Out of the Blue: Marilyne Bernatchez-Girard
By Jeff McConkey
Name: Marilyne Bernatchez-Girard
Birthday: August 21, 1990
Hometown: Saint-Mathieu de Laprairie, Quebec
School & Grade or Occupation: Social worker
Number: 101 for the summer and 770 during winter season (ice riding)
Bike: KX250f 2010 and KX450f 2014
Race Club: AMXQ (CMRC) and Course sur glace Eskape Québec (CGEQ) during the winter
How did you get started in racing?
I started racing when I was 18 years old. I did start late compared to the other a girls because I had to pay for my own things so I worked hard to buy my bike (I still have the same bike since that time). For the ice riding, I started to race this year with the guys because there are not a lot of girls.
As a little girl, did you ever expect to be this deep into a sport like motocross?
Absolutely not!! I have always been involved in that sport because of my father (he used to race too) and it has always been my biggest dream. I remember that when I was young I use to look at the people who raced and thinking about how lucky they were to have this chance. Now I’m glad to have accomplished this dream, even if I have never won a race.
Do you think motocross is harder for a female to compete in?
Unfortunately, yes. We have less visibility, less sponsorship and less payback (or nothing at all sometimes). Last season I did watch a women’s race and we might not be as fast as guys but it’s nice to see how girls progress in the sport. I mean, most girls are beautiful, girly, and if you see them in the street you would never guess that those girls are able to jump 20 feet in the air.
Who is your favourite rider and why?
I like Cassandra Belanger because she’s fast and beautiful (Haha love you, Cass) and she’s independent. Honestly, there are so many riders that I like! This year in the AMA Supercross I like Ken Roczen. He’s young and fast and I think he’ has good chances to win the championship.
Is there one lady racer out there that you think has paved the way for other girls to be successful in the sport?
Ashley Fiolek and Vicki Golden. Those girls prove that they can be as fast as guys.
What Canadian Pro do you look up to and why?
Kaven Benoit. I’m very proud that a guy from the Quebec succeeded and won the Canadian championship last year. I think he’s the next JSR.
What is your favourite track and why?
Ste-Julie!! I have a love/hate relationship with this track (laughs). When it is sunny the track is awesome and the jumps are perfect but when it is raining this track is your worst nightmare. It’s becomes muddy with ruts everywhere.
Who is your hero?
My parents for giving me a good education and good values. They taught me how to be a good person, how to be respectful with everyone and how important it is to work for what you want in life. Without this education I would never be able to go at university, race or have a good job that I love.
What are your goals for next season?
Honestly, for the motocross season my goal is having fun! I have a big project coming soon (not a baby) so I want to be able race a few times during the summer. Actually, I’m doing a championship during the winter but we are only 3 girls this year. I might win because I’m the only one who did all the races but I hope that next season we’ll be more than 3!
What are your biggest accomplishments?
As I was saying earlier, I’d never won a race but I had few holeshots so I’m glad about that. Also, having my bachelor’s degree and being able to race at the same time. I had to work to pay for my things at the same time but this is the proof that everything is possible when you work hard.
What is your favourite part about going to the races?
Being with the craziest, nicest people in the world!! Motocross in Quebec (it might be the same thing at the other places) is like a huge family and it’s always awesome to see each other during the summer. This sport gave me the chance to meet people from all ages and all places I never would have known otherwise.
What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?
I like fishing, longboarding, hangout with friends, and being with my cat. I like working and snowboarding.
Is it important to have a motocross racer as a boyfriend/partner or just a bonus?
For me it’s important. I would never be able to be with someone who doesn’t like this sport or doesn’t understand all the sacrifices it needs.
If you ever have children, will they be motocross racers?
Who do you want to thank?
I want to thank first of all my boyfriend, Jonathan Parisé, for everything he did for me – for giving me the chance to race during the winter. I love you so much. Thank you for being my mechanic, my cook, letting me borrow for 450, being an awesome lover (By the way, do you [want] to marry me? For real).
[NB: They were engaged last Wednesday. Congratulations to you both]
Thank you to Yves Gervais for helping me during my last season, Cloud Media for the awesome pictures, Twice Production for the awesome graphics kits (he is the best), Lucien Gaggiano from EVO for my engine, Andrew Delormier thank you so much for helping us for the winter race season. Thank you to my parents, my friends and family who support me!