Out of the Blue | Heather Chalifoux | Schrader’s

By Jeff McConkey

Presented by Schrader’s.

Name: Heather Chalifoux
Birthday: March 26, 1997
Hometown: Sherwood Park, Alberta
School and Grade or Occupation: Hydrovac Swamper
Number: 7
Bike: YZ125
Race Club: AOTMX ( Alberta Old Timers Motocross )
Class: Ladies A

This week, ‘Out of the Blue’ features Alberta racer, Heather Chalifoux. | Photo supplied by Heather

Who got you get started in racing?

My dad has a good friend named Gary that used to race AOTMX. When our families would go out trail riding together, Gary noticed that for my age I had quite the skill on a dirt bike. He kept pushing me into coming with him to a race because he saw my ability and my fearless attitude on a bike and knew I would be able to use that to my advantage. When I was about 16 I went
into my first race and I’ve been hooked ever since.

As a little girl, were you a ‘girly girl’ or a ‘tomboy?’

I would say I was more of a ‘tomboy’ just by the way I was raised but I still loved being a girl and doing my hair and make-up and putting on my mom’s heals. I grew up on a farm with my older brother, when chores needed to be done they got done. Whether that was feeding chickens, cutting wood, shoveling snow, picking rocks in the field or pounding fence posts. I was never treated as a ‘princess,’ if my older brother was capable of doing a task, I was right there beside him completing it.

Is there one female out there that you think has paved the way for other girls to be successful in Moto?

I wouldn’t say that there is one, specifically, any female that goes out there and gives it her hardest paves a way for another girl to recognize her and follow in her footsteps. I look up to a lot of the ladies I race with so I can even say that I have witnessed this myself. Seeing other girls that are in the same mindset as me gives me so much inspiration and motivation and I hope other girls look up to me the same way for I try to be a good role model.

As a racer, are there any obstacles that you feel a female racer has to deal with, that maybe a male racer doesn’t?

From my experience of hanging out at the track weekend after weekend and watching so many riders of different skill levels, male or female, there is definitely a couple obstacles some female riders need to face. From what I’ve seen, male riders have way more aggression and tend to be more fearless when it comes to racing. By showing that aggression and competitiveness, it seems to get you a little farther by making a sketchy pass, or giving it full throttle just to get those few extra seconds in. This does not apply to all female riders but just from my observations it’s what I have gathered.

Who do you like racing against better, the girls or boys?

As long as I am riding, it honestly doesn’t matter to me. There is just as much of a challenge between the two. I feel that when I race with males, it makes me push myself even harder than what I already do just because I want to prove a point and impress people that I am capable of keeping up with anyone, even though I am a female, and that I’m fearless when I’m behind those bars. Bring it on boys.

Who is your favourite female rider and why?

Jolene Van Vugt is a huge inspiration to me because she has accomplished so much as a rider from motocross to freestyle to stunt riding for Nitro Circus. Nothing seems to slow her down when it comes to riding and fear never stands in her way from doing insane stunts.

Internationals at Antler Lake is Heather’s “Can’t Miss Race.” | Photo supplied by Heather

Is there a racer you look up to and why?

I look up to any and all riders. If I can share a common interest in something I know so much about with another fellow rider, you are considered a buddy in my books. I’ll always listen closely to information riders are willing to share with me and give some knowledge back if that means it can help either one of us succeed in our goals.

Do you have a ‘can’t miss’ race or event that you try to attend every season?

Definitely Internationals at Antler Lake, Alberta. There are so many people that come from all over Canada as well as the United States to come ride and I have the opportunity to attend the amazing event. AOTMX always puts in such a huge effort at Internationals as well as every other event.

Who is your hero?

My dad is my hero. He has taught me everything I needed to know in life and made me the person that I am today. He continues to share every piece of knowledge he has with me to help me become a better person. On weekends, my dad and I will sit in our garage for hours working on our bikes together and it’s such a great bonding experience, I will never forget those moments. My dad, at the ripe old age of 50, still comes with me to every race, as well as still rides and I think that is absolutely amazing. Those are goals that I have is to be on a bike for as long as he has and I hope one day I can share my knowledge about riding, that he has given to me, to my children.

What are your plans and goals for the 2018 season?

My goal for this 2018 riding season is to push myself harder than I ever have before. I’m also focusing on finding sponsorship. I want to go harder, better, faster and stronger. I want to attend as many races as I can this year to improve my skills. I also want to try to learn a few tricks on the side as well, the main one I’m focusing on this year is to whip properly. I hope I can get it, I’m almost there!

What are your biggest accomplishments to date?

My biggest accomplishments, racing wise, is the fact that I have failed, fallen, broken bones, broken bikes, but I have never broken my dreams. All the crashes I have had, big or small, have never even crossed my mind to back down, but to strive for greatness. I say this because last season I took the biggest spill that I have had yet on a bike (surprisingly). I got a concussion,
broke my wrist in two spots and severe nerve damage down my side and not for a second did it scare me into quitting. If you’re not crashing, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. I have not been on a bike yet since my crash for I am still healing and I am so excited to get back out there, wheel to wheel, banging steel.

What is the biggest lesson that racing motocross has taught you so far?

Motocross has taught me lots, like how to make quick decisions, how to turn off your brain for a split-second to avoid fear, picking ruts and make up time in corners. But most importantly, I’ve learned that Motocross is like one big family. Anyone who rides can instantly make a connection and can talk for hours about riding. All the riders are so kind to each other even on the track when you crash and stop to ask if you’re okay. It’s one big family that I’m so blessed to be a part of it.

Most female racers leave the sport much earlier then male racers. Why do you think that is?

I think that some of the female racers might leave because of the aggression and competitiveness which I understand for sure because it can get pretty intense sometimes and not all girls can handle it. That being said, this can apply to males as well. It all depends on how much you want it in your heart.

Do you think it is possible for us to ever see a female Supercross champion?

Yes, and I hope it is me someday. My dream has always been to race Supercross, even though that might be a far-fetched goal, that doesn’t stop me from believing and pushing myself towards that goal. Females are great riders and if you aim for your goal, you might just end up reaching it if you set your mind to it.

“My goal for this 2018 riding season is to push myself harder than I ever have before. I’m also focusing on finding sponsorship. I want to go harder, better, faster and stronger.” | Photo supplied by Heather

If you ever have children, will they be motocross racers?

Yes. I plan on having the same aspirations as what my parents did. I was thrown on a bike the day I could walk and I’ve been addicted to the adrenaline ever since. I guess you could say I was sentenced to a life behind bars.

Who do you want to thank?

I want to thank my friends and family of course for always supporting me. My best friend, Devyn, is at all of my races by choice and I cannot thank her enough for always standing on the edge of the track, screaming as I rip by with a huge smile on her face and love in her heart. My family is always at my races, my mother taking pictures, my brother cheering me on and last but not least, my dad. My dad is always the one standing by the finish line, he is my transportation, my coach, my mechanic, my biggest supporter, my biggest fan, my hero. I’ll always wear the crown that you gave me. Thank you!