By Jeff McConkey
Name: Erica Penney
Date of Birth: August 16, 1996
Hometown: St. John’s, Newfoundland
School and Grade or Occupation: Machine Operator
Bike: 2016 CRF 250R
Race Club: WRMA
Class: Ladies Class
Who got you get started in racing?
My ex-boyfriend raced Pro and I’d always come to the track with him, and seeing him race and everyone having so much fun really made me want to get into it!
As a little girl, were you a ‘girly’ girl or a ‘tomboy?’
Definitely a tomboy. I grew up on a farm so I loved being outside and getting muddy and having fun. My mom bought me Barbies when I was little and I absolutely hated them. We had a pit bull and she would rip the heads off them and I would shove the heads in the toilet when I was a little girl.
Is there one female out there that you think has paved the way for other girls to be successful in Moto or Off Road?
I honestly don’t think it’s just one female that’s paved the way for us other girls. I think it’s all of us giving each other motivation that we can do it!
As a racer, are there any obstacles that you feel a female racer has to deal with that maybe a male racer doesn’t?
I feel like women aren’t taken as serious as guys are. Guys think we are the “weaker” sex . I think people don’t think we will be as fast or crazy as men or can’t keep up.
Who do you like racing against better, the girls or boys?
It’s nice riding with both. I love riding with the girls because we kind of have more respect for each other and stay in our own bubbles. Riding with guys they are more ruthless.
I remember going to the track one day and it was mostly guys out riding and the ruts were crazy that day and was sooo muddy out and I got stuck in a rut up to my hip and buried my bike in it. I struggled to get it back out and all the guys just kept givin’ ‘er and flying past me roosting me.
Riding with guys definitely pushes you to new limits and gives you that motivation to ride harder!
Who is your favourite female rider and why?
Honestly, I respect all the women and girls that are getting out there and showing the boys we can do it also and kicking butt at it. It can be pretty intimidating starting out.
Is there a racer you look up to and why?
Honestly, Cody Matechuk is someone I look up to. The guy is crazy on a bike and always pushes the limits. He has no fear – always pushing harder and harder.
Do you have a “can’t miss” race, or event that you try to attend every season?
My cant miss event is Surfin Berms. It’s an all ladies event that was started. We all get together a couple times a month to ride and have fun. I think it’s awesome that it was started because there are so many new girls coming out and wanting to try it out, and I love that more and more woman are getting involved and wanting to learn.
They’re a great group of ladies. We have ladies and girls of all ages and experience that come out and have fun. That’s how I got into riding track and getting into racing.
My first time out they gave me some tips for riding track and have been just learning so much and slowly getting better.
Who is your hero?
My dad, probably. He’s the one who first got me on a bike and always been there for me and pushed and motivated me and made me a stronger person for it.
What are your plans and goals for the 2019 season?
My goal is to enter as many races this year and actually place in them, and to just have fun and get better at the sport to improve my riding skills and not break any bones. (Laughs)
What are your biggest accomplishments to date?
Probably getting the nerve to actually ride a Pro track was definitely scary and very intense. I thought it would have taken me longer before I was able to actually do a couple laps on the Pro track.
What is the biggest lesson that Motocross racing / Off Road has taught you so far?
Never give up. Responsibility because there is no one else to blame if a mistake was made in technique. Confidence is also a big one. You’re riding at high speeds and hitting jumps that might scare you at first. And family closeness. Motocross racers need a lot of family support, from kids’ parents to buy their bikes, get them to races, and help them handle the wins and losses. And everyone at the track is basically one big family. They all try to help each other out.
Most female racers leave the sport much earlier than male racers. Why do you think that is?
I think maybe most woman get discouraged and maybe shy away from it. It is a very male-dominated sport and that can be a bit intimidating .
Do you think it is possible for us to ever see a female Supercross champion?
Heck ya! I don’t see why not. I think women are just as capable as men at the sport and there’s more and more woman getting into the sport and killing it!
If you ever have children, will they be Off Road or Motocross racers?
I started off road riding and it’s a ton of fun. Climbing hills and thick bush, it really makes you learn how to get threw tricky spots and be more aware of your surroundings, but Motocross is also such an adrenaline rush. I think if I ever had kids I would try them out on both and let them choose which one they like or both!
Who do you want to thank?
I’d like to thank Surfin Berms. The ladies have been so amazing and welcoming! Big thanks to all the awesome people that come out and take such amazing pictures and support us!! J&M Racing co., Be Rob. and JC Photos.