Out of the Blue | Krista Casselman | Presented by Schrader’s
By Jensen Amyotte
Name: Krista Casselman
Date of Birth: September 13th, 1995
Hometown: Gatineau, QC
School/Grade or Occupation: Sales Coordinator at Battlefield Equipment Rentals
Race Number: 16
Bike: Yamaha YZ 250F
Race Club: MX101 Sand Del Lee
Who got you into the sport of motocross?
My mom and dad, but I don’t think they ever thought I would ever end up racing. When I was little they bought me a PW80 to rip around on in the backyard and in my grandparents’ fields out back. Once I grew out of that I got my mom’s XR100.
Every summer mom asked me to pick summer camps that I wanted to go to while she and dad were working. That summer I chose motocross camp. I signed up for 1 week and ended up doing 3 weeks.
The next summer I had a bigger bike – CRF150 trail bike. I remember I was trying to jump tabletops with the bike and Kevin kept telling me that I didn’t have the right bike to do that, I need a race bike with better suspension.
After 4 weeks of summer camp that summer, I went home to beg my dad to buy me a race bike. He ended up getting me one that winter and that’s where all the fun started!
I understand you haven’t been out to ride much in the last couple years. What made you stop? And do you see yourself getting back into it?
No, I haven’t been out much. I used my bike a couple of times this summer to rip up to my grandpa’s hunting camp, but other than that not much. After I broke my arm in North Carolina a couple years ago when training at JWTF, I had planned to spend the following winter down south. Trying to come back strong for the next summer and the weekend before I was flying down to Florida – I ended up breaking my wrist playing hockey. Both injuries were on the same arm and I had a hard time coming back strong like I was before my injuries.
I graduated school in June that year and immediately started to work a full-time job. Work became a bigger priority at that time as I was working weekends and couldn’t commit to racing full time.
I am now working a job just around the corner from MX101 – I do still have my bike and I would love to get back to the track and ride this summer. I guess we will see what happens with COVID as we are currently still on lockdown on our area.
As a racer, are there any obstacles you feel a female racer has to deal with that maybe a male racer does not?
Yes, it definitely is. The women don’t have the support that men do. Although it is getting better every year, we still aren’t anywhere near the amount of coverage and the support that the men get.
Who is your all-time favourite rider and why?
Although he is retired, my favourite rider has always been Ryan Dungey. I was lucky to be able to meet him a few times at Daytona Supercross over the years. I have been a big fan since he won his 250 title on a Suzuki. When he raced he was such a smooth rider and made everything look easy. He was like the underdog; he could come from last place and still win a race even if he didn’t ride aggressive. He was never one to make a lot of mistakes and was always so consistent in his riding.
I also like that he was very approachable with his fans and takes time to talk and signs their paraphernalia for them. He always spoke well and never acted like he has a chip on his shoulder. I gained a tremendous amount of respect for him through his career.
What is your favourite track and why?
I would have to say that my favourite Canadian track is, hands down, Sand Del Lee. Kevin (Tyler) always did such an amazing job prepping the track and getting it ready to ride, not only for the races but also for every day practice. It is also my favourite track because I love the dirt that they have. The front section is really sandy with berms but the back is more hard packed and gets rutty. From one end of the track to the other you have to adapt your riding to the exact spot on the track and it makes for great all round practice. It also helps that it is the closest track to home which is where I spent most of my summers when I was racing!
What event do you look forward to most every year? One you don’t ever want to miss?
Gopher Dunes National, usually because it is always the first round of Eastern Women’s Nationals and I was always so excited to start the series. But also because it’s a track that creates extreme challenges for all racers. As you have heard the expression before, “It separates the men from the boys” and I do believe this is the case with this track.
I remember showing up at my first national and me saying, “Wow, this track is a highway!” as I was walking the track on Friday night with my dad. Until I went out for practice on Saturday morning. You gain a whole new level of respect for all the guys riding 30+ 2 laps in 30-degree weather. Always is an exciting race!
Who has been your biggest inspiration/hero on and off the track?
My biggest inspiration on and off the track would definitely be my parents. They supported me at every race; my parents made sure my bike was always ready to race or to ride at practice. Mom and Dad were also my biggest fans. If one of them was never able to make it out to a race on the weekend they were just as disappointed to not be there as much I am because they aren’t there. Racing was never the same without both of them there.
I remember I packed up the RV with mom and we drove to Barrie to race because dad was working. Dad left home Friday night at 8pm after work and drove up to Barrie to be with me on Saturday to race.
My parents work really hard during the week which allowed me to get to the track on the weekends to do what I loved to do. If it weren’t for them I would never have been able to ride, race and travel as much as I did. To this day, mom and dad are still my biggest inspiration with everything in life. They are my best friends. I am so grateful for all they have done for me through my moto career and in life.
Do you have an pre-moto rituals?
Nothing specific, but one thing that became a ritual as I got older was the little pep talk from my dad at the gate before the 30 second board went up. It was always a little something to help me get fired up before I went out or a silly joke to help wash away the nerves.
Tell us about how motocross has impacted your life.
I raced and travelled with my family for 6-7 years. I have memories and laughs that will last a lifetime. Although I may not be riding like I did before, the memories I was able to create with my mom and dad over the years are things that I will never forget. I made so many friends and got to travel to places I never would have gone if it weren’t for motocross. I am hoping I get to share my passion and love for the sport with my own family one day.
What are your biggest accomplishments to date?
If we are talking motocross, I would say my 1st place finish at Sarnia Arenacross a couple of years back. I was so nervous, mom and dad weren’t able to make it to this race. I just went out and rode confident and came home with a win.
Also, another huge accomplishment was my first moto win and overall at my home track Sand Del Lee.
Other than that, I would say my biggest accomplishment would be graduating College with honours while dealing with injuries from racing and hockey (broken arm and wrist).
I spent two winters in a row – one injury each year – dealing with surgery and recovery, all while enrolled in college. I was able to put my mind forward to graduate and be successful in my studies. Those were some tough times for myself, feeling like everything had been taking from me.
I remember the doctor telling me you may not have full use of your arm after my second surgery. I feel extremely proud to have graduated school and to have overcome the injuries with a full recovery.
What is the biggest lesson that motocross racing/ off-road has taught you so far?
To never give up. There are so many times after a bad moto that you feel like you’re never going to be good enough and you should just quit. Could be a bad day or you’re just not comfortable at that track. No matter the reason, motocross is tough not just on the body but mentally as well.
When I was in North Carolina one winter I was told “you need to make mistakes to learn.” I thought that was silly when I heard it, but it is true. Mistakes mean that you are learning. You can’t give up if you want to win races and make your goals/dreams come true.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
To be honest, I am not sure. I would love to be back at the track riding and racing local races getting back into some old roots, but who knows. I recently moved out from mom and dad’s and bought a home just down the road, all while working full time. With this pandemic and all that is going on – it’s hard to know where things will be in 5 years. I am hoping to be living a happy and healthy life with my family by my side. That’s all I can hope for right now!
Are there any sponsors or people that you feel really helped/ never stopped supporting you through your career?
Definitely, my mom and dad. If it weren’t for them I would never have been able to travel and race like I was able to. I remember one year we travelled for 26 week/weekends (New York, Maryland, Florida, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and all over Ontario). Their support has been nothing short of amazing.
Another person who truly helped me more than anyone would know is Kevin Tyler from MX101. For a few summers I considered Sand Del Lee my home and everyone at it was like my family. I was able to take my knowledge learned at MX101 summer camps when I was younger and teach the camps as I grew up. I would spend days teaching camps and my afternoons riding. Kevin always believed in me and supported me even when he has his own team to look after at nationals. He was almost like a second father; he always took time out of his busy schedule to check in and come see me at the start line to give me that pep talk that was needed before the gate dropped. He taught me everything I knew about how to ride, the proper technique and of course about the all about the sport.
Also, the whole crew at MX101, all the behind the scene guys Chris, Gus and Ben. Their support on a daily basis at the races and track also didn’t go unnoticed.