Elena Myers competes on this No. 21 Lucas Oil Roadracing World RMR Suzuki backed GSX-R600 in the AMA Supersport class.
In the realm of motorcycle road racing most pretty girls you see at the racetrack are toting umbrellas not tucked in beneath the windscreen of a 120-horsepower sportbike blasting around the racetrack within a few inches of the ground. That is unless you’re Elena Myers. The 17-year-old from Northern California joined the AMA professional ranks this year and competed in the AMA Supersport class aboard a Lucas Oil Roadracingworld.com RMR Suzuki backed GSX-R600. In her rookie season, she became the first female to win an AMA motorcycle road race. She would go on to finish the series in sixth position. We recently spoke with her at the Suzuki dealer meeting where the Japanese powersports manufacturer announced the all-new GSX-R600 and 750 sportbike that you can read about in the 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 First Look.
HER FIRST YEAR RACING PRO IN THE 2010 AMA ROAD RACING SERIES:
It was good. I had a fun time at Daytona it was a really cool experience being under a big rig for a whole year. You can’t really do much better than that so that was exciting and to be part of a big team and have my first win at my home track [Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California]. I learned a lot, learned the tracks more and learned more about myself and my riding. So it was a great learning year and I’m hoping to come out swinging next year.
WHAT CIRCUITS WERE NEW TO YOU THIS YEAR:
Basically most of them besides the West Coast tracks. I mean I’ve been to Ohio and Atlanta but all the others were relatively new. I knew which direction they went but besides that I’ve never had any time on them. I did a track day once there [Mid Ohio] I would watch videos and just try and acclimate myself to the tracks and the reference points and all that. I’d also go out and watch some practices before mine and just kind of wing it first session [laughs]. The most difficult track for me was VIR. I did the WERA weekend before that but I was on my practice bike and my racebike is slightly different. I was also on the good tires [non-AMA legal U.K. made Dunlop D211 GP N-Tecs] when I raced with WERA. That was a tough weekend for sure but I certainly learned a lot.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TRACK:
Laguna is always a fun track. I’ve ridden there a couple times and I love that track especially with the prestige that surrounds it with MotoGP. It was definitely a lot of fun. I had a great time at Barber in the first race it is definitely one of my favorite tracks. I had spill at Road Atlanta and broke my foot but raced the next day and got fourth. That was a fun track for me.
HOW IS YOUR BROKEN FOOT:
It’s good. I actually didn’t know it was broken until after Infineon. I got x-rays on it but it just didn’t show the break. During the Infineon races I got shots in my foot before every session to make the pain go away. Without that I couldn’t ride any more than three laps. It’s all better now. I ended up breaking the second metatarsal. That was painful. I couldn’t do any training in-between races.
TRAINING OFF THE BIKE:
Elena Myers took the win in Race 1 at Infineon Raceway, becoming the first female to win an AMA Supersport race.
I did a bunch this year but not as hard core as I probably should have [smiles]. I’m still trying to get in that mode. I guess you learn that over time—how to be focused and that kind of thing. I’m going to be working on it this off-season down in Lake Elsinore [California] with Roadracing World. I’m going to be down there for one week a month. We’ve got a scheduled planned out so I’m really looking forward to that. I do a lot of cardio and work on my core—all my muscle groups really. You can’t leave anything out. I do cycling a little bit. I can’t really run because my knees turn in when I run so I can’t do that. I’ve been doing a lot of the elliptical, plus it’s good because it gets your arms in there too.
I’m a senior. I started Kindergarten when I was four. I’ve always been the youngest in my class so I’m graduating early by December. I guess I’d be class of 2010. I go to an independent studies high school. My school is very flexible they understand what I do and I get good grades. I’ve kind of done an accelerated program so I’ve been able to graduate early. My favorite subject is math. I’m pretty good at that. I hate history though [laughs].
WHAT PEOPLE THINK WHEN THEY FIND OUT YOU RACE MOTORCYCLES PROFESSIONALLY:
I don’t really interact with other kids in my school but I have my friends from middle school. Most people didn’t even know that I race motorcycles. They all think it’s cool I guess when they find out. My grandma is always walking up to strangers and telling them I race bikes. So it kind of gets a ‘wow’ from most people but I don’t think anyone treats me any differently.
RIDING DIRT BIKES:
I’ve been riding supermoto since basically I started riding. I’d road race them and I did about a year of supermoto racing. I still ride it now but I’m really getting into flat track, especially this past year. I’m falling in love with bikes again—it’s just something new and I’m having a great time doing it.
BEST RACING BATTLE THIS SEASON:
Ohio was really fun for that. [James] Rispoli and I had a great battle at Laguna for fourth place. Infineon was good [Ed. Note: she won Race 1 when it was red flagged, the first of her a career and the first by a female]. I won it by the book but it wasn’t a traditional win where you cross the checkered flag in the lead but I’ll take it for sure, any win is a win.
I’m not as aggressive as some other people. I’m still working on that. I guess I’m more methodical about everything I’m doing out on track. I think about stuff before I do it. I’m not afraid to get in there and bang some elbows though [laughs]. I struggled with my own physical strength this year and it’s what hindered my performance the most. This off-season is going to be big on that so I can come out swinging next year.
PLANS FOR 2011:
Ride in AMA Supersport. I’ll probably be doing the West Coast series and try and go for the overall championship. Winning a championship before I switch to the Sportbike class would be… you can’t do better than that. The class we have right now it’s amazing we have so many guys in the top-10, it’s just super close and it’s been great racing all year and I’m just looking forward to next year and beyond.
ON MEN AND WOMEN ROAD RACING TOGETHER AS COMPARED TO AMA MOTOCROSS:
I’m glad that we aren’t separated. Road racing is a physical but it’s really a mental sport. Motocross you have to be so physically strong. We haven’t seen anybody yet that’s been able to compete with the guys on that level yet. I have all the faith in myself that I can be just as strong as the guys maybe not physically—but you don’t need to be the strongest person just look at Pedrosa he’s actually smaller than me and weighs less than me. So obviously it can be done, it’s just figuring out how to get there.
I haven’t really thought about the Superbike route. I think a Moto 2 would be really cool because they are smaller and they fit a jockey-type sized rider better so maybe I’ll do that. Hopefully I can make it to MotoGP. (Ed. Note: Myers got to hang out with the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team at Laguna Seca this year and sat on the team’s GSR-V race bike). Loris Capirossi and I are pretty much the same height so I sat on his bike and everything fit so perfect and I was like ‘yeah, that’s where I need to be someday’. It was a real cool experience to meet everyone and see how a real top tier race team works.
AMA Supersport racer Elena Myers checks out Loris Capirossi’s Suzuki GSV-R GP bike. Could she the first girl to race MotoGP?
HOW WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE OTHER GIRLS TO RIDE OR RACE STREET BIKES:
Just go out and do it. If you have a passion for it there’s no reason why you can’t do it. I can do it. You just need to have the heart, drive and passion for it. It takes a lot of hard work along the way. But I say go do it.
Thanks so much this year to Lucas Oil, Roadracing World and American Suzuki. Without them I wouldn’t be standing here.