Catching Up with…KTM Canada’s Claudie Lapointe
By Jeff McConkey
Intro by Billy Rainford
If you wondered who the new person running around under the Royal Distributing Fox Racing KTM Canada tent was this past summer, it was Claudie Lapointe. Sometimes with a clipboard in hand, she was in charge of the KTM Canada side of things in the pits. She is also the one you’ll get when you call KTM Canada on the phone. As her job description expands, we wanted to get in touch with her while she has the time!
Direct Motocross: Hi Claudie. How are you?
Claudie Lapointe: Honestly, today, I’m not at my best. I guess it’s pretty normal regarding the circumstances. For those who haven’t heard, a great female rider passed away this weekend and It’s been pretty hard on the whole QC and even Canadian racing family. It’s actually crazy to see how big and strong this family is in those moments.
If you didn’t know her, the amount of love and beautiful messages that have been posted on social media can easily let you guess how great of a person she was. She will never be forgotten. Ride in Peace, Marianne (Brodeur).
How was your summer ?
I think busy is the word! I’ve been traveling a lot and I didn’t spend much time home in between work, boyfriend, races and friends. I tried to ride as much as possible…which means I’ve been on my bike only 8 times this summer (including 4 races).
Overall, I still had one of the best summers of my life and I shared it with some amazing people as well.
For all of those who don’t know you, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Motocross has been part of my life since as far as I can remember. My dad used to be the promoter for a race in my hometown, Valleyfield, QC. I’ve been officially riding since 2007 and racing since 2009.
A year-and-a-half ago I was given the chance to work at KTM Canada in the Administration Department. One opportunity leading to another, this summer I also worked for the KTM race team to help on the marketing side.
You are that bright new smile underneath the Royal Distributing Fox Racing KTM Canada tent. What are your duties at KTM?
I was in charge of the branding of the team. I was there to make sure everything was aligned with KTM guidelines. I was also in charge of the social media (Instagram/Facebook/Twitter) as well as the distribution of the PRs to the media.
Tanner Ward was brought on board with KTM this season as an amateur. Can you tell us about the new program?
Yes, actually this was another reason why I was at every Eastern round. Last winter, I was given the chance to review the formula of the Orange Brigade in Canada. I decided to choose only one kid, and with the help of the Royal Distributing Fox Racing KTM team sponsors we were able to give him a full factory experience. The choice was hard to make, but after my first talk with Tanner I knew he was the right guy.
What is your long term plan, and goals for the program?
This program went over what I expected. Tanner won everything there was to be win in the Supermini class in Canada. He made the switch to the big bike and will be riding a 2016 150 SX next season. I am really proud of us and what we accomplished over the last months.
The goal with this team is to build a Canadian Army of Orange to have amateur riders ready to make the big jump to Pro when MX2 riders make the switch to MX1. We are building our future with the fastest Canadian amateur riders. I am looking forward for 2016…keep an eye out for the Orange Brigade Canada team!
On the Pro side of racing, your riders, Cole Thompson and Kaven Benoit had a fantastic season. Are there any special moments that stand out for you from this past season?
I have to say that when Kaven won the championship in front of his home crowd in Ulverton it was a really cool moment for the whole team. I also really liked Cole Thompson’s podium at Walton. He finished 2nd overall and made an emotional speech about his Ontario fans and his family.
When Eve (Brodeur) won the Women’s East National championship on the same weekend as Kaven and we got to celebrate all together (including Tanner winning an amateur championship) it was an awesome team moment.
You yourself are a racer, photographer, and now you are on the industry side of things. Is there one thing you prefer over the others?
I love my job! I still like to take photos but now I only do it for people that I like. My boyfriend really likes when I take my camera to the track, so for him I try to do it more often! I like to race and ride but I only do it for fun now. I realized I didn’t have the talent to take it too seriously so I now rely on my job to stay in the moto world.
Summer is winding down, and the racing season is coming to an end. Do you get much of an off-season?
Since my job is administration and not racing, I don’t really get an off-season. We are selling bikes and parts 12 months a year.
What I will get is my weekends off for a little while (That makes my boyfriend pretty happy). Believe it or not, the racing is still wide open, looking forward for the 2016 season!
What goals do you have for yourself and for your program going into 2016?
Tanner proved himself in 2015 so it’s a no-brainer for me to say I want to re-sign him for 2016. We made an offer to a second rider for the Orange Brigade team and I should hear back from him within a week. Hopefully, our family will get bigger every year and we will be able to support more kids from everywhere in Canada. I would also like to have a girl on the team at one point.
Is there anything special we can look forward to from KTM for the 2016 season?
Make sure to visit your local KTM dealer every once in a while as we have some new models coming out in the next couple months. On my side, I’m looking forward to seeing Kaven and Cole battling on their 450s and Tanner riding his 2-stroke.
Well, thank you for your time, Claudie. Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Yes, of course, but for me it’s not going to be sponsors (you don’t have sponsors when you’re slow) but more people that have been and are still really important in my motolife. First of all, thanks to my dad for transmitting me his passion for dirt bikes.
Thanks to all the employees at KTM Canada, they make it easy and fun to go to work every morning. Thanks to Shandell Przybilla for taking care of my health everyday. Thanks to Marilyne Bernatchez for being an awesome person and an incredible friend. Thanks to the whole Ward family for giving me a chance as a 23-year-old female race team manager. Thanks to Tanner Ward for winning every weekend and making my job easy. And, finally, thanks to my lovely boyfriend for dealing with my ups and downs and following me everywhere whenever he has the chance to.