Out of the Blue: Emma Saarela
By Jeff McConkey
Name: Emma Saarela
Birthday: April 28, 2002
Hometown: Utopia Ontario
School & Grade: Baxter Central, Grade 7
Bike: 2014 Kawasaki 100 & 85
Race Club: MMRS (Maguire’s Motocross Racing Series), WNY (Western New York), AMA, I4MX series, CMRC
Classes: Ladies, Girls 9-13, Supermini
How did you start racing?
I started racing at 8 years old. My dad has always raced motorcycles so I didn’t have much of a choice (laughs). My first bike was a Cobra 65, then I moved up to a Honda 150r. My dad always put my younger brother and me for two weeks at ‘moto camp’ each summer. During the winter he would take us down to Florida for the month of March.
As a little girl, did you ever expect to be this deep into motocross?
At first I had no clue that I would be racing for this long but now I love it and want to do it every weekend.
Do you think that motocross is harder for a girl to compete in?
I think that it’s all equal when it’s female racers, racing together. But when you start riding with boys it has its challenges.
Who is your favourite rider and why?
My favourite rider is Chad Reed because I’ve always looked up to him and get to see him on a regular basis when at Dade City MX. Chad Reed has always put a huge effort on the track and his results show.
Is there one female rider that you think has paved the way for other girls to be successful in this sport?
Hannah Hodges is a very successful rider. She has always been one of my idols. Hannah has shown the boys on the track that she is a force to reckoned with.
What Canadian Pro do you look up to and why?
To be honest, we spent a lot of time racing in WNY and have missed the last few years in Canada. I would say that Dylan Wright and Liam O’Farrell seem to be the guys to have your eyes on.
What is your favourite track and why?
My favourite Canadian track would have to be a tie between Madoc and Muttco, both MMRS tracks. I can’t say enough about MMRS, they always give us the best possible track to race on. Definitely makes going to the races enjoyable. Area 51 is an amazing track as well, a WNY track with rolling hills, amazing dirt and elevation changes. In the south, my favourite track would be Dade City MX and Tampa MX. Most of the riding there is done at night.
Who is your hero?
My hero would have to be my dad. He has always been there for me and puts a 100% effort in making sure that I have everything I need when it comes to race day. He always puts his own time and effort into taking me down to Florida every March to ride.
What are your goals for this year?
My goals for 2015 are to make it to Loretta Lynn’s in the Girls (9-13) class. Hopefully finish in the top 5 at MMRS national in Ladies, as well to finish top 10 at Walton in Ladies class.
What are your biggest accomplishments?
My biggest accomplishments are getting third place in Girls (9-15) class for the CAN-AM at Area 51, placing first in Ladies Intermediate and second in Girls (9-13) at the Madoc National and most importantly placing second at Pleasure Valley P.A. and placing second at Big Air MX in Girls Jr. and Girls Senior for a Loretta Lynn’s qualifier. Another accomplishment is getting seventh at a Loretta Lynn’s youth regional at Birch Creek Motorsports.
What is your favourite part about going to the races?
My favourite part about going to the races would have to be being able to see all of my friends and riding/racing the awesome tracks.
What do you like to do when you’re not at the races?
When I’m not at the races I like to play rugby and flag football with my friends. I also like to go shopping and to the movies with them. With my family, we like to going camping, paddle boarding, fishing and tubing together.
Is it important to have a motocross racer as a boyfriend/husband, or is it just a bonus?
I don’t think it’s important, but it would most definitely be a bonus. It would be nice to be able to ride with someone that can give you great riding tips as well as always being there every race with you.
If you ever have children, will they be motocross racers?
Most definitely! I would love to have my kids become motocross racers at a young age and be able to experience this sport the way I did, but if they don’t want to I won’t force them.
Who would you like to thank?
I’d like to thank my sponsors: Rainers Roofing, St.Onge Recreation, BWR Suspension, Douglas Ford, DNE Motors, Utopia Goggles, DT Air Filters, Mika Metals, PlumTech, Simcoe Building Solutions, and CRS rentals. Most importantly I’d like to thank my parents, Kenny and Randy Yoho, Lino Zecca, Bill Wallin, and Wilfredo Guzman for teaching me great riding tips and helping me throughout the years, Natalie Bruno for being a great track buddy and always be there for me, and everyone else who has ever supported me at the track!!