Out of the Blue | Erica Solmes | Schrader’s
By Jeff McConkey
Name: Erica Solmes
Birthday: February 27th, 1992
Hometown: Belleville, ON
School and Grade or Occupation: Bartender / Studying Architecture at the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada
Bike: 2017 CRF 250R
Race Club: AMO / CMRC
Classes: LADIES / +25
How did you get started in racing?
Since my dad was a former top 10 pro class motocross racer, I came by racing quite honestly. My first race was a flat track race at The Belleville Half-Mile on a little Honda 50. I finished third against the boys and I’ve been hooked on racing ever since.
As a little girl, did you ever expect to be this deep into a sport like motocross?
Honestly, no. As little girls, we aren’t exactly streamlined into being motocross racers, no matter what background we come from or how open-minded our parents are. I think I was really lucky to have a dad that was so heavily involved in the sport while I was growing up. The female side of the sport has come so far, even over the last five years, and there are definitely girls out there that are proving it’s not just a sport for the boys anymore.
Do you think motocross is harder for a female to compete in?
Quite honestly, I think motocross is hard for anybody to compete in, because there are so many variables in the sport. I think, as females, we face the same challenges as everybody else does. We have our own national series and we get a ladies class at any local races, so we have a safe place to go racing and a national series to graduate into. However, because there is such a big gap between the front and back of the class and lack of numbers at local races, we typically get double-gated behind a slower class, which is frustrating.
Women’s Motocross has come a long way over the past five or six years and I think we have gained a lot of respect in the industry, as racers, making it easier for the next generation of girls coming up. However, I think when we do things like bikini calendar fundraisers for our series we take away a lot of that respect we’ve earned as racers.
Who is your favourite rider and why?
Jason Anderson is my favourite rider, because he leaves it all on the track every weekend. He knows his goals on race day, he rides with intensity no matter where he ends up out of the gate, and he isn’t afraid to hang out it to make it happen.
Is there one lady racer out there that you think has paved the way for other girls to be successful in the sport?
I think Denaye (Arnet) and Camille (Bunko) took a big step for women’s motocross when they took it into their own hands in 2012. They returned our national series and gave us a stage to grow on, and I think the class has done just that. The women’s nationals have seen far better turn outs and the quality of racing has improved incredibly since then. I have so much respect for these girls, and I hope we can continue to grow what they started.
What is your favourite track and why?
Motopark is definitely my favourite place to ride. The team at Motopark does a wicked job of making sure the track is taken care of and that it is a safe place to ride for all levels of riders. And the events and kids camps they put on are a true class act.
What are your goals for this season?
I had a pretty rough start to the year, with a bad crash back in May. I tore my PCL and meniscus in my right knee, as well as a lingering impact injury to my ankle, so the recovery process has seemed long. I will be going for knee surgery in the fall, so I am just hoping to get as much riding in as I can before then. When I decided to race the last two women’s nationals, my goal was just to get in the top 10. I managed to do that at RJ’s last weekend, and I am looking forward to racing Motopark this weekend and hopefully Madoc the following weekend before surgery.
What are your biggest accomplishments?
Honestly, I was pretty pumped to be in the top 10 this past weekend at RJ’s, with the lack of preparation that went into my riding, due to the injuries from the previous months.
What is your favourite part about going to the races?
My favourite part about going racing is the moto family atmosphere at the track.
What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?
When I’m not at the track or at work, I am typically studying for school. However, I do try to get out to golf as much as I can in the summer. And in the winter I enjoy snowboarding.
Is it important to have a motocross racer as a boyfriend/husband, or just a bonus?
I think it is important that girls learn how to take care of their equipment and be independent, so that a boyfriend is not a requirement of going racing.
Who do you want to thank?
I would like to thank all my sponsors for the continued support: Split Designs Co., O’Neal MX, Gaerne Boots, Smith Optics, Pirelli Tires, and West City Powersports in Belleville. I would also like to thank my mom for all the support over the years and my dad for getting me involved in this amazing sport.