Kelsey Abbott comes from a family of racers, with Destry Abbott as a father and a brother working his way towards a professional career, so it comes a no surprise that she felt the urge to ride as well. A member of the ever-growing Blustarr team, Kelsey splits her time between school, a photography business, and the race track. For this week’s installment of She Races, Sarah Whitmore asked Abbott a series of questions about growing up in the family, finding time to ride, and what it means to be a women in the sport.
How old were you when you first started riding and what got you interested?
I got my first PW 50 on my sixth birthday and started riding in our backyard to get the hang of it, and my first race was an Adelanto GP when I was around nine. My dad has been racing professionally for over 20 years now, so I had been around the sport my entire life and always wanted to give it a try!
We know your dad is an off road legend, but how did he and your mom feel about their girl riding?
I’ll always be their baby girl, so I’m sure they were a little iffy about it at first. My dad knows how dangerous the sport can be, so having said that, he’s taught me from the beginning how to be a smart rider, which has really made all the difference.
Do you prefer off road or motocross?
Everyone assumes I’d pick off road over motocross, and although I absolutely love being in the desert, woods, etc, I think I’d pick motocross.
When I did my first desert race my biggest fear, even more than the course, was seeing a snake. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ran into while riding in the desert?
First off, I absolutely hate snakes. Living in the Arizona desert, I always thought I’d run into them more often then not, but I’ve been lucky enough not to! We have plenty of wild animals to run into out here, but honestly somehow the scariest thing I find myself running into is cactus. It’s weird, I know, but they literally jump out at you here, so I’d rather steer clear of them then animals!
When will we see you race Endurocross?
I’ve heard that question more times then not! Both my dad and brother do the entire series, so I spectate at a lot of them and it’s really the best racing to watch! I don’t know if I’ll ever get myself to race one, and if I do it’d be a few years from now. I’d want to come into it prepared both physically and mentally with plenty of Endurocross practice under my belt.
You and your brother have such a great relationship, but have you ever beaten him in a race?
My brother and I have an awesome relationship and now that he’s getting older, it’s getting even better! There was a time that I was faster then him, and I wish I took more advantage of that! Now that he’s working towards the goal of becoming a professional, he’s the one giving me pointers, which I think is the cutest thing! Maybe if I push him over in a corner I’d be able to beat him.
You’re in college right now, and you have your own photography business, so how do you juggle everything with riding and going to the races?
That is actually pretty hard! My photography business is really taking off and most of my photo shoots are on the weekend, when I would usually ride and or race. I’ve really been wanting to race more, but without practicing it’s hard for me to go into a race as prepared as I should be. I’ve been sticking to local motocross events and have had fun with those, and hope to do some local desert races, too.
What’s your worst “girls can’t ride” story?
Oh man, those stories happen to a lot of girls I’m sure! I was walking back to my car after class and I had a pink Thor sticker on my rear windshield. I remember I was wearing a summer dress and flats, because I actually had time to get ready that morning. A girl getting out of her car noticed the sticker and said to me, “You really shouldn’t pretend you race motocross and have that sticker on your window, you’re not fooling anyone.” That did not sit well with me, and that being said by another girl makes it worse.
What’s you’re favorite part about being a female racer?
I enjoy being the underdog. Being a girl in a male dominated sport isn’t easy by any means. But I think it’s cool seeing the women’s side of it grow, and as long as girls stick together, I don’t think it has to be male dominated anymore.
What does it mean to you to be a part of Blustarr?
Being apart of Blustarr is one of the best opportunities I’ve had. The fact that there is a company who’s sole purpose is to support Women in motorsports is awesome and there’s nothing else like that out there. Lee is a fantastic guy who has the best intentions and just wants to see the sport grow. Putting events on like the girls ride day at Milestone is a great way to get girls together who have the same interests. I’ve met so many talented females through Blustarr and have made great friends along the way. You couldn’t ask for anything better.
And lastly who would win in a motocross race: me or your dad?
(Laughs) We both got a kick out of this. So awesome. I’m sure you can beat him on a trials bike.