Courtesy of Motorcycle-USA.com
In the past year-and-a-half we have witnessed the unprecedented happen not once but twice. It began when Elena Myers became the first female to win an AMA Pro road race with her victory in the Supersport class at Infineon Raceway. This past Saturday, history was made again as we watched Shayna Texter become the first female rider to win an AMA Grand National Dirt Track race when she captured the flag in the Pro Singles Half-Mile at Knoxville, Iowa. The crowd went absolutely wild. We were so excited for Shayna we gave her a call from the opposite side of the country to talk to her about her accomplishment.
Motorcycle USA: TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
Shayna: I’m Shayna Texter from Willow Street, PA. I pretty much live in Amish country. I started racing in 2003 full-time but started riding when I was three years old. I had to wait for my dad to retire from professional road racing. I was the 2003 AMA Female Sports Rider of the Year and I won multiple amateur national championships and Hot Shoes in the 450 Pro Sport Class. Just this past weekend I became the first female to ever win a Grand National dirt track race and the first female to ever be in the victory circle at Knoxville Speedway.
YOU’RE THE FIRST FEMALE TO EVER WIN AN AMA GRAND NATIONAL DIRT TRACK. HOW’S THAT FEEL?
It feels amazing; I’m still smiling from ear to ear. I had to go back and re-watch the video last night by myself at two in the morning and make sure it was actually real. It’s been a dream of mine the last couple years to win a Grand National dirt track race, especially when my dad and grandfather passed away. My motivation has gotten even higher so I just put my head down and got to work and in the end, it paid off and I’m a winner.
YOU RECENTLY LOST YOUR DAD. HOW DID THAT INSPIRE YOU TO GO OUT AND WIN?
You know, August 30th last year was a nightmare for me. It was when my dad passed away. It was almost exactly a year ago and four months after that my grandfather passed away, the two biggest inspirations in my racing career. When he passed away I was actually sitting beside my dad in the hospital room. When he passed, I said “You know what? We’re going racing this weekend. We need to plan to go to Springfield, IL because that’s what my dad would have wanted me to do.” It was my dream, his dream and you know, I just kept rolling. Every weekend, every race my dad is there. I know he is, I can feel it, and this past weekend I just had a special feeling on the way out. I was driving and I looked at my good buddy Chad Cose and I said “Guess what?” When he replied I said, “I’m going to win this weekend!” So, that’s exactly what I set my mind on and well, my dream came true.
RUNNING YOUR OWN PROGRAM, HOW HARD IS IT?
This year my brother and I came together and formed a race team, RLT Racing, in memory of my dad and it’s pretty much been just me and my brother paying the bills and going racing every weekend. Without him I wouldn’t be racing, that’s for sure. The whole flat track community loves me and I love them back even more than words can describe. I can go to anyone, anywhere, anytime and ask for help or advice and they’re there for me. One of the biggest things I’ll never forget is coming around Turn Four in Knoxville after the checkered, the entire expert field standing there congratulating me. Words cannot describe the feeling of how many people I have behind me and how much it means to me.
HOW DOES YOUR SCHEDULE WORK?
Well, first of all, I’m a full-time college student. I’m going to school online through California University of Pennsylvania and when I’m not in school I work on my bikes 24/7. I have an in-shop mechanic that helps me out every now and then but we’re a two rider race team and the Twins take a lot more work than the 450s so I do a lot of work by myself on my bikes, from getting them ready week in and week out, washing them, loading them, unloading them. Even at the track it’s hard for me to find a mechanic because I can’t afford one out of my own pocket and you know, I work on my stuff myself and I find whoever I can to help. Like I said, there are so many people at the dirt track that will help me out anytime or anywhere but it’s basically just me by myself living a dream with my dad and my grandfather looking down on me every second of the way.
WHAT ARE SOME OTHER ACTIVITIES YOU DO BESIDES RACING?
Well, basically racing is my life. Just like any other motorcycle racer, it takes up pretty much 98% of my time and when I’m not racing I’m hanging out with my family. They’re a big part of who I am and my sister is into full time gymnastics and my brother is into full time wrestling, so I’m always there supporting them as much as I can, attending every single one of their events during the off season. That’s who I am. I’m about racing and I’m about family.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON?
Like I said, I go to every race to win and ever since getting third in Sacramento I’ve been really determined, so I’m just entering every race like it’s my last. I’m there to win and I want to get as many points as I can and climb up the ladder as far as I can go by the end of Pomona. Last year I won the “Most Dedicated Rider of the Year” award and I’m trying to live up to those standards and I’m not going to give up, that’s for sure.
CALIFORNIA FOR THE LAST TWO ROUNDS:
California has always been good to me. Last year I was running third at Calistoga until a restart. This year at the Sacramento Mile I got third place so California has been really good for me and I am really excited to get out there. There are a lot of fans on the West Coast that I don’t get to see very often so it’s really exciting.
HAVE YOU EVER THOUGH ABOUT ROADRACING?
Well, I’m supposed to do a track day when I’m out in California. Road racing has always been a dream of mine and I have had the opportunity in the past but my schedule is never really open. My dad was a pro road racer so it’s definitely in my blood and dragging a knee would definitely be a dream come true.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I really couldn’t say right now. Things are really up in the air getting ready for next season to go full blast at it again. I got a couple opportunities so I’m just going to put my options down on paper and go in the direction that is going to help out my direction in the future, which I hope is road racing.
IS THERE ANYONE YOU WOULD LIKE TO THANK?
I would really like to thank all my sponsors. They have been behind me 110%. My friends, my family, and just all the fans of the sport for sure, and last but not least the whole dirt track community. I can’t thank them enough. No one understands how big of a family we are until you’re a part of it. It’s something that can’t be broken.
With three races remaining, there are a few opportunities to see Shayna give it her all on the flat track. She currently sits 11th in the AMA Pro Singles championship point standings.