Out of the Blue: Jessica Diarra
By Jeff McConkey
Name: Jessica Diarra
Birthday: April 18, 1993
Hometown: Carignan, Quebec
School & Grade or Occupation: Mechanical Engineering in St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu College
Bike: 2009 KTM 250sxF
Race Club: AMXQ
Class: Women B
How did you get started in racing?
Since the age of 11, I followed my stepfather to his races. I always wanted to try, but my parents didn’t wanted to because I was a girl. I first got on a bike in 2013, in Deschambault. My friend let me use her bike to make my first race. Right after I got off the track, I knew that I needed to race. So, I bought my first bike in the winter, started practicing at X-Town on the Intermediate track and I did all the AMXQ championship that summer, without ever been on a big track before. It was a rough summer, but race after race, I didn’t gave up and I got better and faster.
As a little girl, did you ever expect to be this deep into a sport like motocross?
Since the age of 11, I was hoping to get a chance to get on a bike and race. I’ve been on the side of the track cheering everyone weekend after weekend and waiting for my turn. I always knew that motocross was all that I wanted to do.
Do you think motocross is harder for a female to compete in?
I don’t think that motocross is harder for females to compete in because you need more technique than strength, and we need to train a lot to have more cardio.
Who is your favourite rider and why?
Ryan Dungey, because he is a great rider, he is disciplined, he’s fast, he’s constant, he rides a KTM and he’s kind of cute.
Is there one lady racer out there that you think has paved the way for other girls to be successful in the sport?
Ève Brodeur, for sure! She showed everyone that women could compete with men, and rock it. She is an inspiration for me.
What Canadian Pro do you look up to and why?
Jeremy Pronovost, because I’ve known him since the age of 11, he always has good advice, and is always there to help. He is a good rider and also a good friend. This guy has a lot of future in motocross racing.
What is your favourite track and why?
Sainte-Julie is my favourite track because it’s an awesome track with a lot of jumps and berms. I’m really comfortable on that track and it is the first track where I did my very first ‘real’ race.
Who is your hero?
My hero is Chantal Bénard. Why? Because she is the one who convinced my parents to let me get on a bike – she let me ride her bike in Deschambault to make the ‘not in’ race. She wow’s me so much because she is almost 50 years old and still races as if she is 20. She is an amazing woman; always there to help and to give advice.
What was your goal for this season?
My goal for this season was to make every race and make a top 5 in my championship…I finished 3rd and made more races than I thought I would be doing. I just couldn’t take a week off from racing – I love it too much!
What are your biggest accomplishments?
My biggest accomplishments, I think, are to have made every race (often alone, sleeping in my car with my dog), and being able to do my mechanic (work) almost all by myself. It’s to have finished 3rd in my championship, after only 2 years racing. It is also to have defeated my fears from [jumps].
What is your favourite part about going to the races?
What I love about motocross is that we are all like a big family – everybody knows everybody. We are all helping each other and I’ve met so many amazing people because of motocross racing.
What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?
When I’m not racing, I’m working on my bike or at the track practicing with friends.
Is it important to have a motocross racer as a boyfriend/partner, or just a bonus?
It is not really important, but it helps a lot because all my life turns around racing, so I need someone that can understand that motocross comes before everything. Having a boyfriend that races too would be a lot easier.
If you ever have children, will they be motocross racers?
If I ever have kid, I will encourage them in racing, but if they don’t like it I won’t force them…but I would love to share my passion with my kids.
Who do you want to thank?
I would like to thank my sponsors: Progym St-Jean, Smith Optics, Pièces d’Auto André Theroux Ltée, my friends and family and everyone who supports me and helps me race after race.