In honor of launching a weekly Woman Crush Wednesday series on social media, BGR is sharing a throwback interview from a past cover girl and our 1st BGR Live participant, Mikayla Moore. Mikayla is now 16 years old but read our interview featured in Black gurls Ride Magazine just last year.
Please introduce yourself. (You may want to talk about your job, school, hobbies, life goals etc. if you wish.)
My name is Mikayla Renae Moore and I am 15 years old. I am homeschooled and currently in the 9th grade. My passion is racing and riding motorcycles. I first learned how to ride a dirt bike in 2010 when I was 6 years old. I entered my first race when I was 7 years old at Sandy Hook Speedway. My favorite hobbies are cooking, doing hair, and riding my dirt bike. My life goals are to be a R.A.C.E.R. I want to Represent the motorcycle industry well & be Reverent in this sport of motorcycle racing that I love so much. Achieve my goals. Conquer my fears & Chase my dreams. Be an Example and show that with hard work, dedication, and determination, anything is possible. Most importantly, I want to be a Role Model for females everywhere. I was taught that nothing in life is given but earned and whatever it is you want to be and have, you have to RACE for it.
Describe your path to how you got to where you are with motorcycling today. (You may start with your first memory/encounter, your first bike, any challenges you faced when learning to ride, what other bikes and rides you experienced if applicable, how you ended up where you are now and what you ride now.)
When I was 6 years old, my family and I were riding dirt bikes and four-wheelers at the family farm. I rode my brother’s four-wheeler, flipped it, and didn’t want to ride it anymore. So my dad asked if I was done for the day and I said no. He asked me if I wanted to ride the dirt bike, which was a Yamaha TTR-50, and I said yes. Once he showed me how to ride it, I knew I was meant to be on a bike. I had so much fun that I didn’t want to get off. In 2014, I attended a 3-day camp with New Jersey MiniGP (NJ MiniGP) to hone my riding skills, which helped me a lot. They used some of the drills my dad used to train me and my brother and he ended up becoming a coach for them. From there we raced with other organizations such as Sandy Hook Mini Moto, the Herrin Compound, and NJ MiniGP. When I was 12 years old, I was invited to attend a track day with Evolve GT at New York Safety Track where I rode a Kawasaki Ninja 250R for the first time. That’s when things really started to take off. Since riding with them, I have ridden a Yamaha R6, a really nice Kawasaki KFX450 Supermoto, a Suzuki GSXR-600 and my dad even let me ride his Yamaha R1 in Intermediate group at a track day. I now ride and race a Kawasaki Ninja 300 with MotoGladiator where I was able to secure a second-place championship alongside my brother who placed first in Superstock, Superbike, and Supersport 300 class. I was able to achieve my goal of finishing the top three for the 2018 season. My 2017 season was my first season racing the big bikes and I was able to use that year as a learning season to achieve my goals for 2018. I learned a lot from both seasons.
How did you begin your racing career so young? What fuels your passion? Who inspires you in the sport?
I began racing at 7 years old when my dad first introduced me to mini moto racing at Sandy Hook Speedway in 2011. It was my first time racing that year. The following year they started a race series where I won my first championship. From there, I continued racing with other organizations that I did very well.
The one thing that fuels my passion is knowing that I am going to make history one day. My dad tells me to believe in the impossible and the possible will make room.
I was first inspired by Elena Myers when she made history in 2010 as the first female to win an AMA Pro Racing sprint road race. My dad gave me a magazine with Elena Myers in it with my picture next to it. I read it and he told me I could end up in a magazine just like her one day. He was right because two years later I was featured in the January 2014 issue of Roadracing World magazine in the kids’ section. SJ Harris also inspired me in the sport of racing because she was an African-American female, like myself, and I didn’t know what it would look like to be a black girl that was a professional road racer until I met her. Even though she didn’t get to finish her journey, she inspired me to want to finish the pursuit of making history and represent her legacy for young girls and women all around.
What is your vision for your future in motorcycling, say ten years from now?
My vision for the future of motorcycling in ten years would be that more people will be riding. There isn’t anything else like it. You see so much representation of all kinds on YouTube. More and more people are gravitating to this lifestyle. I think if the motorcycle enthusiasts that are riding now represent the industry well, they will inspire others and motivate them to want to be a part of it, and then more people will consider being a part of the motorcycle community. If people keep getting hurt, losing their lives and having bad experiences, or even causing chaos, then people are not going to consider riding a motorcycle or owning one; even though there isn’t anything else like riding a motorcycle or owning one. The future of motorcycling depends on us riders and racers!
What has been your best experience while riding?
My best experience while riding was being able to compete with other very good racers; mostly guys that were older than me, and racing against some of them was fun, especially when they thought they were going to beat me and didn’t. Some of the riders I competed with are racing professionally now to include Brandon Paasch, who was selected to compete at HEL Performance British Motostar Championship on a Moto3, Tyler Scott, who was recently selected to join the 2019 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and Gus Rodio, who will be competing in the 2019 MotoAmerica Liqui Moly Junior Cup. The opportunity to compete with them during that time, do well, and now seeing where they are today, lets me know it’s possible for me too. Meeting professional racers like Josh Herrin, Elena Myers, Melissa Paris, and other racers up close and personal during MotoAmerica’s pit walk for the fans are very memorable experiences. They’re like regular people, but really happy. You could tell they loved what they do. I would love to experience that feeling, meeting fans, and signing autographs, that would be awesome.
And the worst? (Or not so good?)
My worst experience while riding was in September 2016. Due to a highside crash and not wearing my protective Hit-Air Vest, and I broke my collarbone. The vest was designed to instantly inflate in the event of a crash. I was riding and the rear tire on the bike was sliding around from me pushing it too hard and I just kept riding as hard as I could so I could stay out front of some really fast riders and win the race. At the last turn before the straightaway, my rear tire started sliding a lot and I stayed on the gas hoping it would straighten up like before. Next thing I knew I was laying down on the front straightaway with pain coming from my left shoulder. Luckily, I didn’t have to get surgery, I just had to let it heal on its own, and I was back to riding after 8 weeks of recovery.
Can you relate a good story from your motorcycling experiences?
A good story from my motorcycling experience was when I met Jamie Astudillo at the MotoAmerica fan walk in 2017. I didn’t really know who she was except that she was the only female in the series. She was a motocross racer who crossed over to road racing. A year later, I met up with her again at an Evolve GT track day and we actually got a chance to hang out for the weekend. She even gave me some pointers and rode with me on the track. I followed her during the season and watched all her races. When she became the first female to the podium in MotoAmerica Liqui Moly Junior Cup I was so excited for her that it almost felt like I was there with her, even though I wasn’t. She is an amazing, talented rider and a very humble person. I can see myself racing with her one day.
If you could change anything about the world of motorcycling today, what would it be?
If I could change anything about the world of motorcycles today, it would be to introduce motorcycle riding and racing to kids in school so they can learn about all the great things it has to offer. Even though people say they are dangerous, it doesn’t have to be if you approach it respectfully. If my dad wasn’t a motorcycle rider, and mom didn’t take up riding, I wouldn’t have realized how much fun it is or have met a lot of really cool people. Plus, you have to be responsible, have a positive attitude, be confident and be a good example in order to really enjoy this kind of lifestyle and I think kids can really benefit from learning that at an early age.
Do you have any advice for people who want to get into motorcycling?
The advice I would like to give to people is the same advice my dad gives to people at his shop when they have questions about wanting to ride. He tells them that riding and racing a motorcycle is a privilege and not to be taken for granted. It’s not for everybody. A motorcycle will either make your life or take your life, so take it seriously or it will seriously take you. At first, I really didn’t understand what that meant exactly, but over time and different experiences of my own and through experiences of other riders, I realized what he was saying. The other important thing is to surround yourself around positive people that want to support you and make sure you have what you need to keep going. I experienced this by seeing how the motorcycle clubs are with one another and how they treat each other like family. They will help your journey to be more gratifying and will make you enjoy being a part of this great community. There are so many people who have helped get me to where I am today to include: my parents, brother, Nana, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, cousins, 301 Dipz, Apex Pro Photography, Artistic Creations, Black Girls Ride, Custom Performance, Custom Works, Evolve GT Track Days, KNMoore Photography, Moto-D Racing, MotoGirl GT, MotoGladiator Racing, N2 Track Days, NJ MiniGP, Noiseless Productions, O’Mens MC, Red Line Ravens, Rodio Racing, SportBike Inc, Stump Racing, Throttle Life, Trackside Parts Club, Trackside Tires and Willpower Motorcycle Service Center.
If you could go on a ride with any of your motorcycling heroes – living or dead – who would they be?
If I could go on a ride with any of my motorcycling heroes – living or dead – it would be with SJ Harris. I first met SJ at a MiniGP event and was able to help her with some drills on a dirt bike and she watched me race. The cool thing was that when I first started riding on the big track, SJ was attending the same event that weekend and she ended up helping me around the track the same way I helped her. I thought that was cool because she was always willing to help and offer advice. We had a great time on the track and I learned a lot. She helped me gain my confidence since it was my first time on a bigger track on a faster bike. She was really fast out there and all I kept saying to myself was that I’m going to be fast just like that. It was so cool.
If you could teleport to any other place and time in history and ride your bike, where and when would that be?
If I could teleport to any other place and time in history, I would ride at the Daytona 200, which is an annual motorcycle road racing competition held in early spring at the Daytona International Speedway located in Daytona Beach, Florida. I would ride a Suzuki GSXR-600 because that is my favorite bike to ride. My pit crew would consist of my brother Will Jr., who would hold my umbrella and track my lap times, my dad would be my crew chief/mechanic and my mom would be my photographer. It would be an amazing experience.
What’s your dream bike? If you could design your dream motorcycle, what would it look, sound, and feel like?
My dream bike is a Suzuki GSXR-600. If I could design my dream motorcycle, it would have a colorshift paint scheme with neon pink rims. It will have a loud pipe and would be the only one that looks like it. It would feel like a rocket ship taking off.
What is your favorite Sunday ride to do when you’re back home?
My favorite Sunday ride to do when I’m back home is trail riding with my family. I like trail riding because it helps with my training and also helps me prepare for racing. The thing that makes it really fun is when my brother and I play cat and mouse. He’s the cat and I’m the mouse trying to stay out in front. My dad plays the cat sometimes then we’re both mice trying to get away. If he’s not chasing us around he’s taking our lap times. My dog also gets good work as well since he likes chasing us.
What was the last great book you read?
The last great book I read was “Being Called to Change” by Dale Halaway. I like this book because it talks about transformational change. My dad says life changes, people change, circumstances change, and I really didn’t know how to think about that exactly. He gave it to me to read and said it will make sense when I’m older, It really helped me see things differently. I like being different and this book was different from anything else I ever read, but I enjoyed it.
Any good music you have discovered of late?
Good music that I have discovered lately consists of instrumental beats on YouTube. When I’m doing my school work, I like listening to different inspirational type beats. I just search for inspirational study music and pick the best one that gets me going. When I’m working out, I listen to Trap Music. Any other time I just listen to whatever is on the radio but really when I’m in the car.
The last great meal/food/cuisine you had?
The last great meal I had was Salmon, rice, and broccoli. It is the family’s favorite dish and my mom makes it perfect every time. I love how she cooks it in the steamer.
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave?
The legacy I hope to leave is to inspire young female racers to believe they can do anything and have the confidence to beat the guys. Even though racing is a male-dominated sport, females can do it just as well and be just as good.
Any thoughts about Black Girls Ride Magazine?
Congratulations on celebrating 8 years. I am thankful for the opportunity to be featured in Black Girls Ride magazine. The editors do a really good job and make women of color in motorsports feel like they matter in this sport and industry. We’re not just skilled at doing hair, playing tennis, running track, acting, singing, or dancing; we can also ride. It’s a blessing and feels good to be a part of a positive venue that has created an opportunity to represent, especially one that is representing black female riders in a positive light. My dad says black women are not always depicted in a positive light in some mainstream venues, so when given a platform to represent, make sure to represent myself well. Thank you Ms. Porsche Taylor for your support and for selecting me as the 2019 Sports Ride of the Year Award honoree that will be presented at the 6th Annual Beautiful Bikers Conference & Awards in Las Vegas this month.