Out of the Blue | Michelle McCarthy | Presented by Schrader’s

By Jeff McConkey

‘Out of the Blue’ is presented by Schrader’s.

Name: Michelle McCarthy

Birthday: January 24th

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

School and Grade or Occupation: Manager

Number: 412 (it means the 4th of 12 children. yes, I have 11 siblings LOL!)

Bike: 2016 KTM 250FSX

Race Club: Wild Rose Motocross Association, CDNWMX, AMSA

Class: Ladies and Vet Junior

This week, we feature Calgary, Alberta, racer, #412 Michelle McCarthy. | Pat Shippit photo

Who got you get started in racing? 

It was Jackie Seitz, she ultimately was the person who got me racing.  I love the atmosphere of race day, the energy of a shared experience with so many like-minded people feels incredible.

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

For sure a Tomboy! Flip Flops and Hoodies all the way!!  I grew up on a farm, so it was all about being outside, riding horses, chasing cows, playing baseball and riding my pedal bike.

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

Every female in the sport plays a part in paving the way for another. If we do not have one another, we would not even have a ladies class to race in. It is incredibly important to encourage, support, mentor and challenge the ladies you ride with at your local track and races to help them achieve their goals.

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

My immediate thought was physical limitations along with body chemistry; testosterone vs. estrogen, muscle mass and athleticism. At the end of the day, I still race in a ladies class, so none of what I said applies.  I would have to say it is the monetary support at the “Pro” level.  My example being is the ladies who ride the CDNWMX have to find the sponsors and raise the money themselves for the prizing and to support the volunteers who organize the series in the first place.  The ladies have to be “all in” for their National series, otherwise it will fade and die.

With this being said, a huge shout out to Kristie Moore who is the organizer of the Western Canadian Women’s Nationals.  She is doing the majority of the work to make our series happen, is not being paid and pays out of her pocket to help make the series a success.  I have serious respect for her.

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

Too hard too choose!  When I race with the ladies I am smiling ear to ear because of the courage that is shown to simply be there.  As for the guys, we smack talk on the line and in the first corner we charge down the straight away with no thought or care of consequences, we just go and hope we make it out of the first corner unscathed!

Biggest accomplishment? “Getting back on a dirt bike 9 years after breaking both of my legs and feet in multiple spots.” | TaylorMade Photos photo

Who is your favourite female rider and why? 

Michelle Horton.  She is my favourite because she is in her late 50’s and still races in the Vet Intermediate class in California.  I am going to be her.  I first saw and rode with her when I went to the World Vet Nationals in California in 2015 and she CRUSHED me!  It was awesome.

Is there a racer you look up to and why? 

I look up to all racers, so I have to answer this as the racers I am most proud of.  Dexter Seitz, he is progressing leaps and bounds year over year!  He is so darn cute on his dirt bike!  Shelby Turner, she is KILLING it in the States, and Kennedy Lutz. I watched her in Kamloops, she rode in the Men’s Intermediate class and WON!

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

The Spring and Fall Super Series at WRMA is a must. It is a great series to introduce yourself to racing, so much FUN!  Last fall, the ladies class had a full gate a couple times.  We were all really proud of that.

Who is your hero?

People who get handed some bad luck in life and then come out of that situation(s) a better person.

What are your plans and goals for the 2018 season? 

I got hooked riding the Western Nationals last year, such an incredible experience!  It was one of my bucket list goals. I am going to do it again this year. Who says that you can’t complete a bucket list goal more than once?

What are your biggest accomplishments to date? 

Getting back on a dirt bike 9 years after breaking both of my legs and feet in multiple spots.

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

Racing is my metaphor for life. You will have awesome races and the next weekend everything goes wrong, but I still show up for the next race because each time I don’t live up to my expectations, I learn.

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

Changing priorities.  Family and health being the root drivers of the changing priorities.  As an example, Jackie Seitz discovered that it was too chaotic and stressful trying to race at the same time as JC (her husband) and Dexter (her son) who were also trying to get to the line for their races.

Michelle will be lining up for the 2018 Women’s West MX Nationals again in 2018. | Eden Schell photo

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

One day, a female will podium…..it might be 20+ years from now, but one day………

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

My children are my puppies, they are fans and come to almost every single race!

Who do you want to thank? 

Pat Shippit who is my boyfriend, mechanic, pit boss, race buddy and coach.  Jackie and JC Seitz who always make sure I have a bike to ride on race days, a warm place to put my gear on and smiles of encouragement.  Cycle Works Foothills, this bike shop is the prime supporter of motocross in Southern Alberta and are spreading their wings to support Enduro cross and off-road racers as well, we are lucky to have CWF supporting so many riders and events.  All of the ladies who come out to ride and race, your encouragement and smiles are priceless to me.