Women’s West MX Nationals | Series Preview

By Jeff McConkey

Photos by Billy Rainford

It’s almost that time. The 2017 CMRC Women’s West MX Nationals kick off this Saturday at Whispering Pines in Kamloops, BC. This is a 4-race National series to determine which lady is the ‘Best in the West.’

With the series running only 4 rounds, there is no time for slow starts or ‘off weekends.’ These girls have got to have their ‘A game’ from the very first gate drop in Kamloops right until the series finale in Regina. Four straight weekends will show us who put in the hard work, and who was just posing on Instagram.

Obviously, the strong favourite is reigning champion #1W Shelby Turner. Shelby just may be the best all around female rider Canada has ever produced. Her moto skills are catching up with her off-road and Endurocross skills, and she will be very hard to beat.

The surprise of the 2016 West series, Lexi Pechout, will be hot on Turner’s heals. Just like our champion, Lexi is a serious threat in the woods, but her lack of jumping had her frustrated at times and on the ground other times. If Lexi was able to get some jumping practice this off-season, that could honestly be the ticket for her to reach the top. I was very impressed with her raw speed and unreal skill last season and I’m really looking forward to watching the #1 and #3 go at it in the West.

Unfortunately, last season’s 2nd finisher overall, and former champion, Sara King, has decided to take a step back from the National series and rest her body, mind, and bank account. It’s always sad to see a great rider step away while in their prime, but I’d like to wish Sara all of the best in her new adventures and hope the itch is too strong and we see the #199 back sooner than later.

No disrespect to the remaining top 10 racers, they will be great to watch and give us some exciting battles, but, unfortunately, I don’t think they will have anything for our top 2 of Turner and Pechout, but they are all working hard to close the gap.

So, it looks like we are ready to go racing Saturday June 3rd. I wish the best to all of the great lady racers lining up, and I really hope to see some new faces to help grow the sport of Women’s MX in Canada.

Let’s take a look at what the top 10 had to say:


But wait…. word on the street is that East champ, Eve Brodeur, wants to race the West. That is great news for fans, but bad news for the competition. That is, all but one lady racer. Saskatchewan’s Kennedy Lutz wants to race the best, and she feels that Eve is the best. So, long story short, Kennedy is going to ride whichever coast that Eve chooses to ride.

As a fan of Women’s MX, I couldn’t be more excited. Again, no disrespect to the other racers, but all eyes will be on the #41 and #44 if this should happen. Sounds like things just got a whole lot more exciting!


#10 Danika White

“Wow, less than a week until June! Jeez does time fly. It’s been a pretty awesome time since the last national series. I ended up getting my 2017 CWF KTM 250SXF right after and have been loving it! We hosted such a fun event in September – “CWF Shift MX Holeshot Alley” – and I’m so pumped for this year’s race – we’ve got some exciting things in store make sure you stay tuned for that one (laughs). Then this winter I was able to stud up the bikes and head out riding with two awesome chicks, Meagan Palin and Jan Campbell. Which, if you have a dirt bike and live in Canada, invest in some studded tires – so much FUN!

“Then spring came and I’m feeling really comfortable on the bike and really looking forward to Nationals! Mostly, because I love how much this sport has grown for Women. We’ve all been working hard to get it to where it’s at! Seriously, if there are any girls considering racing nationals, line up is doing our sport favour! Just come out and have fun, that’s all it’s about.”
#9 Kristin Tse

 

“In the off season, I focused a lot on school and having fun with my last year of minor hockey. It’s my graduation year so I really wanted to enjoy what it had to offer before “adulting” is to be expected (whatever that means) (Laughs). I played hockey, and got to ride at a few of the Arenacross rounds over here in Chilliwack. Other than that, any of my downtime was spent saving money from my part-time job.

“I got caught up with graduation/prom/work – I can’t admit there was a ‘pre-season’ for myself. Spring seemed to be so delayed with the torrential downpours and random snowstorms, it felt like the perfect spring riding weather wasn’t going to happen.
“I was also away at a junior RCMP recruitment camp, so I missed the first few races of the spring season. With that in mind, I haven’t wanted to ride/race so much in my career. You can work as hard as you want off the bike but it doesn’t match seat time. I am very excited for nationals this year, however, with that comes the nerves. My goals are to stay consistent through the 4 rounds.
“This year, having a single digit really changes expectations and mental preparation, but it’s just a number at the end of the day. I need to loosen the grip and remember that I’m racing to prove to myself that I have gotten better from last year, not to prove others that I need anything above what I have already been fortunate enough to secure. Whatever comes along the way, I will most definitely scoop up – luck comes when preparation meets opportunity and I am more than excited to see what comes in store for me this year.
“Many thanks to all my family, friends, and sponsors that always have my back. Good luck, everyone!”
#8 Courtney Stelter
“I’ve been pretty good at accepting the fact I’m not racing this year, so far, but it really sucks now that Nationals are coming up next weekend and knowing I won’t be lining up. I have been riding lots, not really productive practicing but still seat time. I’m enjoying the slower-paced rides! No one’s pressuring you to do jumps you don’t want to do, since everyone knows I’m such an avid jumper…(laughs).
“I’m looking forward to attending the Calgary National and actually watching a race! It will be the first time since 2009 I will not be racing it. I hope everyone has good luck and I hope it’s a great year of racing!”
#7 Kate Lees
“My off-season this year was little different than I was planning. I suffered from a major head injury and was sidelined in September. In November, I was diagnosed with post concussion syndrome. It took a huge toll on me all winter, as I was in nursing school. I developed moderate depression and pretty severe anxiety. I got a lot of help from my doctors and I went down south riding for a bit to try to recoup my brain and see how it felt. Things went well and I started looking forward to spring.
“My pre-season basically consisted of me ordering way too much pizza while I tried to finish finals and organize a racing series. I didn’t ride as much as I wish I did, but with trying to work and get my local series under control, I felt like I never had time! I still put in some good laps on the weekends to make up for my lack of riding during the week.
“My goal for this season is just keep it rubber side down and have a ton of fun! I’m just excited to be racing away from home and see all the friends I’ve made in the last two years racing nationals!”
#6 Madi Watt

“After Nationals were over, I continued to race the North CMRC and enjoy the nice weather. Once winter came, I was working, playing basketball, reffing and coaching junior high volleyball and going to the gym to get ready for the 2017 race season.
“To get ready for this season, I planned on going to Cali with a few friends to ride but I ended up not being able to go because plans at work got changed so I have been riding as much possible and I’ve also have been trying to hit up as many races as I can before the first round in Kamloops.
“This year, I’ve also got the opportunity to be on Team Canada for the ISDE in France which I am getting super-excited for, so I’ve also been doing some off road and bush riding to get ready for that as well!
“My goals and expectations I have for myself at nationals this year is to get a podium finish, crack the top 5, ride more consistently, and have as much fun as possible! And my goal for the ISDE is to just finish because it is my first year going and I want to be able to enjoy the experience without putting too much pressure on myself.”
#5 Brittany Danyluk
“Well, the sad news for this 2017 moto season is that I won’t be racing… I’m deciding if I’m coming to Calgary or not because I love that track and it would be nice to see everyone! But unfortunately, my real life has kicked in and I’m going to school right now for my 1st year Plumbing Trade till the end of June!
“That was honestly probably the hardest decision I’ve had to make in a long time (Laughs)! But on the other hand, my off season has been pretty fun, actually! I ended up buying a sled and going to the mountains every weekend, pretty much, and having some fun with friends! And when I wasn’t sledding, I was working (super exciting, right)!
“For the dirt biking side of things, I honestly have barely been on a bike since last year at the last national in Regina. For me that’s crazy – I used to live and breath moto.
“I still absolutely love it and I will be riding this year and having fun, but racing just isn’t in my schedule – maybe next year or the year after I’ll come back just to have a little fun again with the all the girls!

“Wishing all the best to the ladies out there this 2017 season, and, most important, I hope there’s a lot of smiles and fun on all those tracks!”

#4 Dominique Daffé


“Every year before nationals, I say the same thing: “I can’t believe how fast Nationals are coming up” – I swear every year the time goes by faster, and faster. However, this year we had a longer winter, which means a longer off-season and I’d say it went pretty well. Jared (Petruska) and I got our basement gym organized perfectly and used it a ton. We have everything we need for moto training and it was actually super-fun going down there together and pushing each other.
“I got a smart trainer for my birthday in the fall so that I could use this cycling game called “Zwift.” So, my off-season also consisted of what I called “zwifting.” Zwift makes indoor (winter) cycling way more fun, and I highly recommend it to everyone.
“I did go to California this year for Christmas. I wasn’t able to bring my own bike but it was still nice to get a few rides in. We didn’t have the best weather down there, I don’t think I got to wear shorts once (laughs) and it rained a lot.
“We studded up the bike tires one whole time to ride at WRMA and I got to go play around in a foot of powder one day. That was probably the highlight of my off-season.
“Other than that, the off-season was just training and lots of working. I think the track opened up here in March so I’ve been trying to ride as much as possible since then. Unfortunately, pre-season hasn’t gone well for me. Not long after we started riding, I got a head cold that lasted 4 weeks. I got to race one Super Series race at Wild Rose MX and it was a complete mud race, but it was actually really fun!
“Just as my head cold went away, I headed to Raymond to race round 1 of the AMSA series. On the third lap of the first ladies moto, I cased a jump and sprained my ankle. So, that put me out for the last 2 super series races at WRMA.
“Since I didn’t get to race much, Jared and I headed to TaTa Creek in BC for the long weekend. TaTa is a deep, rough, whooped-out sand track with a 3-minute lap time (for the fast guys). It’s the best training grounds and also a ton of fun. But then on Monday after two tough days riding there, I put my back out. So, at this point I don’t know that I could even sit on a dirt bike if I wanted to. To say I’ve spent a lot of time at the chiropractor this year is an understatement (laughs).
“Sometimes, set-backs happen and I am trying to stay positive. I put a lot of work in in the off-season and fitness-wise I have been feeling really good, so I’m not worried there. This spring has also been the busiest as far as working and trying to fit in riding and I’m really just looking forward to a month of racing.
“In the winter, I told myself I wanted a top 3 finish at at least one round. I would still love for that except obviously now my expectations have changed. I haven’t gotten all of the seat time I have wanted and the most important thing is just doing the best I can and having fun. I want to push hard for some good finishes at each round, racing against all of the bad ass chicks that I love seeing at the races every year.
“I’m turning 26 in a few months and this will be my fifth national series in a row and I think at this point, I’ve done pretty well and I have no complaints. Just being able to do what I love is what matters to me right now.
“The year that my bike got stolen right before nationals, I was kind of forced to head into nationals expectation free, and sometimes that is the best thing for a rider. June is a busy, exciting month and I’m beyond stoked to travel and try out a new track this year and see all the ladies that make this series worth racing. I hope everyone has a good couple of weeks – see you at the races!”
#3 Lexi Pechout

“Off-season was nice this year – I got out hiking, climbing, skiing, and doing lots of different things to keep me busy during the cold months. But just like every other racer living in Canada, we dread the 6 months of cold and snow. I’m extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to go down south for the first time this year.
“I spent a couple weeks in California learning some new skills and getting some seat time before the season started. The last couple of months have flown by! Between working, teaching riding schools and training for myself, I feel like I was in California yesterday.
“Anyway,  I am super-excited for the 2017 race season, now with some experience under my belt I know what to expect. I always set high expectations for myself, but at the end of the day the goal is to always have fun!”
#2 Sara King

 

“This year, I made the tough decision to not race. After the nationals last year, I took a break from riding and really thought about what to do in 2017. As I was sitting in my kayak out in the middle of a lake, I realized just how much my entire body ached. Through my years of racing I have had several crashes that left me on my head – literally. From minor bumps to blacking out, I’ve had too many hits to the head. I still raced in 2016 and as many might have seen, I took some pretty hard hits to the ground during the nationals but luckily, none were to my head.

“This winter, I stepped back and looked at the big picture. My body hurts, my head hurts, mentally I’m burnt out, and my wallet could really use a break from the expenses of racing. So no, I didn’t find a career path to chase or make big plans for the future. Simply put, every aspect of me needed a break. By no means am I removing motocross from my life though. You will still catch me at the odd race this year watching and I’ll be riding my CR125 around whenever I get the chance.

“I would just like to thank Cycle North and Kourtney Lloyd for the never-ending support, RMR Suspensions for still helping me out to this day, my parents and Sierra Roth.”

#1 Shelby Turner


“My season last year didn’t actually end until late November. That’s when the Endurocross series wrapped up. So I took the month of December off, and just enjoyed the holidays. In January and February, I managed to get a few weeks off work to head down to Phoenix AZ and do some  training.

“For my pre-season, I enjoyed the fantastic riding conditions I had at my home track. I even hosted a female-only riding clinic at my track as a fundraiser for my trip to ISDE France this year.

“My goals are: I want to defend my Canadian Western Woman’s Motocross title and my AMA Endurocross title. I also want to improve my overall position at the ISDE in France this year, and get another gold medal for Canada.”

#44 Kennedy Lutz

“I’ve been at Real Deal MXTF since January. Basically, I went home for a week in April but that was it. The training here is no joke, it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s been so much fun. Our normal Monday to Friday routine starts with a warmup at 9, then riding from 10:30-2:00, roughly, a workout at 3:30 and then a road bike ride after that. At first it’s tough but now it’s a routine that I enjoy, especially now that I see it paying off. I can last 20-minute motos now and I can battle with the B class guys.

“I recently won a championship at Freestone, which was pretty cool, and now I’m doing Loretta Qualifiers (Kennedy finished 2nd at her regional qualifier at Gatorback) before I head up for the Canadian Women’s Nationals! I plan on winning it this year!”

#41 Eve Brodeur

“This year has been really busy so far for my dad and me. We made the trip to Florida in February and I trained at Club57 for a month-and-a-half, then it was the beginning of the WMX series in the US. So far, I raced at Daytona, Freestone, Pala, Vegas and Hangtown. I also got to stay in California, at the Grindstone compound, for a total of a month and it was a great experience getting to ride on all the Pro days and practice on really rough and technical tracks. I have been working really hard on and off the bike and developing a new lifestyle with healthy habits, which feels really good.

“My expectations for this year were to give the US WMX a real shot and really focus on that this year. So far, it’s going great and I’m second in the championship, so it looks like I will be able to improve my number 6 from last year for 2018!

“As far as Canada, I definitely want to win the championship again and with Kennedy Lutz as my competitor, it will definitely be an interesting year and my biggest challenge yet!”


We won’t know which coast Eve decides to race until late Thursday afternoon. Her father, Sylvain Brodeur, is trying to mix work in with this hectic motocross schedule and may have commitments that force them to the eastern series. Either way, it’s going to be another exciting 4 weeks of Women’s West MX Nationals. See you there!