Out of the Blue | Rachael Marie Archer | Brought to You by Schrader’s
By Jensen Amyotte
Photos: screen grabs from her Instagram page @rachael_archer650
Name: Rachael Marie Archer
Date of Birth: 20 November, 2001
Hometown: Cambridge, New Zealand
Occupation: Professional off-road racer Factory Yamaha
Race Number: 1 / 650
Classes: WXC, Women’s Pro, AA
Who/what inspired you to get into the sport of off-road and how long have you been racing/riding?
I grew up on 2500 acres of cattle farm and up until the age of 6 my dad was a pro racer in NZ. I also have 3 big brothers that all gained national titles in their teenage years. I started riding at 3 years old on a Chinese import 2-stroke my dad picked up at a convenience store for $150 because of a recall, so he fixed it up and I rode it for 2 years until getting a CRF50 at 5.
When not on a dirt bike, how do you keep yourself busy? Are you involved in any other sports or extracurricular activities?
As a professional racer it’s important for me to get away from dirt bikes sometimes as much as I love them. I love to workout, scuba dive in the summer and water sports , hanging out with my buddies and I love to cook also!
As a racer, are there any obstacles you feel a female racer has to deal with that maybe a male racer does not?
Definitely, the urge to keep up with the boys can be very taxing and I actually developed Epstein Barr virus in 2021 from over-training and always trying to keep up with the boys. It taught me a lot about the female body and also training methods in order to train smarter not harder. I’ve had 3 Epstein Barr flare ups since august 2021 and I’ve finally got a grip on it. Learning how to control heart rate and putting a huge emphasis on fuelling and recovery has been a big part.
From your first ride to where you are now what is something you never thought you would be able to overcome but have?
I’m a very optimistic person so I’ve never ever doubted myself in anything with riding. If I have a weakness I work on it until I master it. I never stop learning and if someone has advice I take it because I believe you can learn something from anybody.
Who is your all-time favourite rider and why?
My dad. He taught me how to ride and always pushed me to be the best. He’s my best friend and number one supporter and fan. He never limited me and watching him push himself to the limits in his own career showed me what it takes to be a champion.
What is your favourite track and why?
I don’t have a particular track, I just love to ride my bike!
What event do you look forward to most every year, one you don’t ever want to miss?
Big Buck GNCC! Opening round of the season and always an awesome track.
Who has been your biggest inspiration/hero on and off the track?
My dad, but also Paul Whibley. He coached me for years before I moved to America and he has won multiple GNCC titles himself. He always believed in me and taught me a lot of racecraft.
Do you have any pre-moto rituals?
On race morning I have an order that I do things in. I wake up at 7am eat breakfast, leave camper by 7:45 and look at first mile of the track, go to race truck and organize my hand-off bottles and give them to my mechanic, race meeting at rig at 8:45, get changed at 9 and get on my bike and set sag and then ride to start line at 9:45. Race starts at 10.
Tell us about your 2022 race season.
It started off with a bang, I won the first 5 races (2 GNCC and 3 NEPG). The next few races I had one mechanical, a gnarly crash, and then at round 6 realized I had Epstein Barr flare up, my HR was 196 average in a 2-hour race! I led the first hour and then my body hit a wall and I couldn’t breathe. I fell back to 3rd and adrenaline got me to the finish.
I raced 2 NEPG’s after that race with Epstein Barr and then we had summer break. During summer break I didn’t ride at all and I hardly had the energy to get out of bed. Luckily, after 7 weeks of resting and therapy, I was able to get on top of it and get back to my old self and win more races after summer break to clinch the GNCC WXC title!
What are your biggest accomplishments to date?
2022 WXC GNCC champion.
What is the biggest lesson that motocross racing/ off-road has taught you so far?
Work ethic, resilience, gratitude. Racing has taught me so much about life, common sense and being a problem solver is all part of the roll.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m only 21 and I just won my first GNCC title so I would like to win a few more of those before I retire from racing!
Are there any females out there who you feel have paved the way for other girls to be successful in motocross or off road?
I think there are a lot of women that have had a big impact on racing. To name a few that I’ve seen over the years of racing: Becca Sheets, Mackenzie Tricker, Courtney Duncan, Jessica Patterson, Tayla Jones. I actually battled for a championship with Becca Sheets in 2020 and 2021. I was 18 in 2020 and she was 26 with 10 years experience, so I definitely learned a lot from her just to be able to ride and battle with her.
What kind of track/dirt do you feel you excel at most and why?
I do well in the sand. I’ve spent a lot of time training in the sand at facilities and I have a lot of endurance which helps a lot in the long races. I also do well in the really technical conditions and deep rutty clay, as that’s the kind of riding I grew up doing with my dad and friends.
If you ever have children will you give them the option to race as well?
Yes. I think riding and racing teaches you so many life skills that kids don’t learn today. Of course I will let my kids pursue their passions and if that’s riding then I’m all for it! Otherwise, I will support whatever they want to do!
If you could give 1 piece of advice to a female of any age who wants to start riding, what would it be?
Don’t be discouraged to dabble in a male-dominated sport! Just have a go and don’t worry about anyone’s opinion.
What was your first fear when you started riding and how did you overcome it?
River crossings… we had one deep river crossing on the farm and I wasn’t strong enough to ride through without being swept over when I was 4 on my 50 and my dad would always make me go through. One day I got swept over the little waterfall on the side and I was terrified for 2 years until I got big enough to hold myself through it.
What was your first race number and how did you choose it?
My first number was 65. It was allocated to me by my club.
Do you see yourself ever competing in the Canadian WMX Triple Crown series?
Not at this stage, I’m pretty busy with the 2 series I race now.
What are your thoughts on the Canadian WMX Triple Crown series?
It looks like an awesome series and they always get a big turnout which is great to see!
What do you like to do in the off season?
I usually fly back to NZ for Christmas and catch up with friends and family, go to the beach, scuba dive and eat all the good food!
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What I do now – Pro racer!
Who would you like to thank?
My parents for giving me all the opportunities, my race team owner, Randy Hawkins, for giving me the opportunity to come to America and race pro when I was 17, all my current sponsors, my mechanic, Derek Spangler, for the hard work he puts in so my bikes are always perfect, and my race family!