This one is mine, I had an interview last week with the Burnaby Newsleader (local community newspaper last week) and the story was printed in Saturday July 24th's edition of the paper. Another effort that local racers and the WMRC have made to promote the sport of motorcycling racing here in B.C.
Burnaby Newsleader Click on Sports under Unlikely Starting Point
Again, in case the link isn't working here is the story...
Unlikely starting point
By Eric Rosales
Kimberley St. Pierre's need for speed actually started with a need for repairs on her motorcycle, after an enjoyable street ride to Princeton ended in a freak snowstorm and her losing control of the bike.
"It was no big deal, I wasn't hurt at all. When I got up I was fine, but the bike was a write-off," as she recalled the incident that happened two years ago.
"A friend of mine owned a bike shop and asked me if I wanted to turn it into a race bike. I got $9,000 from ICBC, bought it back for $3,000, and put in about $3,000 [to change it to a racebike]."
That mini-tumble set the tone for Burnaby's St. Pierre, who has since fallen in love with the sport, and enters her second year of competitive racing with Westwood Motorcycle Racing Club.
She's at Mission Raceway Park this weekend, competing in the amateur division at the Double-Header Kawasaki Challenge, which starts today.
"The first thing I thought when I heard motorcycle racing was that's what I see Sunday mornings, those GPs (grand prix)," St.Pierre said. "I didn't know how easy it was to get into,"
From novice training that started in the classroom and into the parking lot, to making adjustments to the frame of the bike, to riding around pylons and then a chance to ride at Mission Raceway, St. Pierre was shortly in her first race.
"Man, it felt like I was going to throw up, the scariest thing is that starting grid, where you are amongst others," she said. "But then there are 10 lanes with three or four bikes in each lane, and the bikes are on and revved to six or 7,000 RPM's, and you can't even describe that feeling. It's a rush."
After a couple of races at novice, she was bumped up to sportsman.
Things were going well until the last race, when she crashed early on and breaking her toe. That hasn't deterred her, though, as she is back and up another rank, racing in amateur.
"There's no hope in hell that I'm going to finish in the top 10, maybe a top 20 finish, but my goal in my second year is to not crash, and to become a smoother, consistent and safer racer," St. Pierre said. "And when you do that, the speed will come."
But longtime Westwood Club member Steve Dick, who's raced for over 20 years, thinks she may be short changing herself a little bit.
"What I find interesting is that she's doing something that she really enjoys, and she's doing it for fun," Dick said. "Eventually, she's going to get better. Some people come in and try too hard, and they overdo it, and they are upset that they aren't winning, and they quit or leave the sport. She has no dreams of beating all the guys. Realistically, the primary goal for her is to have fun. But if she sticks with it, eventually she's going to get better, and the speed is going to come."
With any sort of motor racing, securing sponsorships are integral to having a long career. St.Pierre said that they key is being available.
"If you promote yourself the proper way, there are companies that are looking for unique marketing opportunities, not just dropping their ad into a yellow pages," said St. Pierre, whose been fortunate enough to have had three strong supporters: Burnaby-based Mspeed Performance, as well as Industrial Brand Creative and Fusion Recruitment. "You just can't go asking for handouts - you need to provide something in return."
One of the ways that she's giving back is through promotion of the sport of motorcycle racing, particularly in getting more women involved.
St. Pierre estimates that about 10 per cent of riders in North America are female, and that correlates to the number of women on the track.
"I'd love to see other women get into it. There's no better feeling than flying by a guy on the track and having him see your ponytail," she said. "Some women I know are more competitive than men in their sports. If we get the word out there, they'll see it's a lot easier to get into it than they think. Their potential in this sport is unlimited."
While promoting motorcycle racing to women is one thing, Westwood wants to get everyone who has a need for speed to get off the street and onto the track.
"We had a rider in our club that was really experienced, he actually promoted safe riding, and he'd lecture riders about riding safe," Dick said.
"A few weeks ago, he pushed the envelope, and he died in an accident. We should have tried harder to get him into racing. He was always on rides, went to the races, but never raced. It's tragic."
St. Pierre recalls a report that says there have been 20 deaths already this year involving motorcycles and speeding. Dick said that he could recall six fatalities on the racetrack in his entire career.
"It's important job as a club to promote and educate people about this opportunity, we really need to get the speed demons off the streets," St. Pierre said. "If you really do have that need, get off the street and get onto the track."