Out of the Blue | Leah Dawne Cherrington | Schrader’s

By Jeff McConkey

Name: Leah Dawne Cherrington
Date of Birth: June 22, 1990
Hometown: I grew up in a small town west of Edmonton, AB, Alberta Beach
School and Grade or Occupation: I work as a Sales Rep for Oakley and Troy Lee Designs.
Number: 22
Bike: Kawasaki 250F
Class: Ladies A

This week we feature Leah Cherrington from Alberta Beach, AB. | Ashleigh Kaliszuk photo

Who got you get started in racing?

My main man! I didn’t start riding all together till I was 24, (28 Now) and just started out riding for fun. Getting into free-riding and a bit of freestyle at that point. He comes from a racing background and got me into it making me a well-rounded rider in a short time on the bike!

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

Total Tomboy. Growing up with 2 brothers and 1 sister, the brute force of my brothers obviously was more of an influence on me. But thank God I had the balance of having a sister in the mix!

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

I would say Jolene Van Vugt really showed females how Bad A** ladies can really be. Watching her before I even rode moto and idolized what she was doing. I think I can speak for a lot females in the sport with that answer.

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

It’s harder for girls to find a large community in the sport. It’s such a large sport for males, and it’s growing for females for sure, but every race I’ve attended it’s usually one line up of females and a day’s worth of gate drops for males. It’s the same struggle on the Freestyle side of things; Ive never had a female to session a ramp

Leah’s favourite female rider is Vicki Golden. | Ashleigh Kaliszuk photo

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

Racing against girls is so much fun! I love everything about it, but I have lined up with the guys and I might not rank as well but I notice a much more aggressive riding style come out in me. Always at least try to keep up to the boys, makes for fast progression!

Who is your favourite female rider and why?

Vicki Golden! She’s a champ. Such an awesome rider all around. Her story with her injury was a huge inspiration to me, as I broke both my feet last fall and got the question “are you going to ride again?” countless times. I watched what she went through with her injury and it made me realize a strong comeback was nothing but possible!

Is there a racer you look up to and why?

I’m blown away by Ken Roczen! What he has been through two seasons in a row and can keep coming back and landing podium spots. It’s amazing what our bodies can go through and heal, never mind mentally staying focused and determined.

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

As long as my days are filled with riding, whether it’s racing, at the compound, or out trial riding, I’m happy. The events and races are newer to me so just getting out to as many as I can and meeting the community in this sport is awesome.

Who is your hero?

There is no way I can name just one! There are so many people I look up to in different ways, but anyone that can see the positive through the struggles of day to day life in general is a gold star. Especially racers / riders that have such positive attitude towards the sport, shows people what it’s really all about.

What are your plans and goals for the 2019 season?

My biggest goal is to get back on my bike after my injury. I’m hoping to have doctor’s approval to race AX in
April. If not I’ll wait till the MX season starts! On the Freestyle part of it, I’m going to keep riding and pushing myself and add a few more tricks to the trick list!

What are your biggest accomplishments to date?

Racing is a blast for me, I love the people you meet and the experience but personally, puckering up and hitting
75 ft freestyle ramp, and doing Superman seat grabs over that gap has been the biggest thrill I have ever had, never mind doing that my 3rd year on a bike. I mean, just explaining that excites me!

Moto “teaches you to know your body and know your limits and if you don’t listen to that it can go wrong pretty quick!” | Ashleigh Kaliszuk photo

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

Moto is hard. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of strength. If you ride when you’re not feeling well, or mentally off you can seriously injure yourself. I learnt the hard way this season. I wasn’t feeling up for riding, I was tired, and just having an off day when I hurt myself, but hey everyone was out to ride so I went for it anyway.
Broke both my feet with such a quick and small mistake. It teaches you to know your body and know your limits and if you don’t listen to that it can go wrong pretty quick!

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

I think it comes down to how risky and how hard Moto is on your body. It’s an aggressive sport. I felt it first hand when I’d explain to people how I broke my feet. I said to my boyfriend a few times, “ Wow, breaking both your feet on a dirt bike isn’t very lady like” (Laughs).

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

Hate to say it, but I think it’s unlikely. Females are just physically different then males. It is hard for women in all Extreme Sports to keep up with the progression that males bring to the sport.

Leah is coming back from breaking both her feet last fall and is looking forward to getting back to the races in 2019. | Ashleigh Kaliszuk photo

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

My boyfriend has a little dude and he loves riding. He’s just 6. He rides a ton but hasn’t said he wants to race yet! The more we go and race ourselves though the more he wants to! I think it’s an awesome way for a family to show kids sportsmanship, dedication, and that hard work pays off.

Who do you want to thank?

My family, my extended family, so much support through my injury! Tim, who supports me and pushes me in every way ( and built us an amazing track we call Full Throttle Farms! ) Hellbilly Ranch, provides such an amazing riding spot. Ride Hard Designs teaming up with Stealth Performance for keeping my bike looking sharp. Ashleigh Kaliszuk for the amazing photos she’s always snapping, I mean look at how good those photos are! And of course Direct Motocross for the interview!