Although having forerunner’s in the sake of athletics can be accompanied with benefits, often times it can be tough for the “next in line” to create their own identity, and showcase a true representation of themselves. Enter Brianna Scheltema, a young woman whose bringing applaud-worthy recognition to the last name, even after her sister was an extraordinary rider on the amateur circuit. Carrying an abundance of skills on the bike, Ms.Scheltema yearns to solidify herself as an elite competitor in her division throughout the following years, and she’s well on her way to doing so. Intrigued by her vantage point, we asked Brianna how her 2017 has been so far, and what she plans to do from this moment forward.
You’ve been riding dirt bikes for quite some time, but didn’t decide to race until later on in your career; why the late start?
When I was younger I had no interest in racing. My Dad bought me a PW50 and I liked riding around the house. At races I enjoyed watching my sister Lindsey race and playing with kids I would meet at the track. Since my sister raced we had to travel all over the country with her. We did this from 2003 - 2010, which was when she decided to finish racing. I missed being at the track and decided to race my first SJO (fair track series) race in 2011. I did few of those till 2013 which was my first year riding on big tracks. I loved it and continued to race outdoors since I loved the bigger and longer tracks.
Did you have any major influences in choosing to race motocross?
My sister and my dad were my biggest influences in racing since they both started riding when I was born. Motocross was all I knew for years, since I was at different tracks every year for as long as I remembered.
What’s been the highlight of your career, up to this point?
The biggest highlight so far would be getting the hole shot in the Woman's class at Mini Os this past year as well as finishing 4th in the Women's 12+ at MC Motopark in Illinois earning my first ticket at a LL Regional.
Do you ever have the urge to compete against the guys?
I have raced with the guys before on Supermini's at local races only. This year I haven't raced anything local other than Loretta's Qualifiers which I only competed in the Woman's 12+. If I ever race local races, I do like competing with the guys because there are normally only 3 to 6 woman that race around home. My main focus this year is practicing and training hard for Loretta Lynn's.
At the beginning of the year, did you feel you could earn a ticket in the Women’s division?
At the first qualifier I attended this year, I was struggling with a wrist/arm injury from last summer. I was just healing from surgery in March, which was very deflating. I didn't have much endurance, couldn't stay consistent, and fell a lot because I had lost a lot of strength. I wasn't as confident as I was last year towards earning a ticket since this was my first year on big bikes.
The regionals are always tough; but you pushed through it, and received a bid to the big dance; how excited were you?
The beginning of the MC regional I was very nervous, I fell every time in practice each day but tried to keep my confidence up and push forward. The first race was a bit stressful for me. I got pushed off the track and had to re-enter in a tough spot, but I made it back on the track and finished without mistakes. The second and third motos went much better. I got the holeshot the final 2 races and finished top 5. When I crossed the finish line during the last race I knew I had qualified and started crying because I was so excited! I finally didn't have a bad moto. Last year at regionals I was first alternate due to one bad moto.
What’s your favorite obstacle, or part of the track at Loretta Lynn’s?
Story Land was my favorite part of the track last year. I enjoyed the jumps and the quick turns. It was always who could come out the fastest of each corner. I liked the challenge of being quick as well as trying out new lines since they changed up a lot through each day and even during the same race.
Where will you be doing your training, prior to heading to the ranch?
I don't go to a training facility but I do train with my Dad at Martin MX Park which is a local practice track 15 minutes from our house. It is one of the roughest and longest tracks in West Michigan and open 3 days a week. Each day we're there I try to do 3 or 4 30-minute practice sessions.
What type of results are you hoping for at Loretta’s this year?
I'm not expecting too much this year because I haven't raced in the Woman's class yet at Loretta's but I am hoping for the top half. It seems really silly but we are just going to see where I mix up with the woman this year. Last year I raced the Girls Sr. class with a broken arm.
For the rest of 2017, and even into 2018, what are your plans? Both on and off the bike; continuing your education? Job?
After Loretta's I will be a senior in High School. I hope to figure out a career path this year. I will either take a year off of school or go to Community College to get basic core classes done. I plan on doing Mini O's in November and ride quite a bit in Florida over the winter. For 2018 I plan to train more for Loretta's again.
What else do you like to do, besides ride your motorcycle?
Other than racing I really enjoy playing softball. I have played for almost 10 years on different softball teams. I also enjoy strength and conditioning classes at school and working out at the gym with my Mom. I love staying active off of the bike to keep strength and endurance up. I also like to keep my grades at A's and B's during the school year.
Any sponsor’s you’d like to thank?
I would like to thank Todd and Aaron at Fox, Dave at Scott Goggles, Jessica Ten Hagen Photography for all of the great pictures she takes, Mobius Knee Braces, Atlas Neck Braces, Dunlop Tires, Decal Works, All of my friends and family that support me, My Mom and Dad, My sister Lindsey, and God for always watching over me and keeping me safe.
DAILY BREAD BY / LOGAN MATTINGLY
IMAGES BY / JESS TEN HAGEN
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