Sechelt motocross racer Alissa Harkin is on a roll after finishing the Future West Moto Outdoor Spring Series in first place in the youth class and third place in the open beginner class.
She racked up 132 points in the youth class, placing her head and shoulders above second- and third-place finishers Parker Eales and Clay Crawford, who achieved 75 and 64 points, respectively. In the open beginner class, she earned 139 points, behind first-place Kaylie Kayer (194 points) and Kyle Frick (147 points). Both classes include male and female athletes.
“It feels so amazing, all of my hard work I have put in has paid off,” said the 23-year-old racer.
Harkin is still new to the sport and is succeeding despite having what she says is the oldest bike on the track – a 2002 Yamaha 125 named the Blue Bullet. “I give her a lot of love and a lot of maintenance between races,” Harkin said.
Outside of the Future West series, Harkin also competed in Prince George at the Rockstar Triple Crown pro national series event, placing 24th overall in the women’s pro category, and she finished 10th overall in Revelstoke at the Western Canadian Amateur Championships at the beginning of July.
“For awhile I was coming in last all the time, but now I’m finally getting up there. When you come back home with a big shiny trophy, it looks a lot better,” she said.
Aside from support from local sponsors such as Coastline Powersports and B&B Kitchen Concepts, Harkin is bootstrapping her way through the notoriously expensive sport. To keep costs down, she forgoes a private coach and fixes the Blue Bullet herself with assistance of YouTube tutorials, an operations manual, and her father, Brian Harkin, a proponent of motocross who used to work for Future West Moto, the primary race producer in B.C.
To stay ahead of the curve, she trains twice weekly at the Sechelt motocross compound and at the Chilliwack Popkum Motor Park, and practises Muay Thai kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu to strengthen her cardio, which she said gives her an advantage on the track. “I make most of my good passes at the end of the race. When people are getting tired, I’m just getting going.”
She also pushed herself to attend as many races in the series as she could, another kind of endurance that resulted in point gains even though she never managed a first-place finish. “I go to every single race. Every weekend, even if I know it’s going to be pouring rain, I’ll still go.” That has also meant pushing through injury. Two months ago, she tore her ACL and sprained her MCL after a crash at a racetrack in Mission in which her bike landed on top of her.
Despite the long race weekends, Harkin is drawn to the sport in part because of the community it fosters as well as the challenge to “send it” – motocross slang for giving it your all. Her dream is to see more people, especially women, send it in motocross. Gains are happening. For example, women now ride on the same day as men, and receive similar media coverage, as well as the same trophies and a 200 per cent payout. “It took a lot of girls a lot of pushing and this year they decided to have the ladies on pro day. It’s been a huge success.”