Out of the Blue: Natalie Bruno
By Jeff McConkey
Name: Natalie Bruno
Birthday: January 2nd, 1997
Hometown: Thornton, ON
School & Grade or Occupation: Grade 12 at Bear Creek Secondary School
Bike: KTM 125
Race Club: Maguire’s Motocross Racing Series and Western New York Racing
Classes: Ladies A, Youth C/D, 250 D
How did you get started in racing?
When I was 7, I literally just saw a commercial for dirt biking and told my dad I wanted a dirt bike. Before then, I had absolutely no knowledge or interest in dirt biking. My dad took me to RJ’s where Clinton Smout taught me how to ride, and then my dad bought me my own little PW 50. Less than a year later I entered in my first race at RJ’s with CMRC. I’ve been racing almost every weekend in the spring, summer and fall ever since!
As a little girl, did you ever expect to be this deep into a sport like motocross?
As a little girl I had no idea I would be dedicating almost every weekend to motocross. I kind of just went weekend by weekend and as I grew and advanced to bigger bikes, bigger classes, got faster and started winning some trophies I enjoyed it more and more.
Do you think motocross is harder for a female to compete in?
I think there is a bit of difficulty for female motocross racers because it seems like most guys can’t stand being beat by girls; I even had a guy try to push me off the track one race. My dad always tells me that when I pass guys and they see my pink suit and blonde hair fly by they get pretty mad. It seems like motocross is becoming more popular with females which makes it a lot better; I’m always more confident racing in the male-dominated classes when there is another girl in it!
Who is your favourite rider and why?
Ryan Dungey has been my favourite rider for a long time because I’ve always cheered him on when I go to watch the Supercross. He’s a strong, consistent rider and always fun to watch.
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 there are so many amazing female racers that have been so successful but Ashley Fiolek is really inspiring to me. She is deaf and rides by feeling the vibrations of her bike to know when to shift which just proves that girls are amazing. I’ve worked at the Bob Rumball Camp of the Deaf for 3 years and am really interested by the whole deaf community so I think it is so awesome that Ashley is deaf and has won so many big titles in motocross.
What Canadian Pro do you look up to and why?
I look up to Kyle Keast because he’s overcome many challenges but still manages to be a successful rider.
What is your favourite track and why?
It is so hard to pick a favourite track because all of the MMRS tracks are so fun to ride and they maintain them so well. I also really love Monster Mountain in Alabama. My dad and I usually spend all of March Break riding there to get some practice in before the race season starts. Area 51 is also a really fun track that we go to annually for the Can Am Air event.
Who is your hero?
I’d have to say that my dad is my hero! He puts endless amounts of money, time and effort into motocross for not only me but himself too. He races as well which I’m really proud of considering he is 55! He does absolutely everything to make sure my bike is spotless and problem-free and is in the garage that he turned into his own little bike shop frequently throughout the week. He does everything that has to do with my bike; I literally just ride it. He’s provided me with so many great opportunities like taking me down south to different parts of the states to ride, sending me to Motocamp for 4 years in a row to improve my riding skills, and even took me to California this past January for my birthday to watch the Anaheim 1 Supercross.
What are your goals for this season?
My goals for this season are to just generally improve my riding and get faster so that I can get up there with the faster ladies during races.
What are your biggest accomplishments?
One of my biggest accomplishments was getting to race at the Vancouver Supercross in the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge when I was 7. I was picked out of hundreds of applications to be 1 of 15 kids that got to race, and I was the only girl chosen! It was such a fun experience. Another one of my accomplishments was winning the 6 foot trophy series for MMRS in Ladies Intermediate 2 years ago as well as winning the MMRS nationals for ladies intermediate that year. One more accomplishment I’m proud of is getting to work at Motocamp in Parry Sound and helping teach kids to improve their riding skills.
What is your favourite part about going to the races?
I love that my dad and I make a whole weekend out of the MMRS races. We always leave Friday evening when I’m done school and drive to the track and don’t leave until Sunday evening. I always really look forward to seeing my track friends and getting to hang out with them all weekend. MMRS has such a great family feeling that I love; it’s so nice to see the same familiar faces every weekend.
What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?
When I’m not racing I’m either shopping, working on endless homework, hanging out with friends, skiing, doing volunteer work or at cheer practice.
Is it important to have a motocross racer as a boyfriend/husband, or just a bonus?
I don’t think it’s necessarily important but it would definitely be a bonus. I think it would be super fun to have a guy to ride with and spend time at the track with (…besides my dad).
If you ever have children, will they be motocross racers?
I would definitely love to get my future kids involved in motocross, but I know I would be that mom that is constantly worried about them crashing just like my mom!
Who do you want to thank?
I’d like to thank my dad for making the past 11 years of my riding career possible, everyone at MMRS for running such a fun series, Harvey Gold for taking such amazing pictures every weekend, Emma Saarela for being my best track friend, Lino Zecca at Motocamp for helping me improve my riding skills so much, and Richard Krezman for always giving me great riding tips.