Out of the Blue: Zoey Shamley
By Jeff McConkey
Name: Zoey Shamley
Birthday: August 19, 1996
Hometown: Lytton, British Columbia
School & Grade or Occupation: I finished the EMR Program earlier this year and I recently got accepted to the Justice Institute of British Columbia for the PCP Program, but I decided it was in my best interest to decline for now and just focus on racing. So I just work at an office right now to help pay for my racing.
Bike: 2014 KX100
Race Club: CMRC, Future West Moto, BCMA, Canadian Arenacross
Classes: Ladies and Open Beginner
How did you get started in racing?
Both of my brothers raced Off-Road and Endurocross, so in 2013 one of my brothers bought me my first dirt bike which was a 2007 CRF150R. I’d only ridden a dirt bike a couple times before that, so I then got some training from 2 X-Games Endurocross Athletes Chantelle Bykerk and Bobby Prochnau. The skills and advice they gave me definitely made me have enough confidence to start racing. So, the following year, 2014, I raced some off-road races and then in the winter I decided to try out Arenacross and I placed on the podium both nights and just fell in love with that style of racing. So, this year I got a new bike and switched to motocross. Haven’t turned back since.
As a little girl, did you ever expect to be this deep into a sport like motocross?
Somewhat. I mean, I consider myself a bit of a Tomboy, and I grew up with all brothers and most of my friends are guys so it doesn’t surprise me that I’m competing in a sport as tough as this. Throughout high school I played a lot of sports but it was nothing like motocross. Some days I still can’t believe what I’ve accomplished in my first year racing motocross and how passionate I am about it.
Do you think motocross is harder for a female to compete in?
Yes and no. Physically, guys are usually always going to have the upper hand if you look at it that way. But all of us ladies that race have worked our butts off to be here and are just as dedicated as any male in this sport (I think Vicki Golden proved that when she qualified for SX). The support female riders get here in Canada is amazing! The Women’s Nationals here have come so far and I know for a fact it’s going to continue to grow.
Who is your favourite rider and why?
I’m going to have to go with Bam Bam (Justin Barcia) on this one. Most of my friends can’t stand him and I know there are riders that don’t like his style of riding…but that’s my favourite thing about him! He’s so aggressive and can throw some gnarly whips. He also has such a kind heart, I’m pretty sure most of his fans have seen the video of him spending the day with this little boy named Austin through the Make A Wish foundation. It was very heartwarming.
Is there one lady racer out there that you think has paved the way for other girls to be successful in this sport?
I definitely have to say Ashley Fiolek. She and Sara Price were the first females to get factory rides for Honda and Kawasaki. Ashley also does motocross schools now, and I had the honour of organizing one her schools in Kamloops, BC this past summer. It was an unbelievable experience. She’s overcome adversity and shown that no matter what your situation is you can accomplish any goal you put your mind to. But I can’t forget to mention the 2015 East/West Women’s Canadian champions Eve Brodeur and Sara King. They are helping make the sport grow for WMX here in Canada!
What Canadian Pro do you look up to and why?
Kaven Benoit. Not just because he won the 2015 MX2 Canadian National title but because he did it on a KTM 250 2-stroke. Everyone always says 4-strokes are better and that they are a more competitive bike, but I think he just proved them all wrong. Eve Brodeur is also on a KTM 2-stroke and she led the majority of her races.
What is your favourite track and why?
I’ve only got to ride in BC so I’ll have to say Popkum. It’s nice and wide open, the corners and jumps are fun. And I ride my best on that track.
Who is your hero?
I’m not too sure if I have a “hero.” I’ll keep my eye out for one though. In a way, I like to think that everyone is their own hero in some way or another. But what I find more important than having a hero is being one.
What were your goals for this season?
I had no idea what to expect this year so I just wanted to finish every race I entered in, hit some jumps that intimidated me, improve my riding technique, place on the podium occasionally, and with that place top 10 in each series I competed in. So, I guess you could say I crushed those goals, considering I placed top 5 in the series I raced in! Now for Arenacross, I just want to keep it on two wheels, have some consistent/strong starts and finishes, and most of all just have fun. But I’m already excited for the goals I have planned for 2016!
What are your biggest accomplishments?
Organizing the Ashley Fiolek School in Kamloops, BC this past summer is definitely something I’m proud of. I had to deal with some negativity from a few people but I stood my ground and all the support I got and how thankful everyone was made it so worth it. Being told I’m a role model for young girls was an amazing feeling – I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. Also learning how to ride a 2-stroke and use a clutch was a big accomplishment for me, and to be able to compete with girls and guys on much bigger bikes than me and to beat them was also very satisfying. The results I got throughout the year, especially placing 1st overall in Open Beginner in the BC Championship series, made me feel very proud of myself.
What is your favourite part about going to the races?
Racing/Hanging out with my amazing friend, Jacey McQueen. It’s both of our first year racing motocross, we battle a lot on the track but we give each other a ton of support. Not long after we met we found out we have matching tattoos, so I guess I’m stuck with her now… (Laughs) So even though she makes me try the most ridiculous food like pickled onions or stuffed olives (NEVER AGAIN), I can always count on her to be there for me and vice versa.
What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?
I have my rescue scuba diver certification so I go scuba diving in Victoria quite a bit, and I’ve been working towards my Divemaster. I’m also a die-hard hockey fan so I’ll be spending lots of nights watching the Canucks, and I’ll be going to first game in November which I’m super-pumped about! I also enjoy doing puzzles, exercising, and watching TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy or American Ninja Warrior… those athletes are insane! And I hope to get back into snowboarding this winter.
Is it important to have a motocross racer as a boyfriend/partner, or just a bonus?
It would be just a bonus because as most people in my life already know motocross is a huge part of my life and it’s my main focus. I always joke that if he races he has to be faster than my brother (Laughs). But in all seriousness, if he supports me and just wants what’s best for me what more could a girl ask for, right?
If you ever have children, will they be motocross racers?
Honestly, I never wanted to have children until at one race earlier this year I met this family with 3 little boys who raced and they were so adorable and it totally made me have a different perspective on having kids. So if I do have kids one day, I hope they’d be interested in motocross, but if not I wouldn’t force them.
Who would you like to thank?
Well, I’d like to start off by thanking Maple Ridge Motorsports, I can’t thank Troy and Sandra Smith enough for bringing me onto the MRMskully team. Ryan Lockhart for the support with Matrix Concepts, 100% Goggles, and Atlas Brace. Boyesen. Ashley Fiolek. Brent Worrall, Stu McQueen and all the other race organizers and photographers. Last but not least, my family and friends. And also you, Jeff McConkey, for this wonderful opportunity.