Out of the Blue: Krista Casselman
By Jeff McConkey
Name: Krista Casselman
Birthday: September 13th, 1995
Hometown: Gatineau, Quebec
School & Grade or Occupation: 2nd year Graphic Design student, took a year off to work and ride
Bike: 2015 YZ 250F
Race Club: CMRC, AMA, MX101, I4MX
Classes: Ladies, Ladies A, MX2 Beginner, 250 Beginner, Woman’s Nationals
How did you get started in racing?
Since I was 9 I have always had trail bikes, from a PW 80 up to a Honda CRF 150F. When I would get home from school I would rip around in the fields behind my house and on the little track and trail my dad built for me until dark. Every year when spring came around, my parents were always looking to sign me up for summer camps. One summer we stumbled upon MX101’s summer camps. I decided to attend a week of camp that summer and had so much fun that I returned for a few more weeks for the next two years. After my third year of camps, with the help of Kevin Tyler, Dylan Wright and Jay Moore, the instructors at the time, they all had me convinced to buy a race bike and get into racing. So I went home and bugged my dad until he finally decided to buy me a race bike the next year and I began racing.
As a little girl, did you ever expect to be this deep into a sport like motocross?
To be honest, I never expected to ever be racing motocross when I was a little girl. I was the typical little girl that figure skated. Riding my dirt bike was just a pastime. I dreamed of become a Canadian Figure Skating Champion until the age of 12. After that I began to play competitive hockey in the winter and ended up finding a lot more time for motocross in the summer.
Do you think motocross is harder for a female to compete in?
Yes, it definitely is. The women don’t have the support that men do. Although it is getting better every year, we still aren’t anywhere near the amount of coverage and the support that the men get.
Who is your favourite rider and why?
Ryan Dungey is my favourite rider. I have been a big fan since he won his 250 title on a Suzuki. He is such a smooth rider and makes everything look easy. He is like the underdog; he can come from last place and still win a race even if he doesn’t ride aggressive. He isn’t one to make a lot of mistakes; he is very consistent in his riding. I also like that he is very approachable with his fans and takes time to talk and signs their paraphernalia for them, he speaks well and doesn’t act like he has a chip on his shoulder. He always has smile on his face.
Is there one lady racer out there that you think has paved the way for other girls to be successful in the sport?
I personally think that Hannah Hodges is paving the way for other girls to be successful in the sport. She has proven that girls can be just as fast and competitive as boys. For example, last year at Monster Cup in Vegas last year she finished 10th overall in the Supermini class.
What Canadian Pro do you look up to and why?
Dylan Wright. I look up to him because of his passion and love for the sport. After spending a significant amount of time with him getting to know him, I realize the dedication and will it takes to do this for a living. I have never seen someone work so hard to get the results he so strongly desires. When I think back to Gopher Dunes national two years ago and how hot it was, Dylan came third as an amateur. It takes some serious conditioning to be able to last a 25+2 moto in those kinds of conditions, meanwhile a lot of others were fading and others were unable to finish the race. This demonstrates the commitment level he has for off the bike training just as much as his on bike training. Dylan signed his first pro contract at the age of 16, this makes him a great role model for the younger kids coming up from amateur ranks. He is also very approachable with fans and even takes time out of his busy training and racing schedule to support me and my racing.
What is your favourite track and why?
I have two favorite tracks; I would have to say that my favorite Canadian track is hands down Sand Del Lee in Richmond, Ontario. Kevin (Tyler) and Johnny (Grant) always do such an amazing job prepping the track and getting it ready to ride not only for the races but also for every day practice. It is also my favourite track because I love the dirt that they have, the front section is really sandy with berms but the back is more hard packed and gets rutty. From one end of the track to the other you have to adapt your riding to the exact spot on the track and it makes for great all round practice. It also helps that it is the closest track to home which allows me to ride there a lot during the week!
As for a track in the US, I have to say that my favourite track is HardRock MX in Ocala, Florida, because they have a very cool facility with several tracks to ride. The main track has some elevation changes and a nice flow to it. I also like the track because it is different dirt than what I’m used to riding back home; it is really hard packed and even blue grooved in some spots. It definitely takes some getting used to and some adapting to be able to push yourself. It just goes to show that you have to be able to ride all sorts of different dirt and that any day of riding is better than being at home!
Who is your hero?
My hero would definitely be my parents. They support me at every race; my parents make sure my bike is ready to race or to ride at practice. They are also my biggest fans. If one of them cannot make it out to a race on the weekend they are usually just as disappointed to not be there as much I am because they aren’t there. Racing isn’t the same without my parents. My parents work really hard during the week which allows me to be able to get to the track on the weekend and do what I love to do. If it weren’t for them I would not be able to ride and do what I do now.
What are your goals for this season?
My goals for the 2015 season are to finish inside the top 10 in the Eastern Woman’s Nationals after all three rounds, to be 1st overall at the end of the Sand Del Lee Ironman Series in the Ladies class, and to be top 5 with the boys in Beginner.
What are your biggest accomplishments?
I believe that one of my biggest accomplishments since I have started racing has been the recent trip I made to Florida. Because of my passion for the sport and the desire to get better and improve. In September I decided to take a year off of school to work and save some money to be able to go down south to train and ride for a month. I juggled two jobs, training at the gym, playing competitive hockey and tried to have a social life from September until the end of February to be able to pay for my trip and all my riding. I spent the entire month of March in Florida riding during the week and racing every weekend, and I spent the first week of April in North Carolina at JWTF and NCMP.
My dedication and commitment [to] the sport are one of the main reasons that I was able to have success in realizing this goal. As for my racing accomplishments, I would have to say my 3rd place at HardRock MX, a race in the I4MX series down in Florida that I raced in March would be one. Following that, would be my completion of the three rounds of the Woman’s Nationals last year and finishing the season off with some points for the first time. Lastly, it would be coming 3rd in the Ladies Class at the Sand Del Lee Ironman Series in 2014.
What is your favourite part about going to the races?
My favourite part about going to the races is by far the racing but there is also the family aspect. Racing is something we all do as a family, it would be hard to imagine myself going racing without having my family there with me and to support me. Every race weekend I look forward to getting away knowing that my parents have my back 100%. I have also met so many amazing people at the track, many of which I can call close friends. It is exciting to go racing and see people you know. It’s fun to be able to watch and cheer them on and they do the same in return! There is no family like motocross family. I can’t wait for the season to start!
What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?
When I am not away during the week riding or racing on weekends you can usually find me playing hockey and/or soccer. I also spend many afternoons during the week at the gym training. It’s also nice to get away to my family cottage for a day or two when I have time to enjoy the weather, relax and swim in the summer.
Is it important to have a motocross racer as a boyfriend/husband, or just a bonus?
To me it’s not important to have a boyfriend as a racer I personally think that it’s just a bonus. I am lucky to be with someone that understands the sport and is just as passionate about it as I am. It makes things a lot easier; I always have someone to ride and someone to train at the gym with. When making meals, for the most part enjoy eating the same things as it requires a healthy diet to get the results we both want. I also think that it’s a bonus because it is someone I can look up too and someone I can rely on for support when I need it.
If you ever have children, will they be motocross racers?
Of course, it would be fun to pass on my passion for the sport to my children. I would also love to be a fifty-cc parent. I really enjoy watching the little kids and teaching them at MX101 camps because you can see the potential some of them have. I would love for my kid/kids to have the opportunity to do what I am doing, but if they don’t want to and don’t enjoy it I won’t force them to.
Who do you want to thank?
I would like to thank my dad first of all for being my mechanic and making sure that my bike is always tip top shape and ready for me when I want to ride and my mom for tagging along, making me lunch, and helping me wash my gear so I am ready for the next moto. I would like to thank my parents in general, for supporting me and driving me all around the country to allow me to do something I am passionate about, Dylan for your support and for helping me out at the races as well as with some of my bike work, Kevin Tyler and the whole MX101 crew, Jim Koleman and Wheelsport Racing, Rob from FitQuest for the great off bike training, Matrix Concepts, Works Connection, Dunlop Tires, TwinAir, HitCase Iphone and anyone else who has helped me or cheered me on at the track.