCC‘s?” The Full Gas Sprint Enduros are awesome practice for me. I think it’s pretty challenging to do short sprint races as fast and as perfect as you can, without making a mistake. So for me I have to learn to minimize mistakes at a high speed. I think that has really helped. And racing that series during the GNCC summer break just kind of kept me on my toes. Some of the other girls in the WXC class race the series as well which is cool to me because it’s something we are all fairly new at.
DBGA COMMUNITY QUESTION: Dixie Poe Brooks asks: “What’s the best thing you do “off the bike” that helps you the most “on the bike”?Of course there is cardio and strength training but I really think that when I eat well and get plenty of sleep, I feel the best on the bike. You can be strong and in shape, but if you don’t have the proper energy to utilize it, then it’s not going to come together. I really enjoy cycling and running but everybody is different and benefits from some things more than others. Also, I typically train with guys. They are (almost always) stronger than me so it really helps me push myself!
“Are there certain drills/skill practice that you do on a regular basis that you feel helps you the most?”Practicing basic bike skills and techniques really help me. And when I say techniques, these are all different things I have learned from riding schools and other professional riders along the way. If I ever feel out of a groove or something I just remind myself to look ahead, change my body positioning, whatever it may be that I realize I’m not doing properly. I think knowing to correct those things when I’m having issues is something that helps me on the track. So if you ever have a chance to go to a riding school, it will be worth your time!
Special Considerations: These are all one off’s – meaning there is only one of each available. I will be adding more to the collection as I can. The #DBGA Collection is all about inspiring messages about the sport we love!
*These are not intended for children under 12 years of age and the metals may contain lead – so while you may be tempted… Don’t put them in your mouth!
You never know who you’ll meet any given day at the track… A few weeks ago at the North East 24hr Race in Andover, NY while chatting with another womens 24hr team, I noticed a woman in the next pit over; in her race gear having a rest snacking on berries. There was a rather large Kawasaki profiling nearby – obviously her 24 hr steed. I felt compelled to say HI and have a visit… Her name was Lissa and she was taking a break while the other half of her Duo Team (her husband Rob Aldakimov) was kicking up dust out on the track. I really enjoyed meeting her – she had some real history to share in the sport…even been to Six Days! I felt like I could sit and chat with her for hours but I had to get back to the team – I made a mental note to make sure to reach out to her after the race and so via social networking I found her and am super stoked to share some of her colorful story with the DBGA Community!
Special Note… Don’t waste a chance to make a new acquaintance – stop and say hi!… Most riders are friendly and would love to chat
Meet Lissa Arsenault – Aldakimov!
What is your hometown and how old are you?
“I’m from Millville, NJ originally but now call Pemberton Twp in the Pine Barrens of NJ my home. I have a grateful 36 years on this earth so far.”
When did you start riding?…
“My Grandfather when I was about eight years old gave my older brother an old ’65 Peugeot moped that he could no longer ride. I managed to weasel my way in to ride it a few times which felt natural, but due to a rusty fuel tank and the fuel filter & carburetor constantly clogging up, it was eventually scrapped. My father really didn’t care for motorcycles so once the moped was gone, I knew I couldn’t ask for one.”
As a teen, I saved my babysitting money and bought my first dirtbike, a ’75 Kawasaki F11 250, which didn’t run. I tried to fix it but eventually broke down & took it to a local little repair shop. He quoted me a price to repair it for three times more then what I bought it for, but he had a running ’79 Suzuki TS100 sitting there for sale for less then that. I bought it & brought it home (my older brother helping me pick it up, I wasn’t old enough to drive yet), much to my Dad’s dismay since now I had a “running” motorcycle!”
How were you introduced to the sport?
“Locally riding in a sand pit all the time was pretty boring and the woods beckoned me, but nobody would ride with me beyond the sand pits. By this time I had purchased a hammered ’90 Honda XR250R, but it had disc brakes and actual functional suspension components! In search of other woods rider’s, I discovered the East Coast Enduro Association through some local racers and race flyers. I sent emails out to two local clubs and I joined the first one that got back to me, Competition Dirt Riders… As an Enduro club that also hosted an Hare Scramble, they welcomed me in with open arms at 19 years old.
Tell us about your racing history…
I did my first race – the Delaware Hare Scramble in April of, I think in ’99 after seeing a flyer at the local bike shop. At 18 years old and having never left the state on my own yet, I loaded my bike, grabbed a map and drove south to Delaware. I got soooo lost & wound up in Newark, DE. I managed to get a local at a gas station who was heading in that direction to let me tag along until eventually I found the arrows leading to the event. I showed up too late to sign up, but they told me to ask Charlie Stapleford if I could ride anyway and he let me. I got lost, stuck and everything in-between on that course, but it was awesome!
I did several other Hare Scramble’s after that until I was introduced to Enduros by one of our club members. With some convincing, I tried the Delaware Enduro in ’00. We both rode the Dual-Sport class so I wouldn’t have to be concerned with “houring out” but just finishing, which at around 100 ground miles, I did!
What really attracted me to Enduros was the more technical trail and the amount of seat time…I always felt like I didn’t get to ride long enough at Hare Scrambles but not at the Enduros!
By ’01 I did half a season of racing and a full season of Enduros in ’02 winning the Women’s Class that year. In ’03, I started the season in C-250 and “pointed out” in four races (and won that class for the year too) and had to race in B-250. I continued racing full Enduro seasons in the ECEA and doing well overall in the B class, taking some class wins and finishing as high as 2nd place overall for year-end points (and 5th in B-250 in the National Enduros in ’05 while only doing two National events). Even though in the late 2000’s I had to skip most of some of the seasons…(moved one year, broke my foot the following season, then changed jobs another year!) but I still managed to “point out” of the B class through the AMA and received my A card in early ’09.
My last full season of racing (ECEA Enduro’s) was in ’10 where I managed a 6th overall for year
end points in A-250 on a bike I didn’t quite jive with (had my two worst wrecks during this season). Since then, I’m back on my favorite bikes (modded 300cc kitted ’04 KX250) and have done at least a race or two (if I’m lucky) each year since, but I just can’t afford to compete like I would love too right now. I’m holding out hope for being able to swing full seasons (18 or so races) again within the next two or so years.”
You raced the ISDE?…When, where and what was that experience like for you?
“It was ’03 and I don’t recall entirely how the idea about qualifying to go came about, but I didn’t think I should go at first. My good riding buddy, Bob Eppinger (who’s no longer with us – he passed before I got to show him the skunk striped helmet), basically convinced me. He said “He’d give his left nut to go,” and to just do it. My boyfriend at that time (now husband), built my confidence up, helped me become very proficient at working on my bikes and convinced me that I could do this regardless of how much I discredited myself.
Back then, ISDE didn’t have a Women’s Class, so we had to compete as a Club Team. I was still newer to racing when I went to the ISDE in Fortaleza, Brazil in ’03. It was an experience of a lifetime, but I harbor the disappointment of how it turned out, not just for me but the whole Women’s Team that year. Unfortunately I have never been able to afford to go back and redeem myself. The fuel situation (horrible fuel quality) & course markings (or lack of as some of the locals were pulling them down during the event), between getting lost, emptying my Camelback & running out of gas on the beach more then a few miles from the gas stop in 90+ degree heat, was disappointing. My teammates, Mandi Mastin & Heidi Landon both suffered bad crashes that ended our bid.
No experience is a bad one, I did come away from this having learned a lot.”
Being a female in a male dominated sport – did you ever experience bad sportsmanship from male riders?
“Yes! Totally! Seeing women racing off-road has become quite the norm now-a-days, but it wasn’t when I started. I recall one of the AMA officials at the ’03 ISDE referring to the Women’s Classes & Team as the “Special Olympics” to my mother & me. I had guys in local events early on protest me because I’d beat them.
Once I came into what looked like a check at an event, but there was no visible flags and the three guys standing there wouldn’t talk to me or mark my card, so I rode off. I asked my buddy who was racing on my minute with me at the reset only a mile or so after that if it was a check …and it was!
These are just some of the more blatant examples of misogyny I experienced, but I can not mention these issues without mentioning all the love & support I have also received along the way!
I’m ok with the push back I experienced earlier on (all though it’s gotten considerably better in more recent years), because it wasn’t an issue of me. It was their personal issue! I grew-up coming from a very strong Mom who did what it took to get things done regardless of traditional gender roles. I have never really known where a “women’s place” is because our place has always been anywhere we wanted it to be.”
Is there a woman in the sport that you admire?…
“I grew-up admiring, racing wise, Kathy “Steel Butt” Campbell. She was the first women in the ECEA to become an “A” rider back in a time when the Women’s Classes were still called PowderPuff. I got into racing about the time she retired and though I’ve seen her at her club events a couple of times, GMER, I’ve always been too shy to approach her and tell her that she’s been my inspiration.”
Do you have a favorite riding/racing memory?
“Most of them are good, any day on the bike is better than work! Most recently would be from the Hancock 2-Day dual-sport. My husband, who’s an fast A rider and always has been faster then me, let me lead in a long section and he said short of trying to ride over his head to try and reel me in, I was gone! He was proud of me though I have mixed feelings about screwing up our pecking order, lol!”
What was it like teaming up with your husband to race the North East 24hr Race?
“Working as an team is nothing new for my husband & me. Since ’01, getting to the races was always been a team affair (I’m the official tire changer)! As I became more adept at building and working on the bikes, we’d work tag-team to get them ready for the races. We’re almost always on the same page and we can ride each other’s bike setups even though they’re a bit different. He is my all-time favorite teammate!”
…have you guys done this sorta race before?
“We did the Northeast 24 Hour last year and came in 2nd which was great considering it was only the 2nd race I did last year and the only one Rob did all year. We’d love to do more endurance events like this, but outside of Perry Mountain, this is the only one in the whole Mid-Atlantic & North East.”
Tell us about your bike…
“That’s a loaded question, I could gush for hours about my green machines! We have 16 currently in the garage, but my two babies are a ’03 Kawasaki KX250 (ISDE bike) & my absolute favorite, my ’04 KX250.
The ’04 is a big-bore 300cc, head work with higher compression & jetted for 110 leaded race gas and exhausting through an FMF “Gnarly” expansion chamber & Pro Circuit Type 296 silencer (stealth mode quietness!). I run an E-Line 200 watt lighting coil for lights & flywheel effect (keeps it chugging at zero rpm’s). Works Enduro Rider does the valving for the ’03 KX250 forks up front & ’07 KX250 shock on the rear I use. I topped it off with a 18″ rear rim, WER steering stabilizer & Fasst Co. Flexx Bars. A lot of the goodies on the bike I modified or made myself (seat cover, ICO mount, front brake line tab, air box tabs & braces, etc).
It’s a very underrated bike (having worked in the motorcycle industry for about a decade and having had the opportunity to ride a bunch of different bikes). It’s an phenomenal chassis, very dampened, corners like a razor but stable and has a fantastic power delivery for woods conversion, especially now that it’s a 300!
Where would you like to see Lissain 5 years?…
Living the dream! Racing full seasons again, hopefully, maybe qualifying for another ISDE (and having enough funds to go). Continuing helping the Pine Barrens Adventure Camp teaching newbies how to utilize their Adventure bikes off-road. Just being healthy, happy & hitting life at 100%!
Do you have any thoughts on where the sport is heading regarding womens racing?
“I can see the change in acceptance of girls racing with more and younger girls at the starting lines. How with each passing generation the boundaries that each prior generation broke being built upon by the following. With that said, the younger generations needs to understand and respect the push-back that the pioneers of our sport faced and the determination they had to persevere against that adversity. They opened those doors of acceptance that we take for granted today. I don’t trust the mainstream magazines to give us our due (granted the amount of women racers, though growing, is still dwarfed by the amount of men, particularly off-road) but I hope the recognition that is deserved will be given in due time.”
Is there somewhere in-particular that you feel improvements are needed to build ridership?
“I’ve seen over the years a lot of the Dad’s I competed against getting their daughters into racing. I think parents seeing other women racers opens their minds up to the possibilities that dirtbikes and racing aren’t exclusive to men. That a father & daughter as well as mother & daughter can share that bonding time that dirtbikes and racing offer. I believe more women racers encourage & inspire others to try their hand at it. It’s a social mentality thing, eliminating gender roles, which opens up opportunities & possibilities for both men & women! I feel this will ultimately improve ridership.”
Best advice you were given regarding riding?
“In order to finish first, first you must finish.”
What words of advice would you give a new rider?
“With so much focus on the riding aspect, the bike & it’s set-up is so often overlooked, even by some really fast guys! Learn how to work on your bike. Learn it inside & out. Know what proper jetting feels like, what sounds are normal and what isn’t. Learn about proper suspension setup and tuning, play with the clickers. Read as much as possible and get a good understanding of how it all meshes. Carry a fanny pack with the common tools for your bike, be self-sufficient! This has saved me so many times. I can tell when my bike is off, or has a new vibration, or change a tube trail side, or swap a clutch at a lunch stop, or make a repair after a crash & keep going!”
What is your Dream Bike?
I have it right now, but if Kawasaki wanted to take the work out of it for me and build a KX300 2str on the older chassis & engine platform, I’d be eternally grateful!
Who would you like to give a Shout Out to?
“First & foremost, I gotta thank my husband. I learned a lot from him and he’s always been my biggest supporter! My Mom for the toughness. My Dad & my siblings because they’re crazy & awesome! And lastly, Grandpop Butter for my love of motors!”
I absolutely love learning about some of the kick-butt women that race. Their stories are as captivating as they are inspiring… and I couldn’t wait to introduce you to this woman, Veronica Whitesell – not only a force on 2 wheels – shes successfully rocking it on 4 wheels now racing UTV’s as well as owning a dealership! So lets get to it – Meet VERONICA…
Hometown and Age- 31 Marshall, IL
How did you get started in riding off-road? How old were you?– I went to college for training and showing horses in Terre Haute, IN. I was a scholarship rider for our nationals team and ended up working at the barn and training school horses in between classes. That’s where I met this guy who was bringing his niece for riding lessons at the school. He was single, had his own business and raced dirt bikes. We started hanging out with the same people and eventually started dating. I was showing horses every where, and he was racing all over the country. I was 19 and he was 27. Neither of us expected it to last long, but I bought a dirt bike anyway. I wasn’t suppose to be riding because if I got hurt, I couldn’t fulfill my scholarship duties. I was 20 when I bought my first bike, a 2004 KTM 125 SX. I didn’t really start riding until a year after I graduated from SMWC (2008). So we (Nolan and I), started going to some of the AMA District 17 races in 2008 and had a blast!! Needless to say I was hooked.
When did you start racing? Did you take to it right away? What series did you race? I had been to a lot of races with Nolan and knew one day I wanted to give it a try but at the time I was riding horses for a living and training students. I always had this thought in my head… if I got hurt, I couldn’t work and feed myself. The horse market was falling apart in early 2008 and I had the opportunity to go work for Marathon Pipe Line so I took it. That’s when I decided I wanted to try this racing thing and ride a bunch. So at that point, I owned a dirt bike for 3 years and only rode it about 6 times. So when I started racing, I tried a 250 XCF, and decided that was the bike I wanted. We decided to race a full year in 2009 of the AMA District 17 where I ended up second for the Women’s class. At the end of that season, I raced the Ironman GNCC in Crawfordsville IN, which is an hour from us, and decided that in 2010 I would go to the national level and race a season in GNCC’s.
It seems like you have done quite a bit of different riding – what is your preference?… Scrambles, Moto – Endurocross? By far my favorite is Endurocross. I have raced as many different things as a person could. I wanted to try it all. I’ve raced GNCC, NEPG, EHSA, EX. I’ve qualified for Loretta’s Regionals multiple times, but have never went. Moto is fun, but not a fav of mine. Local hare scrambles and enduros are a blast. But my go to will always be Endurocross. It takes a lot of talent to do a single lap at EX. So many people won’t even attempt it because its very hard, and the tracks can be very intimidating. But what EX is for me, is how far I can push the envelope. How far I can push myself, and how hard something looks at first, and after a few attempts it’s not so bad. Some of the top athletes have planned on racing Endurocross. Showed up, walked the track, loaded up and went home. EX can be that intimidating that even the best walk away and don’t try. That has always made me want to do it more. Its a humbling sport. It takes more than just being able to twist the throttle to excel at it. The only thing that comes close for me is racing an Extreme Enduro. If its considered extreme, I’m usually in. Its as much as a mental fight as it is physical. From east coast, to west coast, all of the hard and extreme riding I’ve done all comes down to if I believed in myself… I had to believe 100%.
Being a woman in a mostly male dominated sport – did you ever have to deal with people giving you a hard time on the track? Any rough tactics out there? If so – how did you deal with that? You know it really hasn’t been that bad. I was raised on a farm and wasn’t pampered with barbie dolls and tea parties growing up. Guys can get rough on the track, but usually if you get them elbows up, you can bully them around more. I’ve been pushed around by some, and some I was able to bump off the track in retaliation, lol. But once you go out there and show them you are there to race, and you are as good as they are, they usually respect you. That’s one of the good things about racing some local races, everyone gets to know you and respects you. But to be honest, there is nothing more grueling that racing the women’s class in Endurocross. In the past the women have been allowed to race the men’s amateur class to get more track time at EX. I won’t lie, racing the men’s amateur class is nothing in comparison to how intense the women’s is. The guys are all laid back, and easy going. The women will kill you every chance we get lol.
Is there a race or ride in-particular that is super memorable to you?… I kind of have 3, but my most memorable ride would be last summer in Perris, CA and Barstow. It rained while we were out at Colton Haakers track in CA. It was amazing to ride his EX track. But the cool thing was it rained, and they hadn’t seen rain in forever. Everything turned to chocolate cake and everyone wanted to go to the hills and canyons to ride. I was staying with Morgan Tanke, (one of my west coast home away from homes), and we decided to go to Barstow to the canyons. Being an East coaster it was awesome. I’ve ridden a bunch of stuff out west, but Barstow was one of a kind. It was white and crazy technical stuff and just a crazy ride. Then Morgan and I almost died on the way home. It rained so hard off the mountain that the interstate almost washed out, LOL. My 3rd most memorable, is riding the 3/4 mile hot lap on Pro day at the TKO last year. Being brave enough to go down the waterfall section was a highlight of my life. I’ve never ridden anything that technical. If anyone ever says its not that hard, just YouTube it.. It makes most people pucker lol… But it made me realize I have accomplished so much as a rider and my racing career.
What improvements in the industry do you feel need to be made to build more female ridership? I think more series need to pay the pro women. So many Nationals series don’t pay the pro women…as if we don’t put out as much effort as men. But if you think about the industry as a whole, women really have a lot of say. When men go to buy a new dirt bike, who do they ask? Their wife. Women are also most of the time included in deciding if their kids will ride and race. Women do a lot of the shopping when it comes to gear and sometimes even parts. Women have more influence in the industry when it comes to consumables
than people realize. I would think a series that makes money from people buying bikes and bringing them to race would want to pay the Pro women who have as much sponsorship opportunities as the men. Some series pay… National Hare and Hound pays well, the Endurocross used to pay the women and Jason Hooper pays his Pro women class in the Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series. I know the regional series called Crossroads also pays the Pro WXC Women. Series who are putting efforts out like this are refreshing and make more women want to race those series.
What is 406Off Road? 406 Off Road is a
business I started when left my job in 2015 with Marathon Pipeline. 406 has always been my AMA number. I wanted to start something, so 406 Off Road it was. I bought into Tucker Rocky just to help my racing efforts and to be able to help some friends. We have always worked on bikes for others, but never actually had a shop. Three years ago we were going to have a Beta bike dealership but we ended up giving it to a friend of ours that had a shop because we were not in the right position. We never intended on building a shop but here we are, new shop, new showroom, Tucker Rocky and so many other distributors and also getting ready to take on Beta in a few weeks. We built this shop on 100 acres we bought this past winter… Its next to our sawmill and also along a creek that about 30-40 people cruise with ATV’s and UTV’s every weekend in the summer. So we do a little bit of everything, from building fresh race bikes, to fresh UTV’s along with working on vintage and even old ATV’s.
So what got you off of 2 wheels and onto 4? Are you racing UTV’s as well? How is that going? – Its actually going really well. I’ve been on the podium in the Pro men’s class 2/ 7 races. My first race out I was 3rd, which was crazy. I’ve never raced anything with 4 wheels before. This all came about when my hubby decided he wanted to race UTV’s. When I decided to race Endurocross the last 4 years, he decided to retire from professional 2 wheel racing and wrench for me. Nolan has championships and also has had a lot of help from a lot of people over the years racing dirt bikes. He has been the best coach and wrench anyone could ask for but I know he was wanting to do something else with racing. So he found a little 800 UTV and we started driving the crap out of it, along with a little 50” trail UTV my dad had. We had so much fun that we decided to give racing them a try. So we went and bought two 2016 900S models. Its a giant learning curve on just to build them. The cost to build not only 1, but 2 was a little eye opening. Now try to do this while you are also building a shop and inventory and stuff like that.. Its a little nerve racking… lol. You also can’t haul a 900S in the back of a cargo van like a bike so we had to find a truck and trailer to haul 2 of them around. Now we have a 4500 4 door Chevy with a 30 ft trailer on it… We are excited but also back in race mode. Which means we will do what it takes to win championships. Its different working as a team, because we are fielding multiple cars in the same class and that has never happened for us before. We are currently 50% for races vs podiums which is great for a new start in a new form of racing. Funny story, I almost got my 9 stuck a few weeks got at a race. I made a rookie mistake and listened to a spectator about a line. Needless to say I had to swim my way out and end up getting winched out. But it only cost me 7:00 and I ended up 3rd in the Pro of 10 or so… it could have been way worse lol.
You are an riding instructor?…(tell us a little about that) Any girls we should be on the look out for in the near future?!– What a lot of people don’t know about me is I actually went to school and earned a B.S. in Teaching and Instruction with an emphasis on Coaching. I have coached multiple riders to national and reserve national titles on horse back, now I’m working my way to doing this on 2 wheels. I have given lessons and coached since I was 10 years old. I started out in my 4-H group giving horse riding lessons. I gave lessons and broke 2 year olds to ride. That’s how I made money up until I went to college. Now I give lessons on 2 wheels, and love every minute of it. I have kids as young as 4 all the way up to 50 yrs old’s. I have C level riders to A level riders. Its so much fun to see a rider put it together. I’ve always been a believer of leading a student to find the answer instead of giving them the answer. Most coaches can tell a student to go do something and do it this way. But not all riders are the same and everyone has a weakness. I exploit those weakness’s and try to make the student better. But I understand as a women that not all riding styles work for everyone either. For example: most male teachers I’ve had, will tell me to stand up thru a rock section…that is the fastest and correct way thru it. But for my ability, sometimes I sit through them and get through them clean and just as fast as some who stands up. Now, eventually I will stand up through all of them but until then I am doing it the way in which I use less energy and can clean the section. Teaching and coaching for me is awesome. I’ve wanted start a program for years, but haven’t felt like I had adequate enough experience. Someone finally pointed out to me this winter that I have more than enough experience and my racing career is impressive enough to be able to do that. Many people believe that you have to have many national championships in order to be qualified as a good trainer/coach. That may be true… but not all riders who can earn championships can teach.
Is there a female rider/racer that inspires you? – I have had many racers that have influenced me. My first hero was Mandi Mastin. She was really the first lady of off road and I actually got to kind-of team up with her one year for GNCC’s. Its pretty awesome getting to not only meet your hero, but ride with them. My next hero was Maria Forsberg (Hahn). She came out of the west and was the first lady to receive a factory ride for off road with KTM. I got to know her thru Endurocross and GNCC’s and she is really awesome and down to earth. She inspires me still to this day with being a bad ass mom and all the awesome stuff her and her family do. My recent influence is Sandra Gomez. I knew of Sandra and her brother thru racing, and finally got the opportunity to meet her at one of the Endurocross’s early last year. She came over from Spain by herself, a family out west hauled her bike around for her and sometimes she stayed with them. Her and I became awesome friends and would meet up once we both go to what ever hotel we were staying in for EX, and we would always go get dinner. We are on way different time zones and do a lot of Instagram and Facebooking together. Not only is she a bad ass, but she does whatever it takes to win championships. She raced with a broken foot for 4 rounds in a row and didn’t even get to practice at all during the day…yet was able to come out of the gate and win many of those races with a broken foot. I have met some of her friends and family and got to experience food from Spain. Its fun to call ourselves her American family! I never would have thought 2 wheels would gain me friends not only all over the country but also the world!! And don’t forget Morgan Tanke. She inspires me because she is a ginger. Morgan and her family give me a home in CA and there the best 2nd family I could ask for. Morgan is my teammate with Beta. She is short, but has more skill and balance than most people could ever dream, especially in Endurocross. She is willing to do whatever it takes to win championships and her racing career is just starting. Its fun to see what she is capable of!!
Where would you like to see Veronica Whitesell in 5 years?– I would like to see myself have the opportunity to race a truck in Baja. This a goal of both my hubby and myself and it will be interesting to see if we can achieve it. I have been exploring the idea of building a pro 2 or 4 truck in a few years for short track. We are trying some Short track with the UTV’s this year and will be interesting to see what we can get done. In 5 years I hope we have the right people in place to keep our business running smoothly so we can go on extended trips. Our goal isn’t to sell out and retire, but to put the right people in place and have passive income from our business and be able to have extended stays out west.
Favorite piece of advice you have been given about riding?– My favorite advice would have to be to not compare yourself to the style and ability of another rider. I am so guilty of this myself. I look at how far others have come, or what they are capable of now, and judge myself according to them. Thats not fair. You as a rider can only judge yourself with how far you have come and your own capabilities. There is no way everyone can be a Russell or a Forsberg or Gomez of our time…but we can all have our own style and work hard to improve our ability.
What advice would you give a new rider? My advice would be to always have fun. If ever it becomes not fun, go do something else. There is a fine line between having fun while doing well, and not having fun and not doing well. Most riders do well when they are having fun but also being competitive. Most riders who fall off the fun-wagon are not doing well and are beating themselves up trying to do well. Having fun is going to lead to doing better and becoming a better rider over time. So get going and have fun!!
Some day you’d like to ride… where____________. Some day I still want to race overseas. I have this idea that Baja and Score is where I want to be racing soon, so we will see. But racing outside the USA sounds awesome!!
Anyone you would like to give a shout out to? I would like to give a shout out to my husband Nolan Whitesell who always puts up with me. For trusting me to put this program together and to taking the leap of faith not only in being married but also to owning and running multiple business with me. To packing up everything we own and driving out west for races. To my dad for always believing in me 100% no matter what. My mom for always worrying about my safety and never understanding this racing thing. I’m sorry dirt bikes have caused you not to have grand-kids.
I want to give shout outs to DQ, thanks for hanging with me all the time, and listening to me complain about things, and eating dinner with me and giving me a roommate and flying places with me. Shout out to our buddy Kevin, who is always there whenever we need him. Shout out to Alan Stillwell and all the guys at Stillwell Performance. Thanks for a place to stay and all the advice even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear!! Thanks to Destry Abbott for all the training and advice.. You are one of the baddest dudes I’ve ever met…keep fighting, we are behind you!!
For all those people who stand behind my racing career and support me now matter how I do. Beta USA, Vee Rubber and all the guys in GA thanks so much for your continued support. Maxima, we have more adventures to go. VP racing fuels, Dirt Tricks, ARC levers, Shades of Gray MX, HBD Motografx, and FMF. Thanks to Tucker Rocky and MSR for always being there when I needed you most… You make my program a success each day from lessons to racing. And to the guys at Rekluse… You guys have always been there for us!! From day 1 to 9 years later. You have always given us a home while in ID and always been super cool to hang with on the road, you guys are like family!!!
Dirt Bike Girl Adventures Northeast 24hr Team Member
KRISTINA ZMUDA…(in her own words)
Dirt Bike Girl Adventures CEO, Crew Chief, Team Rider, Ms. Nancy Sabater went
above and beyond to bring together a group of women to share this 24HR adventure and create some amazing memories that will last a lifetime. Our crew chief Sabater, had iced water, tons of Nature’s Bakery 100% Natural Fig Bars, fresh fruit, cupcakes (totally a pick‐me‐up a few hours in!), set‐up our pits, and had all the corners covered for the team to just show up and be ready to ride! She even made these crazy foam fingers with painted finger nails with motivational sayings that I think all the racers enjoyed, specially my favorite man Tim Nienow racing on our neighbors team.
MEET ‘N GREET –
Most of us women had no idea who we’d be meeting up with. But that is half the fun. My theory is if there is a girl who wants to ride a dirt bike, I am 110% sure I will totally get along and have a good time with her! Saturday morning before the race we all had a chance to meet, check out each other’s awesome rides/setups, and discuss our plan and how awesome the next 24HRs together was going to be!
FOUR UMBRELLA GIRLS‐ I was the lucky rider who had the pleasure of having 4 umbrella girls on the line before the race….now that is a new one for me! It was awesome to have the support, smiles, and encouragement at the start of the race. The team got lucky and got the hole shot…which meant NO DUST! The first lap was really feeling out the course and terrain how the bike moved around and underneath you. I found out fairly fast it was some silky silky dirt and I took a dirt sample a few miles in and took the bars to my stomach. The second lap went a little better and I was super excited to come into the pits and hand off the baton (Velcro strap) to Heidi. Each girl did awesome going out and doing their 2 laps. It’s always tricky jumping in the middle of the race not knowing if a ton of fast guys are about to pass you or who you will be riding by leaving the pits. I was super proud of each teammate doing 2 laps a piece in the dusty conditions!!
NIGHT RIDING ‐
The race started like any other race…..just….it kept going…and going…and never stopped. So at first it was just like any other race….and not until 6‐8 hours in did it really start to feel like a 24HR race. The hardest 2 laps I had to ride were the transition between daylight and nighttime. It was very hard for your eyes to adjust from light in the field sections to dark in the woods. The night got really tough, really fast. I am sure all riders out there would agree. Although the conditions absolutely sucked, black dusty cloud with barely any visibility at times. I did my best to say to myself, “Just try to find ANYTHING to focus on a tree, corner, rut whatever is coming up next instead of the dust or negative thoughts.” This really helped to keep me and the bike moving forward and mentally moving forward as well. On top of that I would remind myself “When else are you going have this awesome opportunity with these ladies? These bad conditions and race will be over before you know it so push through! “ By far my favorite thought was “Hey, it’s 3AM and I’m riding my dirtbike!!!…lol” and I was so tired I did literally laugh out loud!
The awesome part of the night riding was the moon. There was a huge glowing moon at certain parts of the course if you weren’t getting blown by left in dust. It was quite spectacular to see the moon while out there.
In the pits it was great waiting for your turn to go back out because we were all “funny‐tired”. No matter what we said or did we pretty much just laughed way to much over it. (Except the foam fingers… For the record I never laughed once at those fingers or made fun of them.) When it was time to go back out some Monster & Midol is pretty much what kept me going. Yes, I am being honest it’s the M&M special that can get you through any tough race (of course after eating all the right macro nutrients and electrolyte drinks)! You laugh now until you try it next time…..
Soon the sun was rising and I would say this was my FAVORITE part of riding throughout the 24 Hrs. It was awesome to see it getting more and more light out. What was even cooler was the lighter out it got, the more and more fast you started to ride and it felt like you were flying compared to night riding! I did a few laps in the early morning and the team then carried us from there to the finish line.
All the ladies did an amazing job of figuring out where they could contribute on and off the bikes to get through the 24HR and that is what is the most important on a team. Just as the conditions of the course changed and lighting changed, we had to adjust as a team and come up with a plan. This is my favorite part of team events; you have to do what works best for your teammates and team. I was honored to start the race out and ride a few extra laps at night. And I truly enjoyed watching each teammate go out to ride and then they’d come back to the pits super excited about riding and talking away about the course and how they did.
If you ever have the chance…GO RACE A 24HR RACE….you won’t regret it!!!!
FULL DISCLOSURE: Yummy – Cupcakes were provided by Samantha and Roman Kilgore – they were Husqvarna blue and yellow!
Dirt Bike Girl Adventures Northeast 24hr Team Member
MARINA GRUBB… (in her own words)
My 24 hour reflection? Lets start from the beginning… My husband called me and said he was just asked on Wednesday to be part of a team.. I said “WHAT ABOUT ME, I WANT TO RACE TOO” He said, NO… you can’t, it’s all full. Well, one quick visit to Facebook and a post later I found the possibility of joining DBGA….I called him and told him and he said “WHAT?” he has told me before not to race, We mostly enjoy Hatfield McCoy Trails, and Poker runs.. But a 24 Hour Enduro—– with Girls—– I”m in !
Lucky me.. Samantha’s husband saw my post on Facebook and told DBGA about me… Nancy contacted me and and wanted a full riding history report… Hmm, no racing history, attempted a GNCC and failed (ran out of gas) but, what I think caught her attention was that my bike of choice is a 450…lol….. But anyway, we clicked and she invited me to join the 24 hour race.
We drove 4 hours to NY, upon seeing all the tents, and the roped off track made me both nervous and excited. As we stopped the RV to look around, Lucky me, we were sitting right in front of Nancy’s rig. , Nancy and Heidi were sitting out front, and said, “There’s Marina! I jumped out and met my first couple team members, then we took our first selfie. The “Pre Race Selfie” “the one
where we are all alive and well, with no bruises and such. Samantha showed up a few minutes later. It was great to meet women that shared the same desire of riding like I do. They were telling stories of racing, but for me, I didn’t have much to say…but Tomorrow is a new Day! Tomorrow we unite as DBGA!
I awoke the next morning, did I really sleep? I don’t think so. My heart rate was 120 bpm. I tried to relax.. Nothing worked.. I even did yoga. My rotation spot was 5th, I thought I would have a heart attack to wait so long. Things were looking great, Our TOP GUN-Kristina quickly showed her skills, nabbing the hole-shot and getting an early lead and finishing lap two in first place. Next up was Heidi, then Nancy and then Samantha who each did two laps. Finally, it was my turn, they put the velcro strap on and
I was out of there…. Dust! Lots of Dust! Reminded me of chasing my husband on snowmobiles where it’s a complete white out, only this time it’s hot and sticky. The trail was much more narrow that what I’m used to and the dust piles turned into dust bowls that would swallow your front wheel. On my first lap, anxiety went away, and I was getting into a nice rhythm, then all of a sudden a guy slammed into me, breaking my kick stand right off the frame jamming my leg underneath the motorcycle… Thanks Mr Kick-Stand Breaker, I always wanted to know what a mouthful of silt tasted like, as I lay there with a 250 lb bike on top of me….and he rode off faster than he hit me. Lucky for me, when I finished lap two, I improved by two seconds…. Hurray!. Soon the sun settled, and I knew it was going to be different riding in the dark. My next turn was supposed to be around midnight. I installed an LED light on my helmet thinking I could see better, well, sorta. As soon as someone passed you, the light reflected the dust and it was totally blinding and the ruts got bigger and roots got more exposed, But, I was having a great time regardless and did two laps.
I was thankful to the team for letting me ride the last leg of the race.. It was great to see my whole team waiting at the checkered flag for me. We did it! WE survived! WE came together, and we only finished two laps down from the Pro’s. How great is that! I was sad to see it come to an end.. I can’t wait to do more rides with the great group of ladies, known as DBGA 2016!
Special thanks to Nancy for being a great captain, host, and believing in me. I hope to be part of DBGA in the future. Rock On!
1. A female worker or athlete of great physical endurance who can be depended upon to perform a given task or job tirelessly.
You couldn’t help to notice the two die-hard women on the Northeast 24hr course…Both women lap after lap in the afternoon light to the pitch black of night carrying on into the golden rise of the morning sun. They passed me on the trail effortlessly – no display of their inner struggles or hardships – they were committed to continue – their goal not yet met – the race was tight and exciting – we all looked on encouraging both as they throttled on…
I feel their journeys should be documented, they are inspirational and we can all learn from their experiences and celebrate their efforts and talents!
Team #701 Morgantown Powersports/ MCI Racing
24 HOURS ~ 21 LAPS = 252 MILES
Where do you call home? Brownsville, Pennsylvania
How old are you and how long have you been riding? I’m 29 yrs old and have been riding dirt bikes for 9 yrs.
How did you get into riding (how old were you and what was your
first bike)? In 1999 (I was 13), my dad took me to watch my first Pro MX National Race at High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, PA. After that, dirt bikes were an addiction. For Christmas 2000, I received a brand new Yamaha 250 Bear Tracker! (Not a dirt bike, but hey beggars can’t be choosers, right?!) My husband Tony actually bought me my first dirt bike in 2007 (I was 20) a TT-R 125. From there I went to his hand-me-down YZ125. Then I got an ’02 KTM 200 and began racing hare scrambles, AWRCS Race Series, and my first race was a muddy mess and it took me 2hrs – 30mins to complete ONE LAP! I remember finishing and Tony telling me that was the toughest race that he had ever raced also and if I could finish that one, I could finish anything!
What race series do you follow? I’m currently racing The New East Coast XC (NECXC) where I race in the C24-29 class and Mountain State Harescramble (MSHS) Series where I race the women’s class. I haven’t had the opportunities to race much of GNCC this year in 2013 we did the entire series and I finished 2nd in the year for the Women’s Amateur class. This year I made an appearance at the GNCC Snowshoe race (my favorite) and sadly snapped my chain approx. 1 mile into the race. I’m planning on attending the closer GNCCs this year.
What made you decide to Iron-woman the NE24hr race? My buddy AW DeMott actually recruited me for this event. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to but I contacted my sponsor, Morgantown Powersports (MPS) they have always been great… They really stepped up for me on this one, especially helping me out on lighting for my bike, That was a big expense. I knew I would have the heart to finish as long as my bike held up. I have always done well with endurance for very tough races, the great Barry Hawk once named me “Tuff Tiff” and that has always stuck with me!
Have you ever done anything like that? Not a 24hr race, I have done 100 mile races at AWRCS race series which are typically 4 – 4 1/2hrs long.
What were some of the things you did to prepare yourself and your bike for such a feat? Well my bike certainty needed some TLC, my husband Tony is my mechanic and did a fresh rebuild and new chain and sprockets along with additional maintenance. DGS Suspension did my suspension. Again, MPS and Task Racing worked together to get my lighting. I contacted my local gym, West Brownsville Athletic Club and told them about this upcoming event and they were great,.. They sponsored me with a 6 month gym membership, I was thrilled, it’s a really great facility!
What bike did you ride for this race? HAROLD! That’s right, he has a name! He’s a 2006 KTM 200xc!
Have you ever ridden at night before? I went on a few short evening trail rides with my friends a few weeks prior. The Wednesday night before the race a group of us went out till after midnight for a test-n-tune on our lights.
What was that experience like for you? Badass! Iplan on doing a lot more night riding for sure! Dust is an issue, which there was plenty of that at the 24HR! lol We learned throughout the race that the amber lights help slightly in the dust as well.
How did you stay motivated throughout the 24hrs? Well I think people will tell you I am just naturally motivated when it comes to racing. Even under the worst conditions I seem to still have a smile on my face. I just took it one lap at a time. My pit crew really made it fun as well, at night for instance, they took glow sticks and zip tied them all over my wheel spokes and all over Harold!
Did you ever “hit the wall” so to speak – can you remember a time that you were really struggling to ride and ride safely? I really focused on pacing myself for this one. My forearms gave me the worst problems, that was hard to push through. We actually took youth riding socks, cut the feet out of them, pulled them over my forearms like a compression wrap and duct taped them there! It helped. (I wasn’t out to win any fashion contest) lol Around 1am I really started to wear down a bit and my buddy AW asked if I would like to try some “Thrive”? I told him I would try anything he gave me! lol It’s slightly hard to explain but basically it’s a combination of 2 capsules, a shake and these patches that you place on you that have vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc… etc… Well hell, I went out feeling completely refreshed! I give a lot of credit to that Thrive for getting me through the race, and when I got home ordered some immediately, I am a believer in the stuff!
Most memorable part of the race? The pink flamingo pit and the pit with the couch! We will be stepping up our pit area for next year!
Did you have any mechanical issues out there? Around 2am I crashed hard on the 2nd mile hill, busted my radiator, had to finish the rest of the course back to the pit and just praying I didn’t hurt my bike. But we made it back and Tony got it changed out for me! Then right before sunrise, not far from the 1 mile marker, my bike just bogged out, I didn’t have any tools with me. I waited around but didn’t have a track sweep come by so I figured I wasn’t far from the pits, so hoofed it back to my pit, Tony came and we changed my spark plug and got it running but I went another mile and it bogged out again. So thankfully a track sweep came through and got someone to tow me back up to the pits, Tony then had to clean out my carb, my main jet was plugged. But he got me back out there!
How much fuel did you use? 15 gallons
Did you have to change tires?No
Any advise you would like to share to someone who is contemplating taking on this challenge? Just pace yourself, stay hydrated and HAVE FUN WITH IT!
Are you interested in doing this race next year? Absolutely!
Looking back is there anything you would like to do differently next year? This was defiantly a learning experience, we have many adjustments that will be made for next year….
Who would you like to give a shout out to – people you’d like to thank?
*God for keeping me save and giving me the strength to do what I love, my husband Tony, my pit crew, all my friends at home that have helped me prepare for this race, Morgantown Powersports, DGS Suspension, MCI Racing, 343 Graphix, Sparky, Momma Lisa, West Brownsville Athletic Club, GP Graphics, 303 Masonry, AW DeMott and the Bunch-a-Drunks team, and the Second String team and Thrive.
1. A female worker or athlete of great physical endurance who can be depended upon to perform a given task or job tirelessly.
You couldn’t help to notice the two die-hard women on the Northeast 24hr course…Both women lap after lap in the afternoon light to the pitch black of night carrying on into the golden rise of the morning sun. They passed me on the trail effortlessly – no display of their inner struggles or hardships – they were committed to continue – their goal not yet met – the race was tight and exciting – we all looked on encouraging both as they throttled on…
I feel their journeys should be documented, they are inspirational and we can all learn from their experiences and celebrate their efforts and talents!
Team: #700 PHASTERDAMNIT
24 HOURS ~ 17 LAPS = 204 MILES
Where do you call home? My hometown is Lyons, NY
How old are you and how long have you been riding? I’m 24 years old, and have been riding for just 2 solid years
How did you get into riding (how old were you and what was your first bike)? I was 8 years old when I started riding. I raced a KTM 50 on flat track at Paradise Speedway along with my brother and dad.
What race series do you follow? Currently I don’t follow a race series. I recently just finished my first GNCC and WNYOA race a few weekends ago and look forward to many more!
What made you decide to Iron-woman the NE 24hr race? Have you ever done anything like that? So what made me want to Ironwoman? I’ve always been a competitive person. I naturally take responsibility for myself whether it’s succeeding or failing. It’s the challenge and mental toughness it takes that I enjoy. I went to the Perry Mountain 24 Hour challenge in Alabama with my brother as support in 2012. So when Arcadia Bark Busters decided to host one close to home, it was a no‐brainer to do it. Last year was my first 24 hour race and it was a blast!
What were some of the things you did to prepare yourself and your bike for such a feat? To physically prepare for this race, a little gym time, running and hydration‐hydration. I finally had my suspension setup, lowering my bike which has made an amazing difference! Thanks to Steve Mathewson, you rock.
What bike did you ride for this race? I race a 2004 KTM 200 EXC.
Have you ever ridden at night before? What was that experience like for you? I rode last year at the 24 hour race at night for the first time‐it was horrifying! Thankfully with adding another Task Racing light it made this year’s experience much better. A little less dust next time please!? Lol
How did you stay motivated throughout the 24hrs? To stay motivated I had a goal set from last year, and it was great to have competition to keep me going. My dad who we don’t call “Maddog” for nothing was there to push me along with my boyfriend. My brother and his team “Bushwackers 2.0” shared some wise advice to keep me going and entertained. I had a support system to keep me encouraged through the whole event which was awesome!
Did you ever “hit the wall” so to speak – can you remember a time that you were really struggling to ride and ride safely? . I “hit a wall” around 4:30am when I thought making up 3 laps was out of reach. So silly me, I took a nap. 24 Hours seems like forever, but it’s truly not enough time allowing you to sleep when you’re racing! Lesson learned.
Most memorable part of the race? My most memorable moment, is hopping back on the bike in the morning to ride 3 more laps after basically already calling it quits. That was a tough feeling to fight but I did it!
Did you have any mechanical issues out there? How much fuel did you use? Did you have to change tires? No major mechanical issues (you’re welcome Maddog) just spark plugs, lots of air filters and gas!
Any advise you would like to share to someone who is contemplating taking on this challenge? My advice for the challenge: There’s always more gas in your tank than you think (metaphorically) and don’t sleep! You can sleep when it’s over. Lastly, remember to have fun that’s what it’s all about.
Are you interested in doing this race next year? As far as next year’s event, when are sign ups!? Looking forward to it 😀
Looking back is there anything you would like to do differently next year? Next year, I plan to keep the gas on longer and hammer down harder. There is much fun to be had on the trails, not resting!
Who would you like to give a shout out to? People that helped you make this happen? Any sponsors you would like to thank? A HUGE shoutout to my dad “Maddog”, my brother Seth, and boyfriend Rick for making it all happen for me. I could not do it without the 3 of them, they support me in every way and I can’t thank them enough. Also Jake Dennis and the rest of Arcadia Bark Busters for putting on this event, you all are awesome human beings, thank you all!
Dirt Bike Girl Adventures Northeast 24hr Team Member
SAMANTHA KILGORE… (in her own words)
When Nancy asked us ladies to write something up for the DBGA page on our experience at the Kenda 24 North East Challenge I thought to myself, “where do I even begin in sifting through all of the emotions from this event?” So, I’ll do my best to articulate my experience from start to finish.
I met Nancy at the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro in Romney, WV a few months ago. This was my first race of the season so I was pretty nervous. I was thrilled beyond words that other women were at this event, Nancy being one of the first to introduce herself and make me feel welcomed. To make our new friendship official, we did what any normal person these days does; find each other on Facebook.
Fast-forward about a month or so… I get a message from Nancy telling me about this 24 hour endurance team event in NY. My first thoughts were “is she SURE she wants me on this team?” and “I don’t want to slow these girls down”. She assured me that it was more about fun and less about winning so even though I had my reservations, I agreed.
Time to start training. I trained for this event as much as my schedule and this crazy Maryland weather allowed. If I wasn’t able to ride, I was in the gym working on endurance. Up until the race I was only able to get ONE night ride in, so that whole element was somewhat scary. Before I knew it, it was the week of the race and my nerves let me know it. Random bouts of nervousness kicked in probably early to mid-week, and would strike out of nowhere. My husband, who has been racing for years, was absolutely my rock. He wasn’t able to make the cut off for this race sign-up, so he graciously accepted his role as pit crew, manager, and trainer extraordinaire. He not only prepped my bike and rode with me to train, but drove the whole 6.5 hours to NY. We got to the track early evening, set up, and I went off to meet my team for quick meeting.
I knew Nancy and Kristina prior to this event, so it was my first time meeting Heidi and Marina. It seemed like we grew together as a team seamlessly. As corny as it sounds, it’s like we were meant to be one team because of how well we all instantly clicked. We chatted for a while before it was time to hit the sack and get some much needed rest in preparation for what we were about to embark on.
Morning of the race: First, we could not have asked for a more beautiful weekend. Mid 70’s and sunny. NY was absolutely beautiful. We were all nervous, and I think that Marina and I both shared the same level of anxiety and “what the hell did we get ourselves into” feelings. Kristina, our ringer, race horse, power house, pinnacle of bad-assery jumped right in and took the start for our team and GOT THE HOLESHOT! Our entire team stood by her in the lineup and cheered our butts off when she jumped ahead of everyone!
I was fourth in the lineup, and it became my turn. I talked to the others about conditions, any problems or issues, and just generally tried to keep my composure when my insides were performing Cirque du Soliel acts. When Nancy pitted, dusty but still smiling, it was my turn to rock and roll. I was ready. I had been hydrating, took my Rynopower supplements, and I was ready. Now, I was warned about the dust and how it impacts visibility, but I’m not confident that any articulation of the conditions could adequately prepare me for the impending dust storm that I was getting myself (and my poor lungs) into. The first time I was passed I got a major reality check: this was not going to be an easy 24 hrs.
Holy dust, Batman! Take a big ole fist full of flour and toss it over your head. That’s about the same visibility as this epic dust bowl. First lap went slow, but steady. I usually like ride cautiously the first lap so I can get a feel of the layout. Second lap I was noticeably faster. Picked up my speed significantly and was feeling great. Now, I make this joke about riding that if there is even an ounce of mud on the trail, I’ll find it and fall in it.
I came out of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro looking like swamp thing from falling in the only mud on the course, I even managed to fall during my practice in the mud. I’m just a mud magnet and I accept that. Well, this 24hr was no exception to that muddy, messy curse I have as a rider. 12 miles. 12 miles of beautiful trails and fields and there’s about a 5 foot stretch of mud that I managed to not so graciously swan dive into. Needless to say, my lovely teammates were well aware of my muddy tendencies, and had some good laughs when I made it back to the pits. Only this mud magnet can find a mud pit in otherwise desert conditions, and manage to take samples back to the pit with her. #mudbutt
The evening lap is when our true test of endurance and skill came into play. Due to the driest conditions known to man, even when you weren’t being passed, the particles looked like that of a snow storm when trying to navigate the trails. Heidi, Nancy, and myself all got one lap in each, and it was brutal. My experience in the night lap was one that tested my every fiber. It was rough. And scary. At one point, I got stuck in between two roots on a hill, bike sunken in past the foot pegs in a fluffy, silt-y hell. Luckily, I wasn’t stuck long before a generous Ironman, we will call him Rick, became my knight in dusty armor. Not only did he help a sister out, he made it his mission to stick with me until we completed the lap. Either he could sense my terror, or he was just lonely in his one-man team. Either way, I was thankful for the company and re-assurance. When I came in from my lap, my butt wasn’t the only thing bruised. Luckily my team picked up and continued on while I went back to the trailer and to mentally beat myself up, run through everything that had just happened over and over and over in my head, and try to figure out how to do it better next time. I tried to sleep, but between the bumps, bruises, sore muscles, and the images of the race I wasn’t able to get but maybe an hour or two.
I got back with my team a bit later after the sun came up and it was like the sun was rejuvenating everyone. Kristina was ripping out on the course and Nancy was doing pit boss thing managing both our team and her man’s team, running on zero sleep. Marina was chomping at the bit to get back out there, so as a team we cheered her on as she took the last 2 laps of the 24 hours. We managed to close the gap on the pro girls down to only 2 laps. How stinkin’ cool is that? 2 laps behind the pros? Hell yeah, DBGA! We put our custom shirts that Nancy made us (so cute), and went to the finish line and went crazy for Marina when she took the checkered!
Overall, this experience exerted many different emotions, but the most prominent being pride. I am SO unbelievably proud to be a part of the DBGA team for this 24 hr event, and I honestly cannot thank Nancy enough for thinking to include me as a part of her team. This is one hell of a group of bad ass women! I am so happy to have embarked on this journey with them, and will GLADLY join them for a little throttle therapy… In fact, we are all talking about getting together for rides and ride trips in the near future- this time we may include our husbands too!
It’s so awesome to be a part of this community and become advocates for women riders as it gains momentum in the industry. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for women in the sport!
Dirt Bike Girl Adventures Northeast 24hr Team Member
HEIDI HAWKINS… (in her own words)
My experience at the 24 hour Northeast race…… In one word…. Epic!
I was excited and anxious when I became a member of the Dirt Bike Girl Adventures Team! I had only ridden a few times during 2016. When I arrived at the track and started meeting my teammates one by one, my anxious feelings turned into determination!
My first lap was getting use to riding again and during my second I said to myself,
“Lets do this”. When I went out for my night laps I made a mistake. I did not check my battery for my headlight. So I did one lap and was forced to pit. My 3:00 am-ish lap was crazy and my slowest…The dust was unbelievable. I am not sure if the dew mixed with the dust and made things worse, but I felt like I was in a volcanic ash cloud.
I stayed up for my teammates the entire time and also served as my hubby’s duo pit crew. We came in second and ended up losing to a pro team by two laps. We also beat many guy teams…
I am so proud of every teammate!! I am blessed to have met some lifetime friends. It is great to meet girls who ride.
One of the funniest moments was when we tried to figure out how many laps we did on our fingers after many hours of no sleep.
If I get to do this again I want to ride more laps, check my battery at least four times before I head out on the track and ride more before the race… I hope to be on the #DBGA team again.
Team DBGA put in a full 24hrs of racing and we Rocked It!
26 Laps = 312 Miles
Kristina Zmuda 11
Heidi Hawkins 4
Nancy Sabater 4
Samantha Kilgore 3
Marina Grubb 4
It was definitely an amazing Adventure – the anticipation had been building for quite some time. It simply isn’t easy to find people to join a team for 24hrs of racing – its especially difficult to find women to do it.
While more and more women and girls are getting into motorcycling, it still isn’t the norm and in some cases if the other half isn’t on a team they may not be to amped up to spend the time and money… Luckily there are exceptions to this – as it was with our team of five ladies. Those better half’s that weren’t on their own team were more than helpful and supportive for ours. A breath of fresh air in a world saturated in testosterone.
Our team actually grew to six but unfortunately one of our teammates JJ, was unable to attend as the cards kept stacking up against her – making it more and more difficult for her to make it. Next year I am hopeful that the stars will align and she will be able to join the team – because I’ll tell you what – it truly was a blast!
Team DBGA went forward with us five… I have known my friend Heidi for a while now and was excited to finally have her on the team – yet I had only briefly met Samantha at a Full Gas Sprint Enduro and had never met Kristina or Marina. Samantha and I had been reaching out to countless ladies online and she hit the jackpot when she spoke to Kristina – Kristina is full bore – she is a lover of competition and an impressive ice racer as well as off-roader. I was worried she would be uber-competitive and get impatient with our team of novice riders however she seemed to enjoy us all as we did our very best to support our team. Marina was the wildcard – we had never met – only a few days before she had seen a post that I had put up about having a spot open on the team for another lady. Samantha’s husband Roman passed her info along and somehow we made the connection. Marina’s husband was on a team and she was planning to be at the race to support him however she really wanted to participate – They told her “You can’t – there aren’t any more spots open”… she didn’t let their words stop her and did her own searching and that’s how she found my post! It was all fate – we all came together because of a love of riding dirt bikes and the excitement of being part of a team – getting to know one another and forming friendships…
The day of the race we set up our pits – Heidi’s husband Kenny was part of a duo team and was pitted to one side of us and my mans 6 man sportsman team was on the other side – Kristina’s man joined my guys team so we had plenty of support around us which was perfect. Once we were set up we took plenty of pics – but we got down to business for the 10am start of the race. I asked Kristina to start for the team and wow she sure put it on! She nailed the hole-shot and disappeared in the dusty straightaway. We were going up against two teams the Frizzeltown Damsels and Sarah Baldwin’s team of experts (Ashley Copeland, Linzie Dente and Leeann Bange) So we knew this would be tough – but we never gave up and had the mindset of the Tortoise & the Hare.
We concentrated on doing two laps a piece so we could try to stay fresh – Heidi was up second and had a great ride – myself up third – it was super dusty but a fun course then Samantha and Marina. We all did as much as we could and everything was clicking pretty well. Samantha happened to go down in the only mud section – we all were happy she was okay and joked with her as she had previously mentioned that she is a magnet for mud! Marina went out with her throaty 450 honda and also had pretty fast times even with a couple bobbles. When night came it was super difficult to see – the dust was insane in the day but at night it was almost unbearable – We all did our laps and just tried to get through as safe as possible. Heidi had her night ride as well as Samantha and Marina – I went out as well and nearly went over the bars when at mile 9 my bike was swallowed in a silt covered hole!… The NE24 crew rerouted the course when the heard how it was causing havoc out there.
As the early morning hours passed Heidi and I stayed up to make sure everything was going off without issue – at 4 am Kristina wanted to keep riding – she was having a blast so she did her laps then Heidi did one then Kristina did more then I went out – we switched around our lineup to where everyone was comfortable. You wouldn’t know it by the times – but my best lap was my last lap at 6am – I just had an absolute blast! Looking at my GoPro I was still being a typical slowpoke but its about how you feel and I felt great! Marina finished us out in the end – It would be her very first race and it just felt right to have her take the checkers for the team!
I tell you – this team just clicked! We had an amazing adventure – got along beautifully and took home 2nd place – Sarah’s team only edged us out by 2 laps!
So we’ll see what happens next year – there is talk from Kristina that she would like to Ironwoman next year and same with her guy Tim…whatever she decides this team will always support its past members and in the end its about building the ranks of female ridership and we are definitely doing it!
Our sport has some amazing women – I’m lucky that some of them were part of this years team!
*On a side note Heidi’s husbands team “Twist It” got 2nd in the Duo Sportsman class and My guys team “Trail Pros” finished 1st in Sportsman!
Thanks to KNC for the awesome work on this years t-shirts and Natures Bakery for hooking the team up with an amazing assortment of snack bars!… The Lemon is soooooo yummy!
Also – thanks to all those on the trail that played nice!
The Full Gas Sprint Enduro was a blast!… I am however still feeling down on myself for being a chicken on the Enduro Test! This FGSE was wicked – the Cross Test was super fun and flowy – but no matter if I pre-walk it or not I can never memorize the course – I do however like to put my eyes on what I may be in for. My guy had told me there was no need for me to walk the Enduro test even though I heard there was a rock garden as well as a hill climb (there was a longer go-around trail on the hill climb so I just let that concern dwindle). Looking back now – I regret not walking it – I think it would have been a benefit to at least be somewhat prepared…because (I HATE ROCKS!)
Our class… Womens Amateur – The lovely’s… Heather Cosner – the no fearing – rock specialist! Jenna Harker – the young throttle twister from WV! Dawn Silvia – the powerhouse energizer bunny! Claudia Danielewicz – consistently steady – never underestimate her! Samantha Kilgore – determined and gutsy! Melissa Berkoff – first time racer – whoohoo! Me… mind-wandering – over thinker – non-cornering – non- rock rider…
We are a very unique group – all ages and all skill levels – what one may find difficult the other may excel at. The times at pre-staging are times this group would reflect on the race – we rally around one another with encouragement and motivation. There were lots of thumbs up and stories from the previous tests – we talked about bike set up and there
was even a bike swapping for a test ride around the pits. We are all competitive in our own ways – but ultimately we just happen to all enjoy riding our dirt bikes and love to meet other women that do as well. There is an undeniable positive energy on our line!
The Race: For me my two best races was the first Enduro Test and the
Last Cross Test. On the Enduro Test I was feeling a little sketchy out there as it had rained all night into the morning on the West Virginia rocky and rooty dirt – but I wanted to do my best and had a little race action out on the test when I came up to Samantha on the trail. We basically had a nice trail ride going on for a while but I decided to make my move when the trail widened and I got by her. I could hear her bike chugging along and then after a little bit I couldn’t see her anymore – turns out she didn’t know about the alternate hill climb line and
went for it – twice! Ultimately loosing it and landing hard – it wasn’t until that second wipeout that a spectator informed her of the alternate line… Meanwhile I was having my own struggles in the rock garden… Garden makes it sound lovely – I think it should be called Rock Pit or Hell or something ugly… I digress… anyways with a little help from a random someone – I got through it – at this point my arms felt like jelly and I still had to manage through a long rooty off-cambered up hill with a tight awkward left hand turn at the top and a couple technical mud holes! By the time I got back I was already contemplating not doing another run on that loop – I did ultimately do a second run but my hands could barely hold on to the bars and I decided not to run the remaining 4 enduro tests…ya I know…booooo…!
The last Cross Test – I felt like I was rippin! I was finally trying to put something together – trusting my front end was a constant battle but I really tried hard on this last turn to go for it. Out on the course I saw Claudia get hung up – now I felt maybe I could push harder because I had a target – I could see someone and at least try to catch them. I did loose this battle as well when not too far from the finish I stalled in a rut and the seconds slipped away…
FGSE is a race against the clock. Some people can just push and go hard and fast for that ultimate goal. The rules say you should wait 20 – 15 seconds before taking off after the rider in front of you but not everyone follows that rule…but I’ve seen people use the tag – team tactic many times – because ultimately it helps you to see that target in front of you that is setting the pace. Being out there racing myself I know that seeing my competition in front of me was a definite push – but I’ll stick to it happening on the course just by happenstance…lol
I congratulate all the ladies in my class – I know first hand how challenging the course was! And I also know that we are inspiring to many other girls that attend the races as helpers and spectators – I know because they tell me – so keep being awesome and do what you do because you want to – no matter how slow or fast!
I would like to give a special shout out to the four that completed all 12 tests!
Heather Cosner with an overall time of 2:16:23.581
Jenna Harker with an overall time of 2:34:19.648
Dawn Silvia with an overall time of 2:44:54.169
Claudia Danielewicz with an overall time of 3:11:20.915
In case you missed it – The Grand National Cross Country’s RD 4 at “Big Buck” delivered a pretty exciting WXC race!
Fourteen Pro Women lined up on a cloudless, bright and dusty day in Union, South Carolina. When 10 Seconds! was called it was Kacy Martinez with a solid holeshot. She wasn’t alone as the dust started to fly because that first lap she had pro-motocross racer, Mackenzie Tricker hot on her heels with an impressive rebound from a back of the pack start. Kenz was fresh off her prior weekends WMX win at Pala Raceway in SoCal – she still had that moto-speed flowing as she railed the dry puffy-berms and held a solid second place laying down faster lap times than the leader.
While Tricker was battling with Becca Sheets and Kacy Martinez there was lots of close racing happening not far behind on the dust blanketed course…battles between pro rippers, Brooke Cosner and Kendall Lafollette were also pretty exciting!
Mackenzie’s good friend and trainer Jessica Patterson came out of retirement to lay down her own fast pace… Jessica is no stranger to Big Buck – she won here in 2014 and 2015 – However this year she decided to come out of retirement and hit Big Buck again! JP$ had the fastest lap time on lap 2 with an impressive 25:07! (full lap) Jessica was charging – there was no way to miss the impressive riding she was throwing down! Jessica reminded everyone that she is still hands down an elite top hard charger – Jessica was last in the start and had to battle her way through the pack!
Unfortunately in all this racing excitement, Kacy Martinez suffered a mechanical and was unable to finish the last lap. So they finished up with Mackenzie on the top box , Becca Sheets was racing hard earning her a second place and Jessica Patterson third!
The excitement was as thick as the dust at the podium stage… There was something pretty special about seeing Mackenzie and Jessica side by side – it’s rare to share such an experience as mentor – friend and racer…especially a semi-retired racer!
A racer is a racer and there is no doubt that although Patterson may have turned a page in November and retired – she still has that taste and desire to race and now with no strings attached she can pick and choose to do or not do what she wants to…for some its a time that can be even more fore-filling.
But it was Mackenzie that stole the show this day as Racer Productions, Tim Cotter named her the official “Miss Big Buck” which included an antler necklace of sorts…- not sure what her duties will be if any when 2017 rolls around…
I reached out to Mackenzie to congratulate her on her first GNCC win and get a little insight about the race and what it was like to have Jessica on the podium with her…
I’m beyond pumped to be able to put that race together. I struggled at North Carolina but as life continues to teach me… you have to learn the hard way, so I learnt a lot at that round and was able to put it all together this weekend and take the win.
Jess and I work hard for sure, Jess is retired and has definitely taken a step back from training and riding so for her to last minute decide to race and get on the podium is awesome for her.
We definitely joke around a lot, so we were giving each other crap in the lead up to the race about who was gonna beat each other. But at the end of the day we both just wanted to get on the podium and I was pumped we both did.
I caught up with Jessica to get some of her thoughts on the race and reflect…
I had so much fun at Big Buck. I love the atmosphere there and it’s always one of my favorite tracks. This one was pretty cool since I got to race someone that I’ve been working with also. We joked around about who would place what but all in all we just wanted to have a good fun race and we did. I had to come from way back and got third and then to see Kenz had won I was so pumped. We’ve been working hard and it’s paying off.
Icing on the cake or Ice Cream in the cone… Mackenzie and Jessica were able to find that sweet spot – that edge of speed and preservation and they took it to the trail… Leaving many wondering who is going to follow their lead and mix it up in them woods?!
Congrats to all the women of GNCC’s 2 Wheeled Racing Nation – you are all inspiring!
TOP THREE WXC were also TOP THREE OVERALL! woohoo!
I’m kinda technically challenged however I have been creeping my way around the World Wide Web and realized this site could really use some updates… So let me welcome you to the new and hopefully improved DBGA site!
Whats New?… The biggest change is an easy to use Shopping experience with a Shopping Cart and all that! All available items are easy to look at and easy to order – please don’t hesitate to contact me if you experience any difficulties! I will be adding more items as soon as I am able, so please check back from time to time.
I have also added an Up Coming Races countdown and a Subscribe button so you can stay connected!
I will be working out the DBGA interview page – at some point I hope to have all the interviews archived in one spot – this is on my wish list – for now you can simply go down the home page or search a name to find a featured story.
There is much happening these days so I haven’t been able to post as much – however I have some big plans for some fantastic interviews with some awesome kick butt racing ladies!…There are just so many out there – If you have a favorite and would like to have her featured feel free to send me a message with their info and perhaps you’ll see them featured here soon!
Happy Trails & Thanks For Being Part of The Dirt Bike Girl Adventures Community!
Here is a fresh interview with Timonium, Maryland’s Female Motocross Racer Brooke Bowlin! Brooke isn’t afraid to mix it up on the track – she’s a very talented up and coming racer with a competitive attitude that isn’t interested in labels. She simply wants to do her best in the sport and have a successful career. She may be young at only 9 years old – but as we all know age isn’t a factor when you’re packed with determination, natural ability and a supportive family behind you!
I hope you enjoy this read – and perhaps start following this promising young ladies bright moto-future!
Hi Brooke! I’m so happy to be able to get an interview with you! Seems like you’ve been at this racing for so long now! Can you let the DBGA Community know how old you were when you got started and how you became interested in riding and then racing…
I was four years old the first time I rode. My dad would take me to watch my uncle race and one day I asked my dad if I could ride my uncles pit bike and I did by myself and that was all I wanted to do after that.
What grade are you in and what is it like balancing school and racing? Do your parents set standards or goals on your grades for you to maintain in order to get to race and ride?
I’m in 4th grade and well, last year I couldn’t miss time from school or I couldn’t race. This year I’m homeschooled so it’s a little easier.
Did your teachers and classmates know about your racing? Have they ever been to watch you compete?
When I was in school they knew about my racing. My teachers and the administration were surprised and very supportive. Most of My school friends didn’t believe me until my principle and teacher let me bring in some of my trophies and a video, but my close friends knew and some even came to the track to watch me.
What bikes do you ride?
KTM 65 and KTM 80
What classes do you race?
I race 65 7-9 and 85 9-11 and 9-13 girls.
Do you race against boys? If so do they race you clean or do you have some that give you a hard time out on the track?
I do race against boys. When they see that I’m a girl they try even harder to beat me but I do a pretty good job of holding my own.
Best piece of advice you were ever given about riding.
Stand up and squeeze with your legs because it’s not safe if you don’t have good form.
Is there a female racer that you look up to or admire?
Yes, Jordan Jarvis and Katie Benson
I know your main discipline in motorcycling is Motocross – however you have also raced Flat Track… Will you be doing more of that this year?
Not this year. I’m planning on doing the Arenacross series and Loretta Lynn’s. My mom and dad are going to take me to some bigger races this year.
In a recent interview I did with with 7 time Motocross Champion, Jessica Patterson who has been racing off road the last couple years in the GNCC Series, she mentioned that she feels its great to mix it up (pertaining to off- road and motocross racing) because you learn so much doing either with your bike skills.… Do you have any plans to race off-road in the future – do some endurance racing or woods racing?
Not at this time. I did ride recently with my friends in the woods and it was fun but I prefer to stick with Motocross.
So far this year – what was your most memorable race and why?
The Maryland States at Budds Creek. I pulled the holeshot in the 65 9-11 class and crashed on the first turn. It took me a while to get my bike started and when I finally did I was a good way behind. I kept charging every lap until the end and I worked my way back to 3rd The second moto I pulled the holeshot and led every lap and won by a pretty big distance. It felt pretty good winning that class for the first time and I finished 2nd overall for the State Championship.
Wow! That sounds like an epic race! Congrats on those results! Are you ready for Mini O’s? What have you been doing to prepare?
Yes! I’m getting in some exercise and practicing on weekends I am looking forward to it since it is my first national event other than Ricky Carmichael SX.
What are your goals for Mini O’s?
To do my very best and to show girls can do just as good as boys, if not better.
If you weren’t racing dirt bikes…What other sport do you think you’d be doing?
I would like to play basketball but I’m not home all the time to make the games. I swim during the winter and so swim team over the summer.
What piece of advice do you have for a girl who may be interested in learning how to ride but she may have been told that dirt bikes aren’t for girls?
I would say that isn’t true and anyone can ride a dirt bike.
The best part of racing dirt bike is?….
The fun and the excitement!
What is your favorite Motocross track?
Sponsors and People who you would like to thank:
Accurate Pest Control, B-Line Racing, Ride 100%, Ambers Ice, Twin Air, GoPro, Go Puck Acerbis, Elite Apparel, Headliners Salon, Goldentyre USA, Leatt.
One thing I have learned through this journey with the Dirt Bike Girl Adventures page on Facebook, is that female riders love to hear from other female riders. I’m happy to say that I regularly receive messages from those that I call the “DBGA Community” asking advice on anything from what boots work best, what bike should I be riding to basic riding tips. I’ve looked for some solid tip tutorials to share taught by women but usually I’ll find tips from guys – which is great but where are the girls that rip the tracks and trails – we want to learn from them too! It’s great that our little community shares tips with each other – we have a good group of women here that love to chime in when advice is needed…but seriously I know more are out there with solid foundations of dirt biking skills.
Earlier this week one of the DBGA Community members (thank you Gail!) posted a video of a girl teaching a “How To Do A Wheelie” video… I clicked it and watched…and then I watched “How To Ride Over Log Pyramids“…then “How To Ride Over Suspended Logs” then I made a Kale Power Salad and watched “Episode 1 & 2 of Life As A Dirt Biker” It was dark outside and I contemplated hooking up my helmet light to go ride my trails because who doesn’t get amped up to ride after watching someone else ripping?…but alas I decided to do the next best thing – I contacted the creator and talent behind these easy to follow tutorials Megan Griffiths!
I did this because I really enjoyed Megan’s videos. They were easy to follow – not over done…they were real – just to the point and fun! She has some amazing skills on her bike – the terrain she had video of on her channel was some of the rootiest – rockiest stuff I’d seen – and she ripped….and always seems so happy – I swear you’ll find yourself smiling! I wanted to know a little more about the girl behind these videos – I hope you find her tips helpful and become inspired to get out and ride – maybe even try to take a little of her advice out on your next session.
I am so excited to introduce you to the #DBGA community! I am all about trying to promote the badass girls and women in the sport as well as providing a place for those that are just starting out or simple recreational riders. We all have unique stories from the ride and I love to share them!
How did you get involved in riding and at what age?
I started riding dirt bikes when I was 16. I had always wanted a bike or a quad ever since I was a little girl and by then I could finally afford one. I’m glad I chose to buy a dirt bike instead of a quad!
What was your first bike? What is your current ride?
My first bike was a 2007 Yamaha TTR 125. Then I had a KX 250 F and an SX 250F after that. The bike I am riding now is a 2014 KTM 200 XCW.
When did you get into racing?
I first got into racing in 2012. The first race I entered was a harescramble race in Kamloops B.C. I definitely got beaten up and barely finished one lap but it still felt great. Ever since then I’ve had the bug and can’t stop racing.
What series do you race?
My local series is the PNWMA (Pacific North West Motorcycle Association), which is cross country and Harescramble racing. There are two races that are outside my circuit that I always make sure to enter: The Desert 100 in Odessa, Washington and Red Bull Rocks and Logs in Calgary, Alberta. Both these races are absolutely amazing to be a part off. They are both so different from my usual racing but so intense, fun, and rewarding.
Favorite type of dirt riding?
My favorite type of riding is Endurocross and the really technical terrain. I love the adrenaline rush it gives you and the feeling of accomplishment you get when you clean a tough obstacle. Basically anything that pushes me outside of my comfort zone is my favorite!
Whats going on out your way for women in racing?… Are the classes big or do you have to race male dominated classes for more competition?
The women’s class in my local circuit is really great. It is not very big yet though. There are not enough to have a women’s A and a women’s B. So the women’s class just races on the B loop. I race in the men’s intermediate class because I want to be on the tougher course with the longer cut off time. There are many great female riders out there and I’m really hoping the women’s class will continue to grow.
Is there a woman in the sport that you admire or find inspiration in?
My favorite female rider is Victory Hett. She is a phenomenal rider as well as a great person. I looked up to her ever since I started racing in the PN series and I saw her banging bars with the guys on the A loop (the tougher course). Victoria gave me racing advice that helped me survive my first attempt at the Desert Race in Odessa and we just had such a good time down there! She’s really knowledgeable about the whole racing industry and genuinely wants to see you succeed. People like Victoria just make racing that much more fun!
What are your plans with these video tutorials?
My plan with these tutorials is to continue making them, providing easy to understand information and tips on how to better your riding. I want people to watch my videos and think, “I can do that.” or “I’m going to try that!”. I also really want to promote enduro riding. It doesn’t get nearly enough hype and exposure. It’s such a tough, amazing sport and I want to show people what it’s all about.
What is the best piece of riding advice you have gotten?
Hmm that’s a tough one. I’d say the best advice came from my friend Hippy. He always told me to stand up, keep my feet on the pegs, and ride it like I stole it. I’m not sure if that’s too silly haha but he hammered that into my head.
Something happened this past weekend… One of the most accomplished women to ride a dirt bike retired. Yes you may have heard a blip about it – it’s been circulating that this was going down…but then once it does you stop and you pay attention – or you should. How many young girls have looked up to her – gotten the courage to give it a try for themselves? How many women have been inspired and aspired to do something resembling the same thing some day? Who am I rambling on about?… Well, non-other than 7x Woman’s Motocross Champion along with her 44 Amateur National Championships and Transworlds’ 2010 Female rider of the Year… JESSICA PATTERSON…aka…JP$!
You may have always respected this woman for her mad moto skills yet for the past three years you would have found her moto skills working on the cross country course. There aren’t many that make that transition so gracefully however this woman has been able to put herself on the top box each year shes competed… 2015 she gave a solid push to the race season in the Grand National Cross Country Series and found herself on that top box with a win at Big Buck in Union S.C. I hate to see her leaving this sport she was really improving in yet I’m certain she’ll be making appearances here and there in MX and XC.
Jessica’s elbows up racing kept you tuned in… I couldn’t help but reach out to her for some insight and bid her the best of luck in her future endeavors. Retirement is really just another word for More Time for Adventures! ~N
Jessica, you have announced that you are retiring from racing. This past weekend at the GNCC in Crawfordsville, Indiana was your last scheduled off-road race, looking back and comparing your very first GNCC race to this last one – how would you describe your overall experience?
I would say amazing! Off road is so laid back but when it comes to racing its fully serious but I have loved it, the people and the fans. Fans are like none you’ll ever see and just the team work they do at mud holes and what- not is just too cool and sometimes funny. I’ve loved it!
What has the transition from Motocross to Off-Road been like for you? Did you have to change your style of riding to adjust for the presence of trees, roots, rocks and 200+ lappers on the course?
It was very rough the first year, ha-ha… Just having to learn to back it down and not be in full moto-pace the whole time. Ive learned you can’t rush things from the trail to the lappers. Trees don’t move and lappers can really mess you up just by getting in the way, sitting in the middle of the trail or just getting out of control when your passing and hit you. That for me has been the hardest to deal with. I learned pretty quickly that the tress don’t move – lol…Also just learning to ride on every type of terrain, being patient but fast. One thing Im still not 100% confident in are the really rocky tracks but again I know that I Have gotten better and learned how to ride them compared to my first year.
You’ve had some epic Motocross battles during your career – Do you happen to have a memorable battle from your off-road racing adventures?
Most of my off road races have been battles…ha-ha. I’m racing girls that have done it their whole lives, same difference with me riding moto. There are some girls that are really good at it and I would just try to stay on their wheels to learn from them and if I felt it was time to make a move I would. This year I was more in the mix and more podiums than I had my first full year so I was pumped on that. Seems like the last few races we have had good battles going which was really fun.
It seems like there are quite a few motocross racers that have tried to transition to off-road racing later in their careers – Looking back at your own career, do you wish you had included more off-road racing during your successful motocross career?
Yes I do. And I’ve said that to many people who ask the same thing. I just think its great to mix it up and you learn so much doing either with bike skills. You can use what you learn on moto to off-road and vice versa. I’ve learned more bike skills and just being able to read different types of terrain and dealing with situations more with racing off-road and I wish I would’ve done that when I was racing because I feel like it could’ve made me a little better for sure.
This year there was some real excitement out there in the GNCC Series with a female youth motocross/off-road/crossover racer Korie Steede making her mark in the male dominated Super Mini 12-13 class with her aggressive and deliberate riding style. Have you had a chance to watch some of the up and coming female youth talent in off-road and if so what are your thoughts on the future of off-road female racers?
I’ve seen some of the youth riders but again I’m still kinda new to it all so I’m still trying to figure out who’s who. But yes I have watched some and they haul! The GNCC crew treats the women racers good I think and also was a huge step for WXC being put on the first row in the morning race which was really cool. With the wide range of talent of the women now and the ones coming up I think it will do nothing but grow more and get more exiting!
They say a Couple That Rides Together Stays Together… You and your husband, Eddie have been together
for quite a while – he has been by your side at your races supporting you and you for him – do you guys ever bust out some laps in the woods or on the moto track and if so who chases who?…
Yeah we have been together for 15 years now but only married for one. ha-ha! But he has been there and has only given me the best. He has also been my mechanic in moto and off-road which has been awesome because you know he has done everything he can to give you a machine that is 100%. Its all about trust. We do get out and ride some moto together but he’s been on it lately and he’s usually chasing me. He has ridden off-road some but its definitely not his favorite. He says he wants to stick to the moto track.
Your career has been all racing… Not a typical situation for many women. When the subject of starting a family arises if the boot were on the husbands foot there normally is not a need for a career change… However with your profession you naturally find yourself having to make the decision to take a break from racing and start a new adventure toward Motherhood… I imagine your little one will be on the track eventually! Ask anyone who has wrapped themselves up in the sport and they will honestly say they have the best memories and friendships from the sport…Great family atmosphere, awesome character builder – so on and so-forth… Is there anything you would like to see improved in the sport by the time your little one is involved? (if he or she is interested in the sport…but how could they not be when their Mama is such a ripper!)
Yeah this is my life. Its all I’ve known and its meant a lot to me and even where I met my husband. I’m definitely not going to push riding but if they want to of course we will back them 100%. I would like my kid to do a little of everything, be good at it all… ha-ha If its a girl and this is what she wants to do I hope by then that the WMX series will be figured out and would have it as good as I did with the support. For a boy, well they have it good… ha-ha Every sport has its Pros and Cons, it’s just how its going to be.
You are so respected in the sport – it’s not just the accomplishments, it’s the drive, talent and work ethic you’ve displayed. It would be wonderful to share with all riders… but for obvious reasons I will focus on the female rider – They usually feel more comfortable working with other female riders. Now that you have been successful in both MX & XC, do you have any plans for organized riding schools or camps in the near future?
Yes I do. I’ve done some schools before in the past but then I just got to where I was too busy and just serious about bettering my program that I didn’t really have time to do many more. It was just so cool to see how excited people would get when they could feel that they were getting better and learned something new. Now that I’ve taken a step back I’m ready to give back some of the things I’ve learned: from being race ready, practicing technique, training and just being mentally prepared and strong. My arms are going to be open for anyone who would like a class but of course I would love to help the girls to take that next step. I plan to start at the beginning of the year so if interested shoot me an email and we can figure something out. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks so much for chatting with me. It’s been a real treat to have this opportunity to get some of your insights on your off-road racing career and be able to share it with the #DBGA Community. You definitely brought an element to the WXC lineup that was seriously exciting and will be missed from that front row. As we all know how in the blood this racing is – I have strong feelings that we will see you again!
Please feel free to list your sponsors and supporters – I’m sure that list is long!
First I couldn’t thank my family enough for getting me a bike to start. I would have never dreamt of the outcome of where this sport has gotten me and I’m forever thankful of that. To Eddie for being there, giving me whatever I’ve needed to win and just being able to separate our lives from the riding to being normal life. To Thomas Fichter at N-Fab being a solid backbone to my program and an awesome friend. This guy has done so much for us, we would never be able to repay him and I think the world of him. Yamaha for the years of support, believing in me and the awesome surprises. Rockstar Energy has been behind me since 2012 and stood behind me when they weren’t even into off-road and now they even sponsor a team in off-road which is cool. Man, my list is going to be so long, Ive had so many people over the last 16 years of being Pro who stand behind my program and I really appreciate it. N-Fab, AmPro Yamaha, Yamaha Motor Corp, Rockstar Energy, Gear Alloy, MSR, Bell Helmets, Dubya Wheels, Polar USA, Adidas, Trek Bikes, FMF, GYTR, JGR, Virus, Works Connection, Factory Connection, Rekluse Clutch, Pro Taper, Cycra, Emig Grips, IMS, K&N Filters.
If you’ve ever been at the races and happen to have your radio tuned into the track station… you can’t help but hear the background static of race reporting and podium interviews… sometimes you’re compelled to stop what your doing and turn up the volume.
That happened to me yesterday while taking care of some last minute preparations for my guy who’s race was getting ready to start in the next half hour.
The interview from the podium was WXC racer Becca Sheets.
Becca was on the Podium at Powerline – St.Clairsville, Ohio, her hometown track. She had just won the WXC race and had stayed pretty consistent throughout. I had always assumed Becca had won before, however in her emotional podium interview she commented on how special it was – it would be her first win and what made it even more special was that her family was able to be there because they don’t always get to attend the races and that it was at her home track.
Everyone has their race story and when you get to hear the genuine – raw – unscripted moments like this one you can’t help but tune in. We get so used to the same people up on the box race after race we tend to perhaps not listen because it sounds like much of the same…sometimes it ends up being a commercial for tires or bikes and not so much that more personal expression of what it took to get there or what it means to be there.
So Cheers to Becca for her memorable VicToRy at Powerline Park!… I’m sure more success will follow – once you taste it – you crave it!
If you’ve bundled up to watch the youth races in the morning at a GNCC (Grand National Cross Country) through the early morning fog your eye may have been drawn to youth racer Emily Streets.
Emily can’t help but stand out in a background of mist and mud… With her long blonde braid and signature brightly colored dirt bike – you definitely find yourself wanting to pay attention to her and cheer her on as she makes her way around the challenging courses.
This past Sunday morning the colors were a little brighter – a little pinker… I noticed Emily’s backgrounds were bright pink…
In a Facebook post following her win at Mountain Ridge, Emily “dedicated” her win to woman battling breast cancer and stated that she would be sporting the pink backgrounds all month which I found to be a beautiful gesture – she added the following statement and this is what propelled me to reach out to her for some insight on this young accomplished pro-active racer.
Emily Streets: I decided to change my number plates to pink in order to show my support to the women who have battled or who are currently battling breast cancer. I hope this will help bring more awareness and encourage women to get their “Ta-Tas” examined.
DBGA: How old are you and what grade are you in?
ES: I am 16 and a junior at Grafton High School.
DBGA: When did you become interested in riding dirt bikes and how old were you when you started?
ES: A couple years before I started racing, I would go to the races with my neighbor. When he was at home riding, I would sneak up on the hill and ride his bike. My parents eventually found out and they finally bought me a bike.
DBGA: What was your first bike and what are you riding today?
ES: I started out on a TTR 125 and mid-season we purchased a CRF 150RB.
DBGA: In the GNCC series, you are currently second in the points in the Girls (8 – 15) Congrats on that! Is there a specific round this year that was most memorable?
ES: My most memorable round would have to be Mountain Ridge, because I battled with one of the girls until the final lap when I pulled a 15 second lead.
DBGA: Do you race any other series?
ES: Yes, I race a couple of our local race series, Mountain State Hare Scramble and KSR Enduro. In those races I race the Super Mini class for more competition.
DBGA: Is it pretty difficult for you to balance school and racing?
ES: Yes, sometimes because when I’m stuck doing homework, I would rather be out riding. I also miss some days of school in order to travel to the GNCC races.
DBGA: Does your school know about your sport and accomplishments and if so do they support you?
ES: Not many people race in my school, so they don’t know much about it. My close friends wish me luck and congratulate me. A couple have even come to a race and supported me.
DBGA: Are you involved in any other sports?
ES: I played soccer from age 3 until my freshman year when I decided to make racing my priority.
DBGA: What are your goals for racing? Do you see yourself someday racing the WXC class?
ES: My goal is to work hard and improve my skills. I’m also going to work toward a championship in the Women’s Amateur class. Yes, someday I hope to see myself racing in the WXC as sponsored rider.
DBGA: Is there a woman racer that you admire or look up to, if so who and why?
ES: I look up to Kacey Martinez, because she’s an outstanding racer and she is a great role model.
DBGA: What do you think would attract more girls into the sport?
ES: Girls might get attracted to the sport if we were to get more recognition and more sponsors willing to help us.
DBGA: What’s the best advice you have gotten regarding riding or racing?
ES: The best piece of advice I have gotten about riding was from my sponsor and mechanic, Mark Myers, which is “ride it like you stole it”. I have gotten so much great advice from many riders, it’s hard to pick just one. They have always told me to work hard, stay focused and you can accomplish your goals.
DBGA: I’m sure you have a big team behind you…
ES: I have many people behind me, Mark Myers and MCI racing, RG Honda, Bill Dailey at Outlaw Motorsports, Morgantown power, Dunlop, Northern Sales, Amsoil, Spider Graphix and my race family and friends.
Each October we are reminded about Breast Cancer and how it effects everyone…literally everyone – not even just women, even men get this horrible disease and that’s just regarding the people that get it – it truly affects everyone around you. Wonderfully, however there are amazing stories of early detection and survival! Then there are organized runs and walks and drives…There are men and women walking around in pink shirts and people – everyday people doing amazing work behind the scenes spending time, energy and cash to do what they can in the name of someone they know that may have lost this battle.
When I read the statistic that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer – well just do the thinking game yourself… Imagine you and seven other women you know – it’s a hard image and all to real.
I like to think of DBGA as this community of amazing people – encouraging girls and women to get out there and ride dirt bikes because it’s so darn fun and exhilarating! It’s empowering – It’s family oriented – It’s an adventure every time your swing your leg over that seat! Well I don’t want this or any disease to get in your way – I want the track or the trail that your on to be free of these obstacles – yet I know it’s not always possible.
What is possible in creating awareness – Get yourself checked – Do it for you and those around you.
Start that conversation with a dear friend…
Not just in October – there are 11 other months that you should be checking your “Ta-Ta’s” – “Girls” – “Ladies” whatever you call them… just do it!
If you have an encouraging story that you would like to share about survival and fighting this battle or a person you would like to recognize and honor please comment below and thank you for sharing
Take a moment to look into some of the links I bundled here for you. (I do not personally recommend any listed – they are merely here as a starting point for you if you should be looking for more information)
I often wonder what it would have been like to have grown up in a “Moto-Family”. Looking back at my own childhood, which lacked any resemblance to that of really anyone I know… There was never any emphasis on being active or being involved in sport… There were no weekends filled traveling to riding areas – not even camping. It’s crazy to think my journey has taken me here and developing Dirt Bike Girl Adventures to what it is today.
This post isn’t ment to be about me however it frames what I’m leading to…
A friend of mine sent me a picture of these sweet little girls in their motogear. She wanted to share it with me because she knows of DBGA and felt that I might want to share it with our community.
I reached out to their father to get permission as well as a little back story on them.
He shared with me that they are 7 year old twins that started riding about a year ago. He had raced and been involved in the sport for about 10 years…so as nature would have it, his girls have taken to the sport… with what I’m sure had been some influence from Dad.
Meet Kendall and Kelsey from the Free State of Maryland! These 7yr old twin dirt bike girls are riding their way to fabulous adventures on 50cc mini machines!
Ah to be 7 again… How amazing to spend your weekend at the track with your family fine tuning your bike and cheering you on… Looking forward to the ride days ahead and playing with friends… Knowing that however you do, your family will be there with encouragement and pride…
I’m sure ever sport has similar stories… but this is our story! Dirt Bike Girls Everywhere!… Get those girls involved… let them know they can be a part of it if they want to… let them know they belong and let them know that there are people out here in this moto-community that support their efforts!
Can’t wait to see these girls someday tearing up the tracks like Budds Creek!
And CHEERS to all those parents out there supporting and educating these youth riders to be future supporters and developers of our 2 wheel sports – no matter if they are boys or girls!
My guy formed his own 24hr Team for the North East 24hr Challenge and as he chose his team, one of his choices was a young woman, Brooke Cosner. I was so excited that he chose to have a woman on his team – yes shes well qualified and an extremely able racer – yet some guys aren’t open to have women on their team (although at this race I noticed a couple others!) – no matter what her ability is. Brooke brought balance to the team, shes a serious racer but she is also still a fun-loving happy-hearted young lady. She was a huge team-player and stayed involved in what was happening with her team for the duration. She rode hard and gave it all she had yet – stayed level headed, calm and focused.
I really admire a woman that can hold her own with the guys – work as hard as they do and get the job done!
Was this your first 24hr race?
Yes this was my very first 24 hour race.
Did it take a lot of thought when you were asked to be a part of the Trail Pros team or did you jump right in?
I actually just jumped right into it when Billy asked if I wanted to join his team. I thought it would be a great experience and it most definitely was! I had a ton of fun!
What kind of preparation did you do to get ready for 24hrs and night racing?
Honestly I did not do much preparation haha, I rode a few times in the dark with a group of people and some of the team to get used to what the feeling would be like, but other than that I just rode like I would normally.
What was it like racing with the five competitive guys on your team?
Racing with five competitive guys wasn’t much out of the ordinary due to the fact I race with them almost every weekend. I am great friends with everyone on the team except one, but he fit in with all of us very well. To me it was just another weekend of racing with a group of my friends.
Did you all get along?
Oh yes, we all got along great. I have known Cody and Anthony since I started racing and Billy, I have known for a couple years now and he has been helping with my technique and riding form. Duane I met last year as a new teammate on KR4 and I had just met Brad but we all worked together amazingly enough to be running first in the overall the majority of the race.
Did being the only woman on the team matter in anyway?
No not at all. Being able to keep a steady and consistent speed with them made it nice. At first I was worried I would slow them down since they are all top A riders but everyone soon enough reminded me that I would not have been picked to be one the team if I was going to slow them down haha.
How many laps did you, yourself do?
I only did 7 laps unlike everyone else doing 8 because I had a rough lap fighting with a tree in the dark at 2 in the morning lol. My headlight went out and a turn came up too quick and I clipped the tree and lost my bike in the dark. That put me into a very slow lap and only got one in before I had to switch.
What was it like racing at night? Could you still push hard?
Racing at night is a total different experience ha! My lights weren’t as bright as some but honestly I let the bike just flow in the track and I tried to just flow with it. I myself could not push quite as hard as my normal speed because my depth perception changed but others said they had no trouble.
Did you ever sleep?
Sleep ha! At first I did not want to sleep at all. I was ready to go. But when 3am rolled around I was ready to pass out. I tried sleeping in a chair at first because everyone else was going to bed and I didn’t want to leave Brad at the pits by himself. I actually only slept for about three hours total right before my last time out on the track.
How did your team end up?
My team ended up winning thier class and what we thought was the overall but they gave it to the premier team instead and gave us 2nd overall but in my eyes my team did awesome! We killed it!
Would you race another 24HR Race?
Oh in a heartbeat! I had a ton of fun and I am looking forward to next years race.
Anything you want to add?
I just want to thank Billy Schlag for giving me the opportunity to be on the team and having faith in me to help bring the team to the top and to also congratulate my team on our winnings. Everyone left everything they had on the track and gave it their best! Brad’s tire completely fell off the rim and he finished the last of the race for us and we still won! Great job everyone!
First I want to take a moment to thank some folks that helped make this all possible from me personally…
Thank You to my man Billy Schlag, for supporting me through all my endless talking about this race and helping me in anyway he possibly could. He makes it possible for me to do what I do and I am truly blessed to share a love for this sport with him – it certainly makes life fun!
Thank You to my friend Amanda Knapp for staying committed to the DBGA Team even after her injury took her out of the race lineup. Not only is she top-shelf and so enthusiastic – she went above and beyond -She took a million beautiful pictures of all of us and helped her hubby out – who was racing on a team himself! Amanda was also responsible for finding Kelli Silvers which then led to Megan Page and our team continued taking shape! Thank You also to Amanda’s husband Ryan for getting her to the event and doing so much legwork to make everything she did possible – Ryan was a huge help!
Thank You to Ride On Moto’s, John Ross for giving me a great deal on my new bike and doing the modifications needed to make it perfect for me!
Thank You to Limited Decal’s, Tyler Hayes for working with me on my special graphics detail – taking my dream into a reality! You really out did yourself! I truly appreciate the hard work!
Thank You to Task Lighting for helping the team out with some bright lights! Even more than the lights – its a pleasure to have met Tom and Mark Slover.
Thank You to KNC Marketing for helping me design a special Team Shirt! They were fun to work with and incredibly helpful in finding the particular shirt I wanted and working with me on a small order – all the while keeping in mind my cute budget.
Thank You to Heather and Brian McCall for their lights as well – Heather Cosner really loved the bar mount light that you loaned our team – it was the perfect set up for her – we really appreciate your offering and friendship!
Thank You to Kelli Silvers for getting Chances General Storeto donate water for the team! Kelli – being a nurse, actually had our pit well prepared should there had been a need for minor medical care – thankfully our team did not sustain any major injuries however our wonderful Kelli did twist her knee on her first lap – which was a real bummer. So much time, planning and investment went into getting here and I know she was incredibly upset over this. Kelli stood strong and stayed for the duration also supporting her team throughout the 24hrs. I really appreciate her husband Steve also – his efforts and his mechanical support in the pits – they are a great moto-couple!
Thank You Brian and Cathy Page (Brian Page Masonry) for always being around with mechanical help and help in general in the pits! So happy to have met this family and their wonderful daughter Megan!
Now on to the race action!…
Well I’m pretty sure we won – as no other women teams signed up…oh yes and we did get the plaque that backs that up! It was a fa-nominal day!…or days…it’s a little bit of a blur a couple days later…
Getting there – the endless packing, double and triple checking my lists – packing for two teams – mine as well as my guys – I didn’t want to forget anything… It worked out beautifully because both teams also brought their endless supplies so we were golden!
It was amazing to finally meet Kelli Silvers and Megan Page – we had chatted and sent endless emails yet we had never met – so getting to meet them and their families was a real treat! Once we said our hellos and set up camp we got to getting our pits set up. A couple hours later Amanda Knapp and her hubby showed up with the cutest little teardrop travel trailer… I loved that Amanda was there – but wished for her that she was 100% better – I hated to see her having to crutch around – we were quite a walk from the track and pit. As darkness arrived Amanda strapped on her lights to her crutches and didn’t let anything stop her for the entire weekend! Next to arrive was the Cosner family – Heather on our team and Brooke on my guys team – hanging out with them and discussing the racing and course was awesome. Later that night Susan Lawrence arrived with her guy and son which was nice meeting them as well…Not long after we all slowly went to our camps and turned in… We needed our rest for the upcoming 24hrs!
I swear no matter how much prep I did – I never felt ready for this day… but ultimately everything got done and set up beautifully because we had a great team to work together with! Amanda even set out polka-dot table toppers and endless bowls of fruit, nuts, snacks galore… I think some people may have thought we were a vendor because we were so well displayed… I brought my dirt bike wreaths and Christmas lights – I’m gonna say we were one of the snazziest pits on pit road. We had all the necessities – from tools, lights and generators – we were ready to race!
In the middle of race day the team surprised me with an epic gift – I can’t explain how crazy creative this was… It was a Dirt Bike Girl Adventures Umbrella with multiple pictures of the girls and my dirt bike adventures on ribbons that once the umbrella was opened they cascaded all around! I was over the moon with happiness – that was so sweet!
I made the decision to have race order from youngest to oldest – which set the stage for Megan to start the race on her KTM 200!
She had previously volunteered to start so I knew this was the right decision – her enthusiasm during was quite obvious and I absolutely love that! Megan lined up on the Womens line by herself since there were no other Women Teams entered. Her Dad held her bike as her mom stood track side snapping pictures of this moment. Megan had to stand 50′ in front of her bike and once the green flag waived off she went – the race was on and she jumped on her bike – pressed the power button and got to it!
Our team plan was everyone would ride for two laps – the first was our site lap and the second we could rip… Megan held to that plan and rode great! She ran into some challenges but ultimately she overcame them and powered through. The team had to pass a lanyard to their teammate when we switched riders – this was interesting at first but as we went we got the hang of it…
The lanyard was passed to Heather and she took off on her Yamaha for her first couple laps – she made quick work of the course and returned with one of the quickest laps from our team a 36:59!
Next up was Susan – she hopped on her KTM 200 and set out for her lap and then me on my KTM 200 for a couple and then
Kelli for her try at the course. Unfortunately Kelli twisted her knee – such a bummer because she was really flowing and feeling great! After giving it some time and it not feeling better she decided it would be best to stay off the bike. Megan headed back out and the rotations continued…
Darkness falls across the land… I will speak for myself here – “That was the hardest most challenging thing I have ever done on a dirt bike…” Racing at night on a course that had deteriorated tremendously as well as being out there with some heavy hitters was quite stressful. After I got stuck around mile 10 on the face of one of the slickest hills – well I decided I should spare everyone out there my presence on the track… I remember actually being out there at the mile marker 2 and thinking “What Have I Done…” So back to this hill… I had issues with it on my first lap and a Marshall was there to lend a hand…thank goodness – it is one of those gradual uphills – looks totally harmless yet it was like a sheet of ice in the middle which was the line I took not realizing. Racers were flying by because you needed that momentum – it was scary in the day but now take it to hours later in pitch darkness and no Marshall around.. I had taken the good line and almost made it when I slowly veered to the middle and lost traction – my bike stalled – my light went out and all I had on to indicate to on coming racers was a tiny red blinking red light on my back! I could see racers approaching – I started my bike and proceeded to walk it up feathering the clutch as I was passed on the left and right – finally I made it to the top – took a sip of water and continued on to the finish/pits – I shared my story with my fellow teammates and off went Heather and off
went Susan – They Loved It!… Good on them – I wish I did more laps at night – I wanted to but didn’t have it in me.
Susan did 2 night laps – on her second she overheated and needed help – we all decided enough for the night. I stayed up with my guys team as they kept rocking.
At 6:30 am Megan heads out on the course – she finishes our teams efforts with three laps and takes it home for the win! Crossing the checkered flag I am smiling wide because I love how this girl started the race and finished the race for us!
Day Two not only brought us the race finish – it also brought us – Amanda’s Birthday!
We all sung her Happy Birthday and presented her with a custom Dirt Bike Girl Cake…! Yum and Fun! She was super surprised!
We all had such a great time – even with the blisters – bumps and bruises! It was supposed to be about having fun on our dirt bike and I believe we accomplished that! We also became friends and created memories!
We were all-over the board in our times and that’s okay by me. I just wanted the experience and now I know to be better prepared for next year as I’m sure we will have some welcomed competition!
Dirt Bike + Girl = Adventures…yes – definitely yes!
I’m beyond humbled by the response and excited for what lays ahead for our team. The goal is to do our best for ourselves and our team…as long as we walk away with smiles on our faces we walk away winners!
It’s only three days from the start of our Dirt Bike Girl Adventures!… As I prepare, gather and pack I want to tell you how happy I am that you wanted to be a part of this team. Know that each one of us will be doing the very best we can for ourselves and our each other. What makes our team unique is that we are all very different in our skills on the track and that we are racers as young as 17 and as old as 46!
So lets do this ladies! Best boot forward…
I’m looking forward to sharing this Adventure with you and will forever hold the memories close to my heart… I wish that this experience is all that you wished it to be and that when you look back on it you’ll leave with a big smile and a happy heart!
We haven’t even stepped on the track yet and I feel that we will be friends forever!
Meet my friend Heidi Hawkins , shes been through a lot over the last couple years…however she keeps pushing and striving. Shes a West Virginia Dirt Bike Girl with passion for the great outdoors. I honestly wasn’t sure if she would be ready for the North East 24HR Race after sustaining a serious injury to her leg – but shes surpassing expectations and has a personal goal to reach. I hope you enjoy this interview and it somehow inspires you. No matter the challenges don’t give up on what you love and enjoy – don’t loose that part of you – keep pushing for yourself – surprising other people is nice – but when you reach down and surprise yourself of how strong you really are, you can’t help but be filled with pride. I’m wishing Heidi the best in her endeavor and have told her that “Team Dirt Bike Girl Adventures” will be there for her if needed… Dirt Bike Girls support eachother, So Go Get’m! Looking forward to the post-race interview to get her perspective and race report! This gal loves to ride…there is no doubt she’ll be clicking off some laps!
*How long have you been riding and racing dirt bikes?
Since I was a young girl, I had always ridden 4-wheelers. However, that all changed when in 2011 I reconnected with my now husband. In 2012 or so I entered my first XC 4-wheeler race, at that time I had never ridden a dirt bike. My husband used to race both, but started racing dirt bikes again with my encouragement. I wanted to try to ride a bike so my husband said get a 250 Suzuki (why start small). I listened to him and I was hooked. At that time I was 38 or 39 years old. I entered my first XC dirt bike race a few years ago and haven’t touched my 4- wheeler since.
*What inspired you to enter the 24HR North East Challenge Race in the Iron Woman Class?
On Jan. 1, 2015, my husband and I were excited that there was no snow on the ground…It was cold, but no snow – Happy New Year! If you live in the part of WV where we do, you would understand. We started our ride in the woods. My husband went ahead of me and I was taking my time. I came upon a water puddle that was fairly large, thinking it was a inch of water I heading for the side of it, and thought no big deal. Unfortunately the water was the clearest black ice I had ever come across. As I put my leg down to catch myself as I was falling, my leg hyper extended and my bike and I fell on it. I cracked my femur, my ACL exploded, my MCL detached and my meniscus tore. So after three surgeries, a few screws and 40 physical therapy sessions here I am. I entered the 24 hour Challenge as a mark to strive for. Knee injuries are not fun. I was determined to ride again. My latest surgery was in March so I hope the old knee holds up. I don’t have a lot of riding time behind me since the accident, but I’m determined and have heart.
*What bike do you ride?
We’ll that is a long story. The bike I was going to ride was stolen in May 2015, right after I signed up for the race. I mean the next day or two. So I had some great friends who sold me a TE 310 Husqvarna. So far I love it!!! My other bike is still in police evidence waiting for the criminal trial to start some time at the end of this year. Yep same year as my knee accident! 2015 has been interesting. I have little time on it, but hey that won’t stop me. Hopefully I can pick it up. Feet on pegs and will be able to my race moto.
*Have you been doing anything to prepare yourself for this test of endurance?
Not a lot. Since my knee injury, I am not able to run yet due to my patella tendinitis (my new ACL came from my patella tendon). I recently spent a week at Hatfield – McCoy’s and a few other days riding. I have also been walking as well as riding my mountain bike. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense that I am doing the 24 hour Challenge, but to me it makes perfect sense, I just want to ride.
*What does your family think about you racing this event?
That I am crazy. My husband is all in with support and is racing the ironman, this is a man who broke his back in three places racing a local XC race a year ago. Some would say we are slow learners, I say we love the sport and the challenge.
*24 hours is a long time.. surly you won’t be racing straight – without giving anything away, do you have a goal for how many laps you hope to make or have you developed a strategy?
I have no real strategy. I am going to ride steady and hope my knee, arms, back and butt don’t give out. I am going to be the turtle in this race and not the hare. I am 42 and am just glad I am able to ride. I have never ridden a dirt bike in the dark, I watch a lot of scary movies, hopefully I don’t think about them when I am out in the dark, in the woods, all alone!
*There are a lot of Ladies out there that think what your getting ready to do is pretty awesome and they really admire you. Do you have any encouraging words for them to get out and try an event like this?
I would say you are never too old to try new things. Never say never. If you are like me, who has a job, kids and the every day life stuff, life can be so busy. If you find something you love take the time and enjoy it. Sometimes a race is the only time I get to ride. A lot of people think I am crazy for still riding after my injuries and my husband’s, I say I am crazy if I don’t!!!
It’s not just any race… The ISDE (International Six Days Enduro) is a grueling hardcore race – traversing hundreds of miles across a foreign land – submerged in a foreign culture – depending upon not only your skills as a formidable off-road racer but even more than that – your skill to navigate the maintenance of your own motorcycle in a timely manner.
Being an advocate for women in the sport – I wanted to do my part to create a cafe feel or one stop shop so to speak, to bring attention to the women that will be representing the great United States! I reached out to the Team to let them know my idea and intentions… My hope is that if you are able and find yourself moved by their stories – you may help ease the burden as they continue on their individual and team journeys.
The journey starts at the qualifiers – you do not simply arrive and ride. Of the three talented ladies Mandi and Rachel have both competed in several of these prestigious races before – This will be Jamies’ first ISDE – an added push for Jamie to compete was that she longed to follow in the footsteps of her ISDE racing Grandfather, Frank Diaz. I met with Jamie – an interview from one of her qualifiers can be seen HERE.
As you will have an opportunity to read their own words about their efforts and goals – I would like to simply add that the amount of money it takes for these racers adds up rather quickly. There is an enormous amount of preparation from the most simple detail like packing familiar snacks to some big moves like prepping shipping containers for all of your gear, bike, spare parts – so on and so forth… and lets not forget travel arrangements for themselves and crew.
Yes its a choice that they make – but what makes me pause is that they have our flag – they represent not only our great Nation – they represent women of off-road. It’s special that they are there and when I think about the fact that this year our youth motocross team of Americans was not able to race in Spain at the FIM Junior Motocross World Championship because of scheduling conflicts… well the idea that Team USA was not represented – it makes it even more special that we make sure our athletes are there to hold our flag.
We have some of the best – so when we can, lets lend them some support to share their talents on the worlds stage!
Each Racer has set up her own GO FUND ME Page – if you want to donate to them simply follow the provided links.
Sponsors come in all forms… they don’t need to have fancy names or hashtags – they can just be ordinary people wanting to be part of something special and lend a hand!
TASK RACING(Our Team will be using Task’s Ironman RacerPack helmet lights) These lights are super bright – I firsthand tried one myself – it was easy to install, compact and simple to operate!
Bryan Page Masonry*Bryan Page is Teammate Megan Page’s dad… His company has provided an extra light for our team from Task as well as plans to be at the race supporting and helping us as needed! Not only is Bryan a huge motorcycle enthusiast – he is also an experienced stone setter and mason! – I can not wait to finally meet Megan and him at the 24!…
Heather & Brian MCCall (Heather is such a sweetheart – I feel so blessed to have met her last year at the Perry Mountain 24hr Challenge Race) Heather heard about our team and offered us some lights to use for our race! The McCall’s lights are a welcome addition to our night racing and are a tremendously nice gesture for someone to offer! I had hoped that our helmet lights would be adequate because lighting is such an expense, quite frankly our team was not able to afford. So now we have these to pair up with Task – pretty awesome how things work out!
Trail Pros– Gotta Give a shout out to my guy – for working with me and providing awesome courses for me to ride – not to mention making all of what I do possible! <3
Ride On Moto– John Ross at Ride on Moto was a huge help to me personally. He listened to my griping about my troubles with my old bike and how I felt I couldn’t handle a bigger more advanced bike…He offered me a sweet deal on a demo 2016 KTM 200xc and made some specific to me modifications to the bike to accommodate my concerns. I am now super excited to head to the NE24 race with my new Orange Crush!
Miscellaneous Donations *YES it’s true – I have received a couple misc. donations which I have put towards some necessary items for our pit. You Know Who You Are & Thank You!!!
If you or your company are interested in being featured here or just want to help be a part of this 24hr race challengeendeavor please email me at email@example.com