Out of the Blue | Summer Knowles | Presented by Schrader’s

By Jensen Amyotte

Presented by Schrader’s

Name: Summer Knowles

Date of Birth:  May 27th, 1995

Hometown:  New Westminster, BC

Occupation: Paramedic, Emergency Medical Call Taker

Race Number: 397

Classes: Ladies

This week, we feature #397 Summer Knowles from New Westminster, BC. | Courtney Bowman photo

How did get you into the sport of motocross?

I grew up at the track. My brother (Spencer Knowles) is three years older than me. He started riding at four years old and racing shortly thereafter. For my fifth Christmas, I got a PW50. After a few hours of relentless begging, my parents finally let me ride it in our driveway. As soon as I got on it I drove it into a parked car on our cul-de-sac.

You haven’t raced in a few years now, what have you been up to now that you are not racing?

I stopped riding a few years ago to focus on my job among other things. I have been working as a Paramedic and Emergency Medical Call Taker. With everything that is happening in the world, this last year has definitely been challenging and kept me busy. Besides working, I am a pretty big bookworm.

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

I can only speak to my personal experiences but I do think there are challenges for female racers that are not present for the guys. I was pretty fortunate to have an older brother who raced so I feel like I might not have had all the challenges that other girls face. I had a lot of guidance and help from the people around me so I was very lucky in that regard.

I think where I struggled the most was feeling like I could be out there with the guys. I am not the best jumper and I struggle with the smallest doubles. Racing with the girls is pretty laid back, there is lots of room when we pass each other and I never questioned myself on the track.

Contrary to that, when I was racing with the guys I was constantly worried about being in the way or getting landed on. I found most guys don’t enjoy finishing behind a girl so it can turn into the Hunger Games really quick out there.

As I got older my skills developed and some of that worry went away. I eventually learned to trust myself on the track but it’s always in the back of my mind.  

With Spencer Knowles as an older brother, Summer couldn’t really avoid the sport. | Family photo

Who is your all-time favourite rider?                  

I think I will always be a Josh Hansen fan. I grew up watching him race Supercross over the years. He is exceptionally smooth and I think it makes his style distinct and enjoyable to watch.

What is your favourite track and why?      

Cahuilla Creek in Riverside, CA. I rode there a few times over the years and I always had so much fun on the vet track. I didn’t ride the main track there until 2014 when I spent a few months in California with Sara King. She finally convinced me that I could ride the main track so I went out there and I think I fell love with riding more that day. The elevation is so much fun and I felt safe doing most of the jumps. I always left that place with a big smile on my face. Without a doubt I would go to California again just to ride Cahuilla Creek.

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

Walton TransCan has always been one of the best weeks of the year. My brother raced it from 50’s to Pro so I have some great memories of playing bingo and doing all the fun activities that take place all week. I got to race the event once I got older and I was blown away at how awesome the whole week was. Brett and Mel Lee do an amazing job accommodating to all age groups.

The sport definitely misses Summer’s character at the races. | Bigwave photo

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

My grandma fits into that category for me. She’s always encouraged me to ride and made an effort to come watch me race. I really enjoy her sense of humour and she has a good attitude about life. She likes getting older every year and I love that about her. With the experiences I have had working on the ambulance, I know that growing old is something that not everyone will have the privilege of doing. I admire her for embracing it and enjoying life the way she does.

Do you have any pre-moto rituals? 

A bowl of Lucky Charms in the morning, for obvious reasons.

Tell us about your 2020 race season and your plans for 2021. 

I only got out riding once in 2020. I borrowed a dual sport and went out with some new friends who are into trail riding. They took me to check out some trails in the Lower Mainland area. We got some pretty amazing views and I had a blast even though I could barely hold the dual sport up. It definitely reminded me how much I miss riding and spending time with people who genuinely love being on two wheels. With that being said, I’m really hoping to ride more this year. And check out some more trails!

What are your biggest accomplishments on and off the track to date?

I think the 2014 national series was my favourite year racing. A lot of my friends and family came to watch me race at the Nanaimo national and I ended up getting 4th overall that day. When I came off the track I was greeted by my mom and she was super excited for me. I won the Most Improved Rider Award that season so that was pretty awesome way to finish off the season.

As for off the track, I was pretty excited about delivering a baby. As a Paramedic and Emergency Call Taker I often help people in some of their worst moments. It was pretty remarkable when I got to help a family on one of their best days. After all was said and done and I finally looked, all my co-workers were smiling and there were a lot of congratulations going around. It was a pretty memorable day for me.

A highlight for Summer was placing 4th at the Nanaimo WMX National in 2014. | Courtney Bowman photo

What is the biggest lesson that motocross has taught you so far?  

Things can change very quickly. I’ve seen what the highs and lows of the sport can do. I think an important lesson I’ve taken from years of being at the track is humility.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I think I will still be involved in the ambulance service, and hopefully still riding dirt bikes for fun!

Who would you like to thank?

There are so many people that have helped me over the years. I couldn’t have had many of the experiences I’ve had without the help family, friends, and Cycle North. I also want to thank all of the first responders and front-line staff. I truly appreciate and admire all the people working through this pandemic right now, especially my co-workers!

Hey Rick…Rick…RICK… (SNL reference)