Out of the Blue: Marika Hamel|Presented by Schrader’s
By Jeff McConkey
Name: Marika Hamel
Hometown: Quebec City, QC, Canada
Occupation: BAC – Business Administration (HR) – Human Resources Manager
Bike: KTM 200 XC-W 2011
Race Club: FMSQ
Classes: WXC (Women Pro in Endurocross)
How did you get started in racing?
I’ve been riding for now 6 years. The first three years, I was only riding a couple times in the summer with my friends in the woods. In 2012, one of my friends talked to me about the FMSQ and invited me to try it. I was so scared that day, in Tring-Jonction, when I did my first Endurocross race in Women’s Amateur at the FMSQ.
It took only one race to convince me. I loved it! I got the fourth place on 20 girls and was super-excited about it! The next year, in 2013, I registered as a member at the FMSQ. I’ve been racing now for three seasons, 2016 is going to be my fourth year.
As a little girl, did you ever expect to be this deep into a sport like motocross?
Not at all. I’ve always lived in the city, was super-concentrated on my school work, doing dances and cheerleading classes. My family never rode a dirt bike and never felt like they wanted to try it. I was really far away from motocross and races…which is my biggest passion today.
Do you think motocross is harder for a female to compete in?
Well, for sure it’s different. We need to get in really good shape and gain some strength if we want to perform and progress in the competition. I’ll say it’s harder because we’re generally less strong than males.
On the other hand, I think that motocross racers also need to be strong-minded. You need to have determination, when the track is getting more and more technical and when your body hurts, you need that strong mind to continue. For that point, I think it’s equal between female and male.
Who is your favourite rider and why?
I love to fallow the women who are really performing in the motocross world. First, Kacy Martinez is my favourite. She’s racing in WCX in the GNCC. It looks so easy when you look at her. She’s racing the same kind of races that we do in the FMSQ, she’s a good racer to follow when you want to get the inspiration. Victoria Golden is also an incredible racer. Following her in the Supercross series this year is another really nice inspiration for women! I need to say that Ryan Dungey is my favourite male racer. His consistency while he’s racing is one of his biggest forces.
Is there one lady racer out there that you think has paved the way for other girls to be successful in the sport?
In the province of Quebec, I think that Felicia Robichaud is one of the ladies who changed the way people look at women’s Endurocross racing. She totally paved the way for the other girls, she brought some formality to our sport and she inspired other women.
What Canadian Pro do you look up to and why?
I’ll say Eve Brodeur. She’s one of the best mx racing girls in Canada and she still pretty young. She has a lot of years of racing in front of her and she’s already at the top.
What is your favourite track and why?
Every time that I have this question, I didn’t know what to answer. I don’t want to ride only big sand tracks or only in the woods, I love variety! I like X-Town in Mirabel and I also like the 12 hours of La Tuque racing track. I love the woods in Victoriaville and I’m always enjoying the rock section in Franklin. I love to practice and race on every kind of track.
What are your goals for this season?
2016 is going to be my second season in Women’s Pro Endurocross (WXC). Last year, I finished 7th. I’d love to have a top 5 this year and I’m getting ready for it. I also really like mx races. I want to do more of those races this season. I’m getting better every season and my goal is to bring back home some top 3 trophies.
What are your biggest accomplishments?
I think that my fast evolution is my biggest accomplishment. I’ve been racing only since 2013. I never thought that after two years of racing I’ll race in Women’s Pro. For sure, I totally need to improved my riding and still need to get faster, but I’m proud to race with the fastest women in Endurocross in the province of Quebec and it’s great to be part of it.
What is your favourite part about going to the races?
There are two things that I love in a racing weekend. The FMSQ is like a big family. We all know each other and the race weekend is a moment to get all these people together and share their passion. Even if we had a bad race, the overall weekend still lots of fun.
The second thing is for sure the race itself! Before I was racing, I was enjoying motocross, but it was more a leisure than a passion. The day I found out what I feel like when I’m racing and what it brings to me, it began to be my passion. I love the adrenaline at the start. I’m really stressed, but it brings me on the right mood. And that feeling of accomplishment after two hours racing after having given all you got is such a great valorization for me.
What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?
Till the weather’s good enough, I want to ride. When it’s not a racing weekend, I’m riding, practicing and training. If not, I love camping. We usually take the trailer, bring the bikes, and try to find awesome places to see and visit.
In the winter season, I try to ride a little bit in the snow, it’s a really good practice. If not, I’m training at the gym, trying to keep in good shape.
Is it important to have a motocross racer as a boyfriend/partner, or just a bonus?
For sure it’s a nice bonus! To be honest, I don’t know if I would be happy if my boyfriend was not racing. It takes such a large part of my life and my time. It is great to share the same passion with the person you share your life with. We understand each other, we want to do the same thing, we always want to ride…I don’t think it’s a necessity to get you happy, but for sure it helps a lot.
If you ever have children, will they be motocross racers?
I’d love to! But I’ll never force them to be part of this if they don’t want to. It will totally be a dream come true if one day I bring my husband and children with me at the race track and the four of us are racing.
Who do you want to thank?
My accomplishment is also due to some people who believed in me. Groupe AKTION Performance (before Enduro KTM) in Quebec City, is the first business who wanted to support me. They’ve been there since the beginning. It’s the best KTM dealer in Quebec. Give them a like! https://www.facebook.com/Groupe-Aktion-Performance