Muscle Milk TWMX Race Series Profile: Shane McElrath
What brings you out to California? I’m out here at the Transworld Series riding for the Troy Lee Designs, here just riding for fun doing some testing before the spring nationals at Oak Hill and Freestone. Just getting used to the team and getting more time on the California tracks. I’ll be leaving soon to go to Texas, but I will be home for a while after that. Then I will be back out here getting ready for the outdoors starting at Hangtown. How did you get signed to the Troy Lee Designs team? On the Tuesday at Loretta’s last year I had a pretty early moto in 250B Stock and I ended up drawing gate pick #1, got the holeshot and led every lap and won the moto. After that I was pretty shocked, I knew I was going pretty good but I didn’t expect that. Then the next moto in the 450, I fell. I came all the way back and caught the leader on the last lap. Later that day I met up with Tyler (Keefe), my team manager, and we never lost contact after that. How did you originally get started racing? My dad used to be a local professional, but we never had much money. He came from kind of a poor family, and he never had his own motorcycle, he just raced everyone else’s motorcycles. My dad was like a local hero and he was real good. He got my older brother into it and then I came along. My two older sisters raced too and my younger brother now. We’ve all been in the racing scene. At what point did you realize you had the talent to step up to the national scene? Roughly two years ago I started staying at Club MX in South Carolina and they kind of opened my riding up, double what it was before. Brandon has helped me out with so much and pushed me over the limit and set new limits for me to reach. Just being there, they’ve really turned me around. What stands out as your biggest accomplishment so far? Last year at Loretta’s was obviously the biggest amateur race. I ended up getting two 2nd’s overall. I really wanted to win, I got two 1st’s and four 2nd’s during the week. I was happy with that but I knew I could have won. Things just didn’t go exactly how I wanted, but they ended up working out for the better in the end. Also Mini-O’s last year, it was my first national championship other than Branson. I’m really proud of that too. Now that you are on the Troy Lee Designs team, do you feel it has taken some pressure off and let you concentrate more on your riding? No, not too much. Now going to the pros, everyone is fast there and you have to put in your time and work. There’s no slip ups and you have to be 100% all the time. In some ways it’s tougher because you have a boss now. Before I didn’t really ride for anyone else, I just had a few sponsors and was just racing for myself and I like to win. Now I have to win for someone else besides myself, but I don’t mind that. When you turn pro for the outdoor season, what are your expectations? As of right now, no, I don’t. I’m just going to keep putting my time in. I’m getting close now, I am feeling pretty good. I’m really excited to do these spring nationals and I come back out to California a few weeks after to start outdoor testing, then it should be good. I don’t plan on anything right now, but I don’t expect too low either. Do you have any advice for up and coming riders who want to turn pro? It takes a lot of heart and a lot of effort. I’ve put God first many, many times, and that’s a big key. You’ve got to trust God and God will get you through everything. Just put in your work on the track and off the track too and everything should come together if you want it bad enough. Aside from the big nationals, how does this Transworld Race compare to races on the East Coast? I haven’t really done any outdoor races on the East Coast yet. I did a little indoor series back home and I did good in that. It’s cool to be out here. I haven’t raced Jessy since I was on 85′s, and I haven’t raced Christian and Cole so it’s really cool to race with them too.Shane McElrath, 18 Canton,NC Sponsors: Lucas Oil, Troy Lee Designs, Honda, Oakley, Red Bull, Adidas The Lucas Oil Troy Lee Designs race team brought their entire roster out to Competitive Edge MX to the fifth round of the Winter Cup including their amateur riders. Shane McElrath was a standout on the track, keeping pace with another recent Troy Lee Designs amateur program rider, Jessy Nelson. McElrath had no problem keeping Nelson in his sights as he winds down his amateur career and heads in the direction of kicking off his pro career. Seeing McElrath on the West Coast for the first time, we stopped by the Troy Lee pit to get to know him.