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!
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!”
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.
I say – hey…why not give it a shot… So yes while anyone that knows me knows that “Sprint” is a word that definitely is not in my description – however when your wonderfully talented friend says shes going to race and she wants you too also… and you know you need the seat time… Well – I decided -Since I was going to be there anyways and after walking the course feeling like I could tackle it – I registered Saturday Morning on quite fittingly “International Female Ride Day”…!
So I’m nervous and not just for myself…My man is following the series and I love to be there for him yet with me racing also I didn’t want to be a distraction but thankfully it all worked out!
So let the games begin! It was an absolute blast – I am so glad I took on this personal challenge… I seriously had a smile on my face for well lets say…95% of the time… the other 5% well I had a little hiccup that I would rather forget…lol
Full Gas Sprint Enduro is you against the clock – You try to go “Full Gas” (my Full Gas is like maybe 1/2 throttle – but whatever gets the wind in your hair) It’s a combination of Cross Test (grass track) and Enduro Test (woods course)
After I slap the very famous number 557 (Kailub Russell’s #… his mom points this out to me on the start of the enduro test – I told her that it would probably be the slowest the number had ever gone…lol) It becomes a bit more real – I just don’t want to hold anyone up – I just love taking part in these races because it pushes me to ride harder and push myself – I can’t turn back – I must keep going.
Day 1 consisted of 4 Cross Tests (the tests are rotated, Cross Test than a break and the Enduro Test and a break…so on) which were super fun – a little slick at times but way twisty and flowy… It was super cool to ride with Amanda Knapp as we lined up together and rooted eachother on. Then there were 4 Enduro Tests… I only did the first two – on the second one my 230 got wedged in a deep muddy rut – I was stuck for maybe 5 minutes and couldn’t pull my bike out – someone came out of the woods and helped me out of the rut and I proceeded to finish that lap but I decided that it was too much for me and I didn’t want to have a more serious issue – I decided to just focus on the grass track for the remainder of day.
Day 2 the courses were reversed and cleaned up a bit – so I decided to go out there with new focus – to improve on yesterdays times. I absolutely loved the course reversed – I thought they flowed better and it made me feel like I could push a little harder. There were 3 tests each course on this day…I did the best I could and had a hiccup on the second grass track test – I was furious with myself and pushed harder then ever – I felt fast – I was faster but not blazing – yet I felt good and now I know that I can push a little harder.
I ended up with a 5th place trophy – and I will be totally honest – I didn’t think I’d leave with anything but memories – so how over the moon giddy was I when Amanda brought that to my attention!!!
Amanda scored a 4th place and I am so proud of her! It was brutal- that Enduro Test the first day – that course was so rough – but she powered through and completed all 14 tests!!! Way 2 Go!
All the girls rode fabulously! I envy them in their many accomplishments and their successes inspire others to get out there and ride…
Brooke Cosner took the Win followed by her sister Heather Cosner (how cool is that?!) and Kierston McDonal (who wasn’t planning to race but her brother was wanting to qualify for the 2015 ISDE) – so that is pretty neat too! Then the ever famous and lovely Amanda Knapp and yes …me. #goodtimes
It was fitting to ride on “International Female Ride Day” – we rode – we raced – we had huge smiles on our face!
…and the Bow on this gift of a weekend was my man getting top honors in his class Open A ! Woot-Woot!