Shelby Turner of Barons, Alberta, made Canada proud at the 88th running of the FIM International Six Days of Enduro in Sardinia, Italy, by bringing home the first gold medal in our country's history for the Women's Trophy Team.
Considered the “Olympics of Motorcycling,” the ISDE attracts the best off-road riders from Australia, Sweden, France, Germany and elsewhere. This year, it was the Australians who were crowned victors of the Women’s Trophy Team, but our Canadian girls weren’t far behind them. Turner and her teammates, Lexi Pechout of Calgary, Alberta, and Félicia Robichaud from Cornwall, Ontario, managed a fourth place overall finish for Canada.
On her own, Turner rode to an impressive sixth place overall. RidersWest got an interview with the 18-year-old superstar two days after the ISDE to see what really happened and what she has planned for the rest of the year.
How are you feeling right now? Good. It was hard and I’m just glad to do as good as I did. Going there, I just wanted to finish so it was really impressive to be that competitive with the top seven girls. I got recognized because all the girls that finished ahead of me and some of the girls that finished behind me had raced the European enduro national and they were all big factory names and stuff. Just that a Canadian girl comes in and is equally as fast was good.
Was it your first time racing out of country? No, I’ve raced in the States quite a bit but it was my first time racing overseas.
What was it like in Italy? It was rocky. Their hills aren’t quite like B.C. mountains but there was some change in terrain and lots of road riding. We started on a dock because we were right on the island of Sardinia and then we’d go out and ride through the middle of Olbia town and go to a special test and then we’d ride some single-track and then pop back out onto a road. It was cool. I’ve never done that. It was cool being on Team Canada because the people I have always raced against were now the people I hoped for the most.
What was your toughest battle? Riding for six days. In six days, I did something like 1,300 kilometres and 36 hours on my motorcycle. We’d start around 9 a.m.—it would change every day—and then we’d be done by around five or six. There would be time controls so you would have to do a section of transfer trail. That was the hardest part, staying on time during the transfer trails because it’s not the tests that were hard, it’s what they put you through getting to the tests.
You must have been exhausted by the end of the day. Yeah, by the end of the day, you don’t even want to look at your motorcycle.
You said your goal was simply to finish? Going into the event, I never knew if I ever wanted to do an ISDE and they kind of roped me into it so I just wanted to go there for the experience, finish and ride in Italy. And then you start looking at the days and see you’re really close. I was seventh, I think, so the top 10 of us were really close so then you start going harder. In the tests, at the end of the day, they tell you who is the fastest and I had a second fastest in one test and a third fastest in another so my times were right up there with the leaders. I just got some penalties for not being experienced in the ISDE.
When did you realize you had a shot at not only finishing but getting a gold as well? You can be in gold medal times and then your bike breaks down and then you’re done. I tried not to think about it. The first day, I went out and rode 50 to 60 per cent all day long and then the second day, I would ride 50 to 60 per cent and then I would wick it up in the tests and ride 80 per cent in the tests. We’d do one test twice a day and we did it two days in a row. So the tests were getting so pounded out and hard from 900 riders riding over them that then it was just a matter of finding the best line and not crashing. As the week dragged on, I got better and better because the tracks got worse and worse.
Were there any epic crashes? Not really. Lots of girls came home with scrapes and bruises but I crashed maybe two to five times a day and as for epic crashes, I didn’t have any. I mean, I had one where I yard-sailed pretty bad but I got back on the bike.
So what’s next for you? We’re finishing off the American endurocross series. Tomorrow we leave for Denver, Colorado. Next weekend is off and then the weekend after that, we’re back in the States. It bounces around and then it’s all said and done by November. And then I’ll be done until May.
What keeps you busy in the off-season? School did previous to this year but I graduated. It was curling and I played basketball.
So what are your plans? I’m going in for my EMR so I’ll be doing that this winter.
What’s playing on your iPod right now? Katy Perry.
Sweet, thanks for catching up with RidersWest, Shelby! Any shout-outs or thank-yous? I would like to thank Lethbridge KTM, KTM Canada, Fox/RMR Racing Suspension, Fly gear, Dragon goggles, GoldenTyre, my parents and all the support for me going to Italy and everybody that helped me out.
For more information on Team Canada at the ISDE, see the website.