Our Riders

MotoZ Riders | Kristen Casey


 

Check Out This Q&A with Kristen from Cycle Warrior

If You Fall Off the Horse (Or motorcycle), You Get Back On!

An Interview with Kristin Casey

Kristin Casey was kind enough to give me a few of her precious minutes to learn about sport bike racing, and to find out what makes her tick. She has an undeniable dedication to her sport her life revolves around racing. She works hard, and her time is closely guarded, so I promised to take only a little of that priceless resource. With a bike to prep, an RV to pack, and one pesky tool to find…well, there aren’t enough hours in the day.

Kristin’s racing statistics speak for her de- votion. Currently she is ranked 2nd nationally in ASRA Sport Bike, and 8th in Super Stock.

She’s moved around the country over the years, but is back home in Delaware. A gradu- ate of the University of Delaware, she works a full-time job, and manages to devote whatever time is left over to the love of her life sport bike racing.

What got you started?
K.C.: I didn’t know about the sport, really, until I got started. I’ve always been an athlete, and the reason I went to college was to have a backup. I was into horses, and hoped to get into the Olympics, but I finished college to have something in place, just in case things didn’t go the way I planned. In 2009 I decided to do something else, because the [horse] industry wasn’t really what I thought it was. Well, since high school I had been riding, buying, and selling horses every time I sold a horse I bought another, but one day I decided to buy a mo- torcycle.

I was a sophomore in college, I think, and I just kept upgrading throughout the years. I just rode on the street, and I really liked. I was pretty dangerous on the street, and racing probably saved my life. I was totally reckless, with no sense of anything…young and fast. Someone casually mentioned to me that I should try racing, since I like going that fast. I had no idea what? where? is there such a thing?kcasey

At the time, I was living in Florida, and I went to a race and just walked down and started talking and asking questions. I think I was looking for something to fill that competi- tive void I had.

In short order Kristin took her Suzuki sv650 on a road course, and within a few months, had her racing license. There was no question about whether or not she liked racing. A month after her first race weekend, Kristin was invited to race Superbike Peru, and was the first woman to race in that country. She placed 4th in both races. Soon after that, she raced Phillip Island Australia, after which she was offered a full-time position with Prieto Perfor- mance Racing in Florida.

In 2011, Kristin’s bike suffered a mechanical failure during a race, resulting in a bad crash. Her injuries were serious enough to threaten amputation of her right leg. After mov- ing home and selling her bike to pay for medical expenses, she made a full recovery. She knew that wasn’t the end, and returned to racing in 2014. Currently she rides a mostly-stock 2013 Yamaha r6.

Is this what you do full time?
K.C.: I wish. I have a full time job, which I do during the day, then work on the bike at night, then I race on the weekends. That’s pretty standard for most racers.

Do you have a team? What sort of support group do you have?
K.C.: This is it. It’s just me. I have a mechanic that helps with technical stuff, and anything that has to do with the engine, but other than that,
I do all the work. My mom is with me. She’ll help me
put the bike on the stand, and she comes to races,
and she’ll check tire pressure. She’s great support, and
helps with driving on the long trips.

What was your family like? Did anyone race?

K.C.: Nobody races. I have no idea where I got the desire. They don’t understand it (laughing).

Did they think you were crazy?
K.C.: They always thought I was crazy. Even with the horses. So there was no surprise when I took on motorcycle racing. My mom tried to talk me out of it, but she stopped awhile ago. She actually likes it now. After coming to a few races, most people see that it’s a lot safer than they think.

How do you prepare mentally before a race? What about during a race?
K.C.: My mind is pretty quiet. You shouldn’t be overthinking anything; it should all be done ahead of time. So, you should already know, that you saw, for instance, a mark on the pave- ment, so that’s where you should start the turn. Your muscle memory should be set. So, when you are in the race, you should be relaxed. It’s hard to describe, because you are really fo- cused, but you’re not picking apart everything, because that would blow your mind. The more relaxed you are…the more fun you’re having, the faster you’ll go. It’ll feel like you’re going slower, but if you’re feeling rushed and bothered, you’re usually going slower for real.

Before a race I’m quiet. I kind of zone out, say a prayer, try not to think about it too much.

Is there camaraderie with you and the other racers?
K.C.: Oh yeah. We’re family. We see each other all the time, and we’re all risking our lives. We trust each other. We know that if we do something wrong, it could risk the lives of oth- ers, not just yourself. There’s a respect that goes well beyond camaraderie.

Anybody is willing to help anybody. If you were looking for a place where everyone was trusting and kind and was actually looking out for your wellbeing, that would be the racetrack. Any racer will tell you that. We all love it so much, and we all keep coming back because of that. We go through our week full of so much negativity and stress, and coming to the track is a release. It’s a good feeling, and it makes me humble.

What needs to happen to do this full time?
K.C.: Winning each round and not getting hurt. Getting hurt means you can’t show up. The most important thing is to keep moving forward, to keep progressing, and keep learning. No one knows it all, and I think that’s why we all love it so much. There’s always new technology, or some insight you pick up from experience. It just never ever ends. You’re always learn-
ing something whether it’s about yourself and your own character, or something mechanical about the bike, or just racing craft in general.

What advice would you have for someone who wants to do what you’re doing?
K.C.: First, know that it’s really hard. And make sure no one else knows about what you’re doing (with more laughter). Don’t be in it for the glory, and you’re probably not going to make any money doing it. The joke is that the only way to make money in racing is to spend money, which is 100% true. You have to like it, and be prepared to be broke and not have a life. You’ll be consumed by it, and if you really love it, you won’t want to do anything else. It’s not a glorified sport, and most people don’t know about it. It’s not on TV very often. It’s a hard sport. You have to overcome any fear you have, and be able to bounce back from any setback.

If you’re not having fun, you should definitely not be doing it. That’s what’s most important.

Kristin is, without a doubt, having way too much fun. She’s doing what she loves, and it shows. Her combination of grit and heart have driven her this far, and there’s no stop in sight.

Thank you, Kristin, for letting us have a few minutes to pick your brain. Your unquenchable passion for this sport is astonishing, and we look forward to following your exciting career.

Thanks again to Cycle Warrior for this awesome piece on Kristen !

cycle warrior

 

Here is Kristen in Action.

MotoZ