By Brendan Lutes
In the sport of motocross and off-road racing, there are really only a few women who have made a lasting impression—Kelly Yancey is one of them.
After retiring from a successful racing career that saw her earn titles in off-road and motocross, Kelly has begun teaching riding schools. And this upcoming weekend at Pala Raceway, she will be holding a school focused on getting women involved in the sport, and teaching them the fundamentals of riding a dirt bike. If you are a lady looking to improve her riding skills, or if you just want to finally learn how to ride, continue reading for more information, then plan on making the trip out to Pala on Saturday.
For people who might not know, what is your background with motocross?
I come from a family of riders, so it was only natural that I began to love my motorcycle too. I rode my first ATC70 at five years old and fell in love with the sport. After that, it quickly grew into racing anything and everything whether it was motocross, Grand Prix, Desert, or Enduro. Thanks to the dedication from my amazing family, I was fortunate to travel the United States racing for both Kawasaki Team Green and KTM USA’s off-road teams. I earned some championships over the years too. I competed in the Best in the Desert Series, earning one title at the Nevada 2000 race; the WORCS Series, earning three titles; and the AMA National Hare & Hounds Series, earning seven titles. Those were probably my most memorable titles.
How did you get started in schools?
In 2004, it was time to look beyond racing and my school slowly evolved based on requests from young racers needing some help. Over my years as a racer, I have taken away quite a few helpful tips from some great coaches I worked with as a racer, I have then add a dash of my own flare, and it makes for a successful combo. Being that I have 28 years riding and 25 years racing experience it gives me an unlimited amount of knowledge to pass onto my students. For me, I love hosting summer camps mainly because I had always wanted to go to one as a kid and never got the chance. I think the best part of doing these schools is getting to see the kids grow up and improve their riding. I really enjoy mentoring the kids and watching them gain some independence from Mom and Dad.
What is your goal for the school?
The goal for my school is to continue reaching riders of all ages and skill levels, giving them a top-notch education in not only the proper riding techniques, but proper training as well. My philosophy is simple: quality not quantity. I keep my classes very small and intimate in order to ensure each student gets a chance to absorb all the material that's taught on the day. It also allows me to give each student the attention they deserve and need. I often build a tight bond with my students, and I share the excitement and goose bumps when they reach their goals that they set for themselves. That is probably the most rewarding aspect of doing these schools.
How important is it for you to continue passing the sport of motocross along to other women?
I know how riding and racing changed my life for the better, and I hope to inspire more girls and women to get involved. I feel that I can connect with all of my students, but most importantly my female riders. I can speak for myself by saying motorcycles have given me confidence, dedication, self worth, and satisfaction. When I was little, I didn’t have any female racers to look up to, and I hope that through these schools I can inspire up-and-coming female racers to strive to achieve their goals. Or even just help introduce other women to the sport.
Tell us about the "Just the Girls" MX school?
It’s been a while since I hosted a girls-only MX School, and I thought what better time of year than now? The weather is great, the dirt is damp, and Santa is coming to town! The event will be held at Pala Raceway on Saturday, December 15th and the class begins at 10:00 am. The track will be open to the public that day, but a huge thanks goes out to our friend Kirk for helping to make accommodations for the girls to ensure a safe and special day. Female riders of all ages, skill levels, and bike sizes are welcome to take the class. And thanks to my wonderful sponsors each lady will take home an awesome goodie bag, event t-shirt, and most importantly some brand new skills. If you have always wanted to ride motocross, but never had the courage, or maybe need a little fine-tuning, this school is for you! Oh and for the guys out there, it makes a great Christmas gift for your favorite girl.
Are you planning any other riding schools after this upcoming one?
On my website there's an up-to-date calendar of my day classes, weekend camps, and summer camps. I can also schedule private lessons; all you have to do is pick your favorite track, and I'll bring my school to you. This is the best time of the year to prepare for the upcoming season.
For more information on this school and other’s that Yancey offers visit kellyyancey.com