Muddy conditions and torn ligaments in the knee didn’t stop motocross racer Alissa Harkin from clinching second place in the Future West Moto 2018 Fall Series youth class.
“In the youth class against a whole bunch of guys on 250s and 450s, I’m the only girl right now, so it’s very exciting for me,” said the Sechelt-based rider.
The fall season is short, with 11 rounds of competitions occurring on back-to-back weekends. It was also a rainy season, which Harkin said allowed her to regain her confidence riding in muddy conditions. During a national competition in Prince George, Harkin suffered a serious accident in the mud. “Another rider drove over my back and my head,” she said, resulting in a concussion. “I totally overcame my fear I’ve had for a year. So now I actually like mud,” Harkin said. “It’s fun to slide around and still send it anyways.”
As for the knee injury, which Harkin sustained in the spring, she will require reconstructive surgery, eventually. In the meantime, she is attending physiotherapy and is cross training in martial arts to strengthen the muscles around her knee. “I have a very high pain tolerance,” said Harkin, who must wear a brace continually to compensate for the damage.
Despite the injuries, Harkin has been on a roll this year. She finished the Future West Moto Outdoor Spring Series in first place in the youth class and third place in the open beginner class. That success has drawn attention. Harkin is sponsored by B&B Kitchen Concepts, Davis Engineering and Coastline Powersports, and following the fall series she has been approached by a racing team, which may also allow her to acquire a bike more powerful than her current 2002 Yamaha 125, known as “Blue Bullet.”
She plans to ride Blue Bullet and the 250cc four-stroke bike in two classes in the Arena Cross Series, which runs from November to February. “The two stroke you have to use the clutch more to get the party started,” Harkin said when describing the difference between the bikes. “For a 250 you just tickle the throttle and your power’s there immediately.”
She said maintenance and parts are more expensive, but the upgrade is necessary because she is doing more jumps and also “battling more” – competing with men on more powerful bikes. “If a big guy on a 250 comes and checks up on you and hits you, on my 125 basically I go flying off the tracks or off my bike, so hopefully it’ll add a little more weight,” she said.
Harkin has also been working to recruit more women into the sport and mentored a woman who trained at a Popkum race in Kamloops. “I helped her get her bike ready,” Harkin said. “We drove out there together … and she had her first ever race experience.”