Out of the Blue: Danielle Bechard
By Jeff McConkey
Name: Danielle Bechard
Birthday: November 18, 1994
Hometown: Chatham, ON
School & Grade or Occupation: Going to college in 2016 for firefighting
Bike: CR 125
Race Club: CMRC, AMA, TVR
Classes: Ladies, Junior B
How did you get started in racing?
My brother and I used to have an XR70 we would ride around at our grandparents’. In 2007, my brother started racing for TVR and I would go to watch him. After seeing his first race I knew it was something I wanted to try. So in April 2008 I got an RM 85. Two weeks later I was racing and have been every year since.
As a little girl, did you ever expect to be this deep into a sport like motocross?
No. I was always into sports when I was younger like basketball, soccer, volleyball. But I never saw myself being so into motocross. I remember when I first said I wanted to race some of my family and friends told me I wouldn’t be able to do it– it’s a sport only boys can do… I’d only get hurt. After hearing that it gave me more of a push to do it. I knew I wanted to prove them wrong and I did.
Do you think motocross is harder for a female to compete in?
Yes and no. I think a couple years ago it was a lot harder for females. There was never a big turnout with ladies. Throughout the years I have noticed more and more girls showing up every weekend to race. Now females are getting recognized more and I love seeing them racing out against the boys too not just in the women’s class.
Who is your favourite rider and why?
My favorite rider is Ryan Dungey! I really became a fan in 2010 when he started racing the 450 class and he won the championship in his rookie season. Dungey always does well in his races and has always has such a positive attitude!
Is there one lady racer out there that you think has paved the way for other girls to be successful in the sport?
I’d have to say Jolene Van Vugt for sure! I remember when I first started racing I would always look up to her. She is an amazing rider. I love that not only can she kill it in motos but also in freestyle. She has shown girls can do anything guys can do
but better! (laughs)
What Canadian Pro do you look up to and why?
Well, if I have to pick just one I’d go with Colton Facciotti. The start of this season I know he got hurt when training down south. But he has showed hard work and dedication pays off. He had many wins this year but was just a couple points short of the championship. I also love seeing pictures of him after moto with his son Keagan and the smiles they have. Support of your family is one of the best things you can have in this sport.
What is your favourite track and why?
My favourite track I’d have to say is Walton. I love how a lot of the hills and jumps are natural. I always loved going there after I started hitting the step-down and finally the Natural Double. I’ve always found it to be a fun track to race. Also, no matter what
club is racing there is always an awesome turnout.
Who is your hero?
To be honest, I don’t have a hero. There are many people I do look up to and that have inspired me with many things but I wouldn’t really call them heroes.
What were your goals for this season?
My goals at the start of the season were to finish at top 10 at Walton TransCan and to race Gopher (Dunes) nationals and at least finish the race. I’ve always had horrible luck there racing nationals. But this year I didn’t get to race those races like I planned. I started working a lot more and saving money so that I can go to college.
What are your biggest accomplishments?
One of my biggest accomplishments was June 2013 at the Walton ANQ. Not because of how I finished but because it was the first time I ever hit the Natural Double. For years I was so scared to jump it and after having a bad start I decided I may as well try while I’m in last place anyway. Another accomplishment I’m proud of was when I raced CMX and took 1st place in the ladies class three years in a row.
What is your favourite part about going to the races?
My favourite part is of course being able to race. But I also love being able to see all my friends that I don’t get to through the week. A lot of them are like a second family to me so it’s nice to sit watching motos and catching up with how they have been. It’s also a nice escape from work and everyday life.
What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?
When I’m not racing there are many things I like to do. I love going out fishing and having bonfires. I was playing on a baseball team this year too for the first time and it was a blast! I recently picked up on skateboarding. My boyfriend has been teaching me how and I have to admit it is not as easy as I thought it was.
Is it important to have a motocross racer as a boyfriend/partner, or just a bonus?
To me it is just a bonus. As long as they know about motocross, how to ride a bike so we can go riding together, and they always support my decision to race I couldn’t ask for anything more.
If you ever have children, will they be motocross racers?
Of course! If I have kids I would want to start them young and get them into it. If they don’t want to keep doing it I wouldn’t push them. I just hope they will have the same love for the sport that I do.
Who do you want to thank?
I’d like to thank my family for being so supportive with my racing and always being there to help me, especially my brother. As well as I’d like to thank my boyfriend for his help and all of my friends from the track for everything they have done for me throughout the years!