Out of the Blue | Gabrielle Houle | Brought to You by Schrader’s

By Jensen Amyotte

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Name: Gabrielle Houle

Date of Birth: September 2nd, 1989

Hometown: Sherbrooke, QC, Canada

Occupation: Executive assistant 

Race Number: 331

Gabrielle Houle selfie
This week, we feature #331 Gabrielle Houle from Sherbrooke, Quebec. | Photo provided

Who/what inspired you to get into the sport of motocross and how long have you been racing/riding? 

I was already a road bike girl and I convinced my dirt bike boyfriend to take his classes and get a motorcyle permit. In exchange, he asked me to try motocross and I fell in love the first time I tried it. One afternoon of practice and I was at my local dealer the next day to buy one.

When not on a dirt bike, how do you keep yourself busy? Are you involved in any other sports or extracurricular activities? 

I’m a motorsports girl! I ride motorcycles, snowmobiles, side-by-sides, seadoos, anything with a motor. I’m a contributor at Chicks and Machines and I write about my experiences and always try to put women in the spotlight. The world of motorsports is accessible to everyone and I do my best to help girls and women let go of their fears and enjoy the wonderful feeling of being involved with motorsports.

As a racer, are there any obstacles you feel a female racer has to deal with that maybe a male racer does not?

It is very difficult to understand why there is not a single women in Supercross or Pro Motocross, since those two competitions are both mixed. I would love to see women riding in those competions, not because they are women but because they are talented. I am a big fan of Formula 1 and they are starting to realize that this is a big question mark for a lot of fans. They now have a women’s category and some of them are already on some F1 teams as team hope. I would love to see the same thing in SX or Pro-MX, not just the Monster girls on the track but real female racers.

From your first ride to where you are now what is something you never thought you would be able to overcome but have?

Starting motocross at the age of 32 was very challenging for me. You are on the beginner track and you are passed by kids, you don’t want to interfere with someone’s practice so you don’t want to go on the big track… that was callenging for me because I always put enormeous pressure on myself to perform. I had to step back and say to myself, “It’s ok if you’re slower than the others, stay in your line and everything will be great. If you fall (cause you’re going to fall) get back on your feet, make sure that you’re not in the way and restart that bike!” The first time I made a complete lap on the big track I was so proud! You just have to breathe and not overthink everything. 

Gabrielle Houle Chicks and Machines Yamaha Selfie
Gabrielle is a contributor at Chicks and Machines, writing about her experiences. | Photo supplied

What event do you look forward to most every year, one you don’t ever want to miss? 

Every year I take a weekend to go watch the National at Deschambault Motocross near Quebec City. This event is so good for the motocross growth here in Quebec and this track is so nice for racing. This is always the big highlight of my summer. 

Who has been your biggest inspiration/hero on and off the track? 

The owner of the track I go to every week. Simon Homans is a professional racer who was racing in the early 2000’s. When the city of Sherbrooke started a fight with him about his motocross track and the noise that was coming from it, he never backed down and he continued to fight for over 10 years to keep this track alive and keep offering a nice spot for the lovers of the sport. After many appeals from the city, Simon finally won his case in 2021 for the love of his sport.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I would like to try a friendly race. Just for fun, no pressure but I would love to have that race feeling inside me. I want to share that passion with my daughter and show her that everything is possible, no matter your gender or your age. 

If you ever have children will you give them the option to race as well? 

My daughter is 8 and she will start this year. She is really excited about that and keeps asking me when she will be joining me on the track.

If you could give 1 piece of advice to a female of any age who wants to start riding what would it be? 

The only thing stopping you from doing it is you… It’s all in your head! Yes, you’re going to fall, yes, it hurts sometimes, yes, you’re slow at first, but when you stop overthink everything, it will be a lot of fun. Don’t try to run before you walk… baby steps! Listen to your limits and respect them. You don’t know if you don’t try.  

What was your first fear when you started riding and how did you overcome it? 

I did not want to disturb anyone. What if I cut someone’s line, what if I’m too slow, what if… I was not the first beginner and I will not be the last one. I learned to focus on myself and on my riding. Everything was a lot easier after that. 

Gabrielle Houle Yamaha
Gabrielle hopes line up for a race soon, so keep an eye out for the #331. | Photo provided

What are your thoughts on the Canadian WMX Triple Crown series? 

Like I said earlier, every year it’s no-brainer, I am in Deschambault enjoying every minutes of racing. I particularly love to see more women every year competing. Next year I would like to see more than one round. I will put that on my bucket list! 

What do you like to do in the off season?

Snowmobile or side-by-side are my winter sports. With 6 months of snow, you have the choice: You stay inside and mourn about the cold season or you play outside! I love riding in the snow, it gives you another kind of challenge and the countryside is sometimes breathtaking. 

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