Out of the Blue | Zara Bertram | Brought to You by Schrader’s

By Jensen Amyotte

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Name: Zara Bertram

Date of Birth: February 5, 2006

Hometown: Born in Masterton, New Zealand now live in Brantford, Ontario

Grade: Grade 11

Race Number: 974

Bike: Beta 200 rr

Race Club: OffRoad Ontario

Classes: Women Pro

This week we feature Zara Bertram who is from New Zealand but calls Brantford, Ontario, home now. | Adam Sheehan photo

Who/what inspired you to get into the sport and how long have you been racing/riding? 

My dad has for my entire life had a dirt bike and then when I was 12 he finally bought me my first bike, a KTM 85 SX. Ever since I got into the sport my dad has supported me throughout it all and coached me in every way he can. I like having a sport that is a little different to what everyone does which keeps every day of riding more and more exciting. I have been riding since I was 12 and now I am 17, so 5 years. I did my first race in 2020 when I was 14 and have been racing since. 

When not on a dirt bike, how do you keep yourself busy? Are you involved in any other sports or extracurricular activities?

When I am not on a dirt bike I am preparing for a race by going to the gym, playing high school basketball and working to afford the sport. Other than that I am at school, doing homework or hanging out with friends. 

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

Specifically in Ontario, it’s disappointing how few girls ride and compete in races. Having fewer girls does allow me to have a good relationship with fellow competitors, but the intensity would be greater with more competition in my class. There are so many girls at the races either girlfriends or wives supporting their significant others, but not riding. 

Zara’s favourite track is Gopher Dunes. | Jeremy Bertram photo

What is your favourite track and why? 

My favourite track would be Gopher Dunes. When I first started riding, we went to Gopher Dunes often and still do. As soon as I got my license the first thing I thought of was a road trip down to Gopher Dunes to go riding with my friends. The Gopher Dunes XC also happens to be my favourite race. It has a good mixture of flow, a little motocross and technical. 

Do you have any pre-moto rituals? 

Before races I always drink lots starting a few days before up until half an hour before the actual race. I get ready fairly early to stay calm and chill while listening to music. I also like to have the chance to check out the start line, holeshot corner and the first bit of the track. 

What are your plans for this upcoming season? Any specific events you’re looking forward to? 

This season I have entered the Corduroy Enduro. To prepare for it, a lot of training and hard work will be put in, on and off the bike. Since it will be my first time at the Corduroy Enduro, my goal is to finish the race and have fun. 

What is the biggest lesson that off-road has taught you so far? 

Racing off-road has taught me many things over the years, but some valuable takeaways I have received would be that no matter how many people will tell you it isn’t a physical sport, it really is and if you don’t keep up your training on and off the bike then you will not be successful or have fun. I have learned my physical limits in this sport and just to push through and finish. 

What kind of track/dirt do you feel you excel at most and why?

I learnt how to ride in a field and have practiced mainly there. Recently, after getting my Beta 200, I have come to like the more technical and gnarly tracks, but I still have a lot of work ahead of me. 

Watch for Zara at the 2023 Corduroy Enduro she’ll be racing for the first time. | Adam Sheehan photo

If you could give 1 piece of advice to a female of any age who wants to start riding what would it be?

I would tell them that they should just get on the bike and ride. Every female in the sport that I have met has been extremely kind and supportive. It’s always a blast to hang out with girls that share the same interest as you. Taking the first step might be intimidating, but as soon as you get out there it will all be worth it. 

What was your first race number and how did you choose it?

My first race number was 15, and my dad chose it because it was the easiest number to tape onto my bike in black electrical tape.

What do you like to do in the off season? 

During the off season I like to snowmobiling, snowboarding and going down to the states to get a ride or two in, but in reality I spend it in school and at work. 

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