Motoette -in forward motion

My first in person interview~ a life altering experience

#21 Elena Myers at T2 at Infineon

As always in working with Moto Race Reports for these past 6 to 8 months, I tend to get a little over zealous about taking my assignments into my own hands. Approaching, arranging and finally interviewing the professional women racers that have impressed me the most when it comes to being icons, representing women in professional racing. 

My interviews have been primarily over the phone and via email, and that has worked fine given time lines and schedule restrictions, up until this past weekend. I had done my usual “take the bull by the horns” approach in contacting the next female racer on my list, Elena Myers through one of her Websites, requesting an over the phone interview. I received an almost immediate response from her media coordinator, David Swarts, telling me Elena would be more than happy to accommodate my request.  We were in the midst of scheduling the interview when I realized she was to be racing in the Young Guns Supersport division at the West Coast Moto Jam at Infineon Raceway this last weekend. Literally 20 minutes from my house! I got back on the computer and sent out another email to David, suggesting that if Elena had a few minutes to spare, we could do a quick interview at the track. 

With another quick response,  he obliged, agreeing  it was a better idea. In the span of  less than an hour, I went from a phone interview to my first in person interview by my own doing! I didn’t know if it was excitement or pure panic that was getting my adrenaline going! Now I had to be poised and know my stuff,  in the attempt to not make an ass of myself and Moto Race Reports! 

I was to call David at 7:30am, the Saturday morning of the race for further instructions on when and where to meet with Elena. I did so at 7:31am, as not to look too anxious!  David was giving me all these options on when I would like to interview Elena, this was confusing the hell out of me. How would I know? I was as green as the spring induced hills outside my window and desperately trying to conceal my inexperience. Finally, I just leveled with him and told him to give me a time and place that was convenient for Elena, and I would be there. 

He  decided that 9 am was the best time, right after her qualifying lap times, which I roughly knew about from receiving all the press releases through Moto Race Reports. 

Mark and me at the Wine Country Winner's Circle

 Before my bright idea to interview Elena in person, I had invited my long time friend’s husband, Mark to join me to Infineon. He was a fairly new rider, preferring his Harley to a sport bike and was a huge fan of Nascar! He had no clue about professional motorcycle racing and was kind of curious about it when I was talking to him about it, after running into him at our local gym a few weeks back.  I extended an invitation to him at that point, but never really thought much about it after. 

He called me the day before I was to go to the race track telling me he wanted to go with me to Infineon. With my interview in place and frozen in fear, I told him to meet me at my house at 7:45am and informed him that he would be assisting me in my interview with a 16-year-old professional AMA racer…and she was a girl! I don’t think this tidbit of information really sunk in with Mark until we actually met Elena. Because later, after  the interview, he just kept going on about how young she was! Elena was a year older than Mark’s own daughter. 

 Mark and I rode on down to Infineon Raceway, our 20 minute ride, he on his Harley Davidson Softtail and me on my BMW , cruising down the highway. We parked the bikes and went out in search of Elena’s van to get an idea of where it was. It was after 8am at this point, and the bikes should have been on the track doing their qualifying laps, but the track was desolate. This concerned me, I was now getting the feeling the 9am set interview time was not going to happen. I soon received a phone call from David Swarts, confirming my suspicions in the delay and he suggested I come back at 10am, after Elena rode her qualifying laps. I replied, saying, no problem. 

This gave Mark and me a chance to see her in action for the first time. She was very impressive and Mark couldn’t get over how fast the racers were, comparing it to the numerous Nascar races he had attended at Infineon, so many times before. He found it very different and more extreme in intensity. Because of the change-up in the scheduling of my interview, it brought to my attention the two days I had spent creating questions for Elena was not going to work. I had to go with what was going on today, right here, right now. Reluctantly, I threw my cue card of questions in the bin, they were now useless to me. I was in full-blown panic mode, I had no idea what I was going to ask Elena in the next 15 minutes! My first in person interview was to be impromptu! 

We sat in the grandstands until the time came once again to meet with Elena. We found her M4 Monster Energy Suzuki van once again, catching a glimpse of her as we walked up. I thought to myself, “oh great, there she is” but what seemed like an easy find, turned out to be a full-out hunt for a good 10 minutes. She had vanished! I asked a woman worker passing by, and she located Elena for us. Elena came out of the van to greet us, a pretty, petite, long-haired blond, that looked barely 16, if not younger. I introduced myself and Mark, and we decided to go into the van, where it was  little more quiet, to conduct the interview. 

Immediately I noticed Elena had a reserved and demure way about her, but still maintaining an undeniable level of confidence at such a young age. She was articulate and versed in her responses and it was evident to me, she was not affected by her rare talent and growing popularity. Her calm and unassuming presence relaxed my frayed nerves, allowing me to flow right into my interview. I don’t know how exactly,  but I eased into my procession of questions seamlessly, going from one question to another in our less than 7 minute interview, without missing a beat. I was truly amazed with myself! 

After thanking Elena for her time, we left her to prepare for her first race of the weekend. After lunch, Mark and I headed up to turn 2, up towards the top of the road race track. The location had a great, up close view of the track and an over view of the last portion of the circuit below. In her bright yellow leathers and Suzuki GSX-R to match, we watched Elena consistently and flawlessly lap the 2.52 miles of undulating tarmac, in what was to be an 18 lap race. With less than half the race completed and 2 red flags, Elena went for the finish line after her main contender, Joey Pascarella, lost control of his Ducati at turn 10. Making Elena the first female in history to win a AMA Pro Road Race! 

Overview from Turn 2 at Infineon Raceway

So, not only did I get the opportunity to speak with Elena Myers before her first race at Infineon, but also, to be able to witness her victorious first win and making history while doing it! I love it when a plan comes together! 

I ran into Mark at the gym today, both of us, like two little kids, excitedly reminiscing about our day together and what fun we had. It’s funny, I had not thought of it before, but I have known Mark for over 20 years and never spent more than 10 minutes talking to him at any one time. Spending the day, getting to know an old friend was just icing on the cake to a great day! 

Cindi~

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May 19, 2010 - Posted by | American Motorcycle Association, BMW motorcycles, Elena Myers, Harley Davidson, Infineon Raceway, Moto Race Reports, Moto2, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, motorcycles, supersport, Suzuki GSX-R 600, Suzuki GSXR, Uncategorized, West Coast Moto Jam

5 Comments »

  1. Great stuff (as always), my friend.

    Love seeing you go further into the interviews and connecting with the racers.

    Comment by Rob | May 19, 2010 | Reply

    • Awwwe, thank you Rob, I would love to fulfill your request! 🙂

      Comment by motoette | May 19, 2010 | Reply

  2. Darn it… I was there, too, and missed meeting you. I witnessed Elena’s historic win, though. Wow.

    Comment by brammofan | May 19, 2010 | Reply

    • Hey, I’m sorry I missed you at Infineon. I will be at Miller in a week and Laguna Seca in July. Any chance you’ll be around there too?

      Comment by motoette | May 19, 2010 | Reply

      • Hmmm, probably not. No biggie… I hope our paths cross again soon, and that one or both of us is aware of it. Keep up the good writing!.

        Comment by brammofan | May 19, 2010


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