Catching up with Shelby Turner

November 24, 2017

by Dawn McClintock 

Photos by mjsotophotos

2017 has been a stand-out year for Alberta native Shelby Turner who has taken the moto and off-road world by storm. Racking up number one plates in Canadian Women’s Nationals to representing Canada at the annual ISDE in France where she brought home yet another gold medal; to grabbing her second consecutive championship in the Women’s EnduroCross series; not to mention taking podium positions this time around in the men’s EnduroCross classes. A first for the history books for a woman to do so. We catch up with Shelby after a long season of competition where she is back to work and getting plans in place to repeat her schedule next year.

Hey Shelby, congratulations for taking the big win at the EnduroCross series!
Thank you.

How did this year compare to last year? Did you find the competition kind of stepped it up a bit this year?
Yeah, I think so, I mean we had Kacy Martinez and Tarah Gieger. I feel that this year did have some better competition for who was there but we still have a pretty small crowd. Hopefully it builds over the next 3 years.

What did you feel about the course layout? Where there particular rounds that were more difficult than others?
No, this year in general was pretty much the same. I mean the last two rounds were a little tougher. They lacked a lot more flow. But in general this year I thought the tracks, the layouts and everything was awesome. They had some really good tracks. There were some rounds where you could really go out there and race. I say that the tracks were easier but it was still tough out there. You go out there and there’s still all this stuff that you can get stuck in and people to go around. It was really a lot of fun.

You had one round where your bike got backed over with heavy equipment. What the heck happened there?
Well, it was my fault. We were outside and it was cold so everybody just migrated towards the door. I parked my bike up behind the equipment along with 4 other bikes but they were along the side of it. I parked mine behind it because it was full and I parked in that area all day. So did everybody else. We went just down to the stadium for like five minutes and we realized they were calling us to the gate so we walked back out and this person is looking at my bike and my dad was like, “What’cha doing?” and he was like, “I think this bike just got ran over.” I’m like, “By what?” The guy said, “Well that tractor moved and it got ran over”. We were looking at the exhaust and it was pretty bent. So we took the exhaust over and I get on to move my bike and I can’t get the front tire to spin. So at that time we kind of panicked because we were on the gate and it was dark. We couldn’t really see. We didn’t know what had happened so we just kind of ditched my bike. We can’t ride it. We can’t get the front wheel to turn so we ran downstairs and I ran down to the track and Kevin (Dupuis) was actually riding at the time because our race is right after his. So we were waiting and the promoter came over and was like, “What are you doing? You’re supposed to be on the gate.” I said, “Well my bike just got ran over and I can’t ride it.” They said, “Well what are you going to do?” and I said, “Well I’m going to ride this guys’ bike.” and they were like, “Really?”, and I’m like, ” Well, I don’t really have any other option.” So they were like, “Ok, better grab your transponder and good luck!” [laughs] Kevin came in and I said, “Kevin, Kevin, I need your bike.” and he was like, “What?!” I’m like, “Just can I borrow your bike?” He said, “Yah, but I think I’ve bent the roter. I don’t think I have any front brake.” I was like, “Oh great!” So I pulled it around to the gate so we were all lined up and sure enough. He walks over and there’s no front brake. He was like, “We can fix it.” There was a mechanic that had an adjustable wrench so he’s on the line and we’re like straightening the roter. He’s like, “Ok, it’s good to go!”and I’m like alright. [laughs] It was actually a really tough ride. It’s someone else’s bike and it wasn’t set up for me. So it was an effort to make it turn. He never told me that he usually runs it in second gear. So I run it in first and my arms are just dead at the end of it. He was like, “I can’t believe you rode that in first gear the whole time. That thing was very powerful.” [laughs] I was like, “You tell me now.” Anyway, EnduroCross did help me out. They felt bad about the whole incident too so they ended up getting me a pipe and I kind of called it good. It wasn’t that bad. We found out it was just at the very end corner. Once we had time to look at it, it wasn’t that bad at all. It would have been very ridable had we been able to get some time. When it fell over the front brake bent in and then skidded and the little rubber piece actually held onto the front brake and that’s the only reason the front tire wouldn’t spin. I was very lucky and I couldn’t believe it had happened and neither could they.

You made your presence known in the guys’ classes this year. Tell us about that experience.
I’ve raced the guys’ classes in previous years but this year my results were just kind of better when I went into them. I got my first ever third and I didn’t even realize I was in third honestly. I just got a good start and it was doing laps on the track basically and I came around and I was like, “Oh, there’s not very many people off yet.” and I came off and they were like, “You got third!” and I’m like, “Oh that’s awesome!” I’ve been riding the guys’ classes for the last three years now. It’s a lot of fun. I enjoy riding with the guys and I like extra seat time on the track. I mean you drive around the whole country and it’s kind of nice to do more than just the one class.

And to podium in the guy’s class is a pretty big deal!
Yeah, it’s a huge deal. There’s a guy from Canada, Kevin, (the guy whose bike I borrowed), you’ve got A calibre riders from the states that race that class. I was really excited to finally get a podium and one of the guys Josh Greco who got second in the series, I ended up beating him but he’s a supercross pro. So there’s some really big names in there. It’s great to finally get to a level now where I can get to the guys’ class and compete. One of the refs pulled me aside at the end of the evening and said, “I’m betting on you to be first one to make it into the Elite class.” and I’m like, “Oh boy.”

You also had an opportunity to ride with Cody Webb while you were down there.
Yeah, I know the Webb sisters. He’s got two sisters and I got to know them quite well. So they were like, “Come over, come over.” We had that one break where we had back to back weekends so instead of coming home we just went to Cody’s and that was awesome. I rode with him for three days and Kacy Martinez was there who also rode for one of the days. And we just hung out there. It was awesome. They are super nice and it was a lot of fun to get to ride with him.

So how is the support for the Women’s portion of the EnduroCross series?
There is no pay from the promoters for the Women’s EnduroCross series. Nobody sponsors the Women’s class. We don’t get any money every round. People think we do, but we race for nothing. I think that’s why the numbers in the Women’s class is so low. Once they took the money out of it we lost all the people coming to do it. At least before you get some money back and it makes it worth your while but now there’s nothing in there. We get a pat on the back. Hopefully because there is names like me, and Kasy and Geiger in it, hopefully somebody would want to jump on board to sponsor that. I can’t see why no one would, especially when Kasy and Geiger are Red Bull athletes. It’s kind of weird but hopefully they will figure something out. EnduroCross has been a roller coaster since they lost the X-Games and other owners bought it and it just about tanked and the old owner bought it back up again, the original guy, and he’s trying to get it back up on it’s wheels. I think it should be good because they have all that live internet stuff now so you can watch it quite easily.

You’ve racked up your number one plates all year and you’ve just wrapped up this series so what’s next?
The same as last year I guess. My parents winter down in Phoenix so I’ll come down there for a bit. I have to work so I can’t be down there a whole lot. I’ll be back and forth. I want to do some races in February down there. I won’t really be off the bike this winter. I’m actually really excited about it. I’m probably going to go down and do a Destry Abbott school and ride with him. I did one of those actually after the Everett round of EnduroCross, he had an opening and I jumped in with the Wiltons and the next weekend I got third in the guys’ class so it must have helped!

Thanks for taking time to chat with us Shelby and we can’t be more excited about your recent championship win and your successful year you’ve had. Congratulations!
Thanks you. Hopefully more to come.