Sayaka Kaneshiro, 21
Osaka, Japan
Sponsors: Utopia, Dunlop, Honda, Troy Lee Designs, Zeta
Sayaka Kaneshiro came to the US to compete in the Women’s Motocross Series, and in 2013 she finished second in the points championship riding a very strong season while in contention to win the championship throughout the series.  With a new series for 2014, the Women’s Motocross championship is entering a new era.  Kaneshiro has come out to the Muscle Milk/Transworld MX Winter Cup to prepare for her 2014 racing endeavor. A native of Japan, Kaneshiro has come to the United States to compete against some of the top women racers in the world.
What brings you out to the Muscle Milk/Transworld MX Winter Cup race?
I am trying to go to some local races to get back into racing again.  I was going to compete in the Geneva Supercross, but I got hurt in practice.  I hit my chest hard and couldn’t breathe and had to go get surgery right away.  I am out here just trying to work hard and get used to racing again.
What is your plan for 2014 now that the Women’s Motocross series has changed and is separate from the outdoor nationals?
I’m not sure yet, I am planning on racing the women’s national, it is an eight race season.  I will try to race that and also do some local racing.
Have you considered going to Europe to race the women’s GP championship?
I have talked about that, but I would need a sponsor for that.  I had a talk with one of my sponsors about it, Eve Skin Care, they help me a lot, but we will see what happens with the nationals this year. 
Have you thought about going through arena cross to score points to race in the supercross series?
I really wanted to try arenacross, but I got hurt before that and wasn’t able to.  I am confident, I will try again if I can get a sponsor to help for it.
How did you get started racing?
My dad used to race when he was younger, and now he is my mechanic and my coach.  That is how I started out and why I am still riding.
Why do you race motocross and what is your goal? 
My goal is to win a championship.  I started riding when I was 4 years old, so it’s been over 15 years now, I can’t stop and I just really love to ride and racing is important to me.
What do you do to keep competitive in motocross?
Motocross is a very tough sport, but I try to keep my momentum in racing, so I just keep working hard so that I can do well.
What do you do for training to prepare for racing?
I do my own style of training, I just go to 24 Hour Fitness and do weight training and running on the treadmill, riding bicycle, and swimming, I love swimming.  Swimming is good for my body and is good for riding to stay in shape.
How was the transition coming to the United States from Japan?
It was a tough change for me and also for my parents too.  We came over here and we didn’t know what was happening and couldn’t speak the language well.  I went to school and graduated, but it was so tough.  But I am here now and I want to try everything I can.
Is motocross your main occupation or do you go to school?
I want to go to college and I want to learn everything, but right now motocross is my job.  But I also work as a waitress and stuff to get money to race my dirtbike.