Out of the Blue | Raelyn Rooney | Presented by Schrader’s
By Jensen Amyotte
Name: Raelyn Rooney
Date of Birth: December 5, 1995
Hometown: Agoura Hills, CA
Grade or occupation: Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, Mindset Coach
Race Number: 125
Bike: Husqvarna FC 250
Classes: Women’s 12+, WMX
Who/what inspired you to get into the sport of motocross and how long have you been racing/riding?
When I was 8 years old, my paternal grandpa passed away at 63 from what we believe to be a heart attack in his sleep. At the time, my parents were big into saving money and not spending. My dad had an instant realization that he couldn’t hoard money because you never know how long you have on this Earth. He decided to live his life doing something he loved but couldn’t afford as a kid, which was riding dirt bikes! Then came me, a tiny dancer… He didn’t expect me to beg him incessantly for a dirt bike – silly padre. Eventually, he caved and the rest is history!
When not on a dirt bike how do you keep yourself busy? Are you involved in any other sports or extracurricular activities?
When I’m not riding I’m either working with personal training, nutrition, and mindset clients, working out myself, or with my boyfriend either snowboarding, rock climbing, watching him highline/trickline, being a pain in the butt, reading self-growth books, and growing my spirituality!
As a racer, are there any obstacles you feel a female racer has to deal with that maybe a male racer does not?
I definitely believe, whole-heartedly, women have the short end of the stick in this sport. But I don’t try and look at this from a victimization standpoint… I approach it from the viewpoint of: we need proper support and better organization in this sport, for both men and women. A lot of these promoters are in it for the profit and if it can’t make them large amounts of money, they’re out. Even with the men. The Supercross riders are way underpaid – let’s be real.
But back to women, here in the US, we have NO women’s professional series and even with record numbers of female sign ups at amateur races, our promoters really refuse to budge. There are a few of us working to find other opportunities.
My Professional License was only useful for one season before they moved it to the east coast and completely eradicated it so that has always been a bummer. Not only that, a lot of us women are so much smaller than the men. The physical differences are not even comparable.
I’m a firm believer that the people who look down on women riders do so because of the organizers’ continual degradation toward us, but I digress.
From your first ride to where you are now, what is something you never thought you would be able to overcome but have?
This may be different but I never thought I could be feminine and fast. When I was little, I was convinced I had to be a Tom boy and wear boys clothes to be fast. I wouldn’t touch make up, pink and purple, or women’s gear with a 6-foot pole which is so silly. It took me 8 years to get over that thought and funny enough, I got faster the more I embraced my femininity paired with my competitive nature.
Who is your all-time favourite rider and why?
My gosh, I have to say my boyfriend Jeremy (Byrne). Although he went through severe burnout and backed away from the racing scene, I have to say I’ve never seen such natural talent from a rider in my life. He’d battle for top positions with the kids on factory bikes, with access to all the training programs, and more money to race, while he was literally eating cinnamon rolls, never lifted a weight at a gym until 16, and was on any bike his working parents could afford. They gave up everything to give him as much as they could.
He doesn’t even realize the talent he has and was always so humble when people asked him about his riding. I was always blown away and would be like, “NO! You don’t understand…”
I know if he put in the work and had a bit more of an opportunity he’d easily have been a top competitor… that’s not just the girlfriend in me saying that. That’s the personal trainer, coach, and racer recognizing ridiculous talent. It’s insane. If you ever see him at the track, you’ll understand. Everyone does.
What is your favourite track and why?
Cal City MX Park in California City, California has topped every track I’ve ever been to in my 18 years of riding and racing. John and Inge Elmes run the track with their sons. It is always perfectly groomed, the facilities are SO clean, they have a parts and tire changing shop, the dirt is ridiculous – part sand, part loam, and the jumps are the best you’ll find in Southern California. This track is far out in the desert that it’s not in the popular zone down south, but if you take the drive, you’ll for sure be coming back!
What event do you look forward to most every year, one you don’t ever want to miss?
I used to really look forward to Mammoth Motocross, but my family couldn’t afford to go every year – I’m the oldest of 3 kids and the only kid that rides, so motocross wasn’t always the top of the list, even though it was the most prominent and expensive in our schedules. So, anytime I’d miss it I’d have major FOMO. It’s just one of those races where even though it has a big name, I’ve never felt pressure there. It’s always just FUN. I’d love to head back there this year, so if I can make it happen, I will!
Who has been your biggest inspiration/hero on and off the track?
I have the utmost respect for Ken Roczen. He’s my favorite rider outside of Jeremy. How can you not like a guy who was so dominant so young with clear talent and insane work ethic? And then to go through the stuff he went through… I know there is no other rider who would’ve come back from that. I’m convinced of it. The mental capacity he has is so underrated. People are so quick to say “he fades” or “he has ___ in his head” but to be real, Ken’s mental game is beyond what many people can fathom.
I got scared of kickers after breaking my collarbone. Can you imagine almost amputating your arm, coming back to Supercross, and being the highest earning points contender in Supercross and Motocross combined in 2021? That is nothing we will likely ever see another athlete do in our lifetime.
I really have no words to explain the respect I have for him. Those are the kind of people you want to surround yourself with – ones that never give up, still find joy in the work/struggles, and radiate good vibes.
Do you have any pre-moto rituals?
Hahaha I can be strange with my pre-moto rituals. I started them when I was young and had anxiety… but now I’m spiritual and trusting so they’re more like habits. I always put my left knee brace on first, if my right one goes on first by accident, I take it off – lol. I also have this weird goggle habit where it has to be perfectly pressed on my face so it takes me a minute to adjust them properly.
Tell us about your 2021 race season and your plans for 2022.
I quit racing in 2017 after breaking my collarbone in 2016 really messed with my confidence. I tried coming back, but just was so fearful (hence my utmost respect for Kenny.) I’ve been keeping it quiet but I’ve been training to make a comeback into the racing scene. Not just locally, but on the amateur national scale. It’s incredibly nerve wracking for me though because I’ve been out of it so long so I have to set my ego aside and understand my results will come as I regain racing experience. I’m not a quitter and refuse to live with that anymore.
What are your biggest accomplishments to date?
Gosh, I’m just proud of being able to get to where I have with racing. I simply started at 8.5 years old riding in the desert once every few months… then my dad took me to the track and I fell in love. But I never started this with the intention of becoming pro. I chose to take that route at 10 years old and to have accomplished it… what an empowering feeling to commit to something for so long. I’m also proud of running my own training business and staying in one single committed relationship with the love of my life for what’s now been 8 years!
What is the biggest lesson that motocross racing/ off-road has taught you so far?
Your mind is your biggest supporter or your own worst enemy, but you have the power to choose which it will be.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would genuinely love to be a personal trainer, nutritionist, and mental toughness coach for factory riders. Being a female trainer (again like being a girl in racing) I know I have my work cut out for me to prove myself, but I am so unbelievably confident in what I have to offer. It’s probably where I’m most confident in life is in my training programs and potential.
Is there a female(s) out there who you feel has paved the way for other girls to be successful in motocross or off road?
Ashley Fiolek, 100%! She brought so much recognition to not only WMA/WMX, but to the sport as a whole. I don’t need to go into detail, we know how amazing she is! And, I get to talk to her regularly… she is genuinely as sweet as you’d think she is!
If you ever have children will you give them the option to race as well?
I want to be the parent that allows their child to choose what they want to do! If they like to ride and race, sure! But the pressure I see from parents in this sport (and other sports) genuinely sickens me. My children will 100% choose what they like to do and if they want to do it for fun or be elite at it, that will be their choice as well!
If you could give 1 piece of advice to a female of any age who wants to start riding, what would it be?
Don’t you EVER let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. And do not let the lack of a series discourage you either. A series is coming in some way or another, a group of us will make sure of that, but for now, always put your best effort into everything you do and love yourself! You are no less worthy than any other racer who chooses to get on the line.
What was your first race number and how did you choose it?
My first number was 12 because I was obsessed with the movie Motocrossed! “Andy Carson 125 Pro” “Andrea Carson, Andy for short.”
Do you see yourself ever competing in the Canadian WMX Triple Crown series?
I would genuinely love to one of these days! With everything going on in the world, I’m not sure at that possibility currently, but the fact that they actually have something for women up there definitely appeals to us from the US!
What do you like to do in the off season?
I’m spoiled… living in Southern California, there is no off season here!
Who would you like to thank?
I genuinely want to thank my family, my boyfriend, and my boyfriend’s family for loving my motocross-addicted self. They put up with me saying “I like dirt bikes” at least 10 times a day so they deserve an award! I also want to thank EKS Brand Goggles and Factory Backing for sticking by me for over a decade! I have great people behind me and I really enjoy supporting family owned businesses. Thank you to O’neal and Pat Hodgins for bringing me on board this year and spoiling the bajeezus out of me! I have never had gear sets and boots fit me so well and to have them customized is even cooler! Thank you to 1st Phorm for the awesome, high quality supplements they provide which helped me pack on some weight to my tiny body and keep me feeling good day in and day out. Thank you to LSKD for the workout clothes, this personal trainer always loves a good outfit! Thank you Insta360 for all the cool camera gear that allows me to get content for everyone on my social media platforms. And thank you to all of you who support my kooky dancing, riding, loud, outgoing and very different self! Without all of you, I would not be where I am today! I hope you know that I mean it when I say I love you tons!