Out of the Blue | Suzanne Pelletier | Presented by Schrader’s
By Jeff McConkey
Name: Suzanne Pelletier
Date of Birth: March 8
Hometown: Cochrane, AB
School and Grade or Occupation: Labour Relations (Human Resources) at the University of Calgary.
Bike: 2018 KTM 250XC
Race Club: RMDRA and AMSA
Class: Ladies Expert
Who got you get started in riding/racing?
I started riding when I was 24. I moved to Calgary to go to University and wanted to get into a new sport. Dirt biking seemed intriguing so I borrowed a friend’s truck, went down to Blackfoot Motosports and bought a 2004 CRF250X.
I drove out to the mountains, managed to unload my bike and rode around. It was okay, though I didn’t get far on my own. Thankfully, on Day Two, some strangers in the parking lot adopted me for the day and took me out on the trails.
I joined the Rocky Mountain Dirt Riders (RMDRA) and volunteered in the club, so I met lots of people and rode often. Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned about maintenance yet so I completely blew up that bike only a few months later and sold it for $2500 – ugh.
By that time I was hooked so I worked my butt off to buy a YZ250 and I was off to the races, literally.
In 2005 I signed up for my first race in Ladies A and crashed so many times a sweeper begged me to quit the race. I did quit, but after that I became determined to master the sport. Since then riding and racing have been central in my life.
As a little girl, were you a ‘girly’ girl or a ‘tomboy?’
I could be considered a ‘tomboy’ playing street hockey and hunting with my dad, but there was always a girly girl in there. To be honest, most of my childhood was spent playing piano. Let’s just say I have stopped halfway up a gnarly hill climb to pick up a heart-shaped rock and stuff it in my Camelback to take home.
Is there one female out there that you think has paved the way for other girls to be successful in moto or off-road?
I think there are too many to count! I really looked up to Jolene Van Vugt and Jessica Foster when I first got into racing. I trained with Jo in the mornings when she was in town and it blew my mind how physically strong she was and how committed she was to her sport. Jess was the same. So dedicated to riding plus her workouts, training, diet.
Those two were doing MX and I was racing off-road but we saw each other often and I aspired to be like them! At one time I was contemplating black plastic for my bike and Jess said, “Why don’t you get all white so you can be like an angel?”
Meanwhile, I thought riding dirt bikes meant being totally hardcore. That was a beautiful moment. I realized I could be my piano-playing, heart-shaped-rock self and still race bikes. I even managed to quit my annoying habit of social cigarette smoking so I could get faster. As a wise mechanic once told me, “Real racers don’t smoke.”
Who do you like racing against better, the girls or boys?
Over the years I have raced in many different classes. I really enjoyed racing with the boys for several years because there were always racers around me, passing back and forth and battling. It was such a blast! In Ladies Expert there are usually around five of us, sometimes more. There’s not as much battling, a lot of the race is on your own. But, I feel like the Ladies Expert class is on the cusp of a growth spurt, so I’m sticking with my gals. They are all just amazing and fast!
Is there a racer you look up to and why?
There is a local retired racer Jody McGuire who deserves some serious credit. I look up to her and so do many others. Not only is she bitch-fast (meaning she will actually leave in the woods if you can’t keep up on a fast ride), she has whole-heartedly helped countless women learn how to rip by hosting fun rides, private lessons, riding clinics, etc. I have been lucky enough to ride with her over the years and she has definitely helped me pick up the pace. And yes, she’s left me in the woods more than once.
Do you have a “can’t miss” race or event that you try to attend every season?
There are so many good races in Alberta it’s hard to pick one! I race the AMSA series and every race has its unique features, which is why the series is so fun for me. I love the big mountain events like Shale Shaker, Dirty Moose and the Mountain Goat, but I also enjoy Vega, Brooks and Calgary Wild Rose. Honestly, I can’t pick one – they are all so fun.
Who is your hero?
My dad. He passed away ten years ago and I miss him very much! Before he died he came to two of my dirt bike races, which was pretty cool.
What are your plans and goals for the 2019 season?
I would like to say that my goal for 2019 is to beat Melissa Harten, but realistically I would just like to keep her in sight during a race. LOL. I would be very happy with another podium finish (I was 2nd overall this year) and to get through the season healthy and unscathed.
What are your biggest accomplishments to date?
Being alive! Ha! I didn’t have an easy go when I was younger and here I am today with a family, a University degree, a business, a good job, and a freaking 250XC! I have so much to be grateful for.
What is the biggest lesson that motocross racing/off-road has taught you so far?
Racing gives you an amazing sense of confidence. It’s about mastering the ability to be present. Regardless of what the outcome will be or what obstacles you will face, all that matters is that one moment, the present, and how hard you are willing to try.
Most female racers leave the sport much earlier then male racers. Why do you think that is?
I have no idea, I am turning 40 next March and I’m still hitting the races. It’s about staying in shape, eating as healthy as you can and chasing after your kids (and/or pets!!)!!
Do you think it is possible for us to ever see a female Supercross champion?
Yes, her name is Shelby Turner, if she would just start training for SX.
If you ever have children, will they be off road or Motocross racers?
Both, but mostly off road because we love camping! My boys are 7 and 9. I’m so proud of them for both the off-road and mx racing they have done. My boys get stomach aches before a race. It’s hard to get to the start line. And, they get better each time they do it. I can see their confidence growing in all areas of their lives and I’m stoked that they love this sport as much as I do.
Who do you want to thank?
My family: Kevin, Jacob and Chase; my Blackfoot Motosports family and the BFR Moto Crew, KTM Canada, Fox Racing Canada, Tube Saddle, Spider Air Filters, Ryno Power, all our friends who have helped us with babysitting at the races, Keith Routley, Melissa Harten, Renee Turner, Jayson Huff and several others who have put their heart and soul into building our race series. And my dad! He is always with me.