Shana van der Vlist

Shana is from the Netherlands, riding a bike since she is nearly three years old and is dreaming about a house in America with her own racing track in the backyard. In the upcoming years, she is training for a place in the top 3 of the world championships. We caught her in a quiet moment and have her answer some questions for us.

Wheel Sisters: Shana, thank you for taking the time getting into our questions, may I ask you to introduce yourself?

Shana: My name is Shana van der Vlist and I am 20 years old. I live in the Netherlands and I am a motocross rider. I started riding a bike when I was 2/3 years old. At this moment, I am traveling around the world racing my dirt bike.

Wheel Sisters: What makes an mx rider successful? Is it a lot of training or do you have to have a certain talent for it?

Shana: You need to do everything for it, so you need a lot of perseverance and discipline. It is not always fun. Trainings can definitely make you better and for sure, some people have more potential than others, but you can train your weak points. You can make everything better. Fitness is also important during the motos.

Wheel Sisters: How and when did you get in to racing? Did you have help and encouragement? Did anyone try to talk you down?

Shana: I started riding a bike because of my dad and brother. I was only 2 years old (almost 3) when I made my first laps on a quad. I have the best support from my family and the people around me. In addition, my sponsors are very important, without them it was not possible to race.

Shana rides dirtbikes since she is nearly three years old.

Pic by “Niek Kamper”

Wheel Sisters: How did you get sponsors?

Shana: My parents currently make sure that I get sponsors every year, although when I get older I have to do that myself

Wheel Sisters: What was your first race? How did you feel on the start line? How did it go?

Shana: I cannot remember my first race, because I was so young.

Wheel Sisters: How often are you training?

Shana: I have to practice every day, but it is always different. I ride my bike 3 times a week and the other days I have to cycle or go to the gym. My trainer tells me what to do.

“You need to do everything for it, so you need a lot of perseverance and discipline. It is not always fun”

Wheel Sisters: What are you most proud of?

Shana: I am the most proud of my win in France and Holland this year, during the European championship. Both races I had a 1-1 score.

Wheel Sisters: What was your biggest failure?

Shana: I do not think you can fail, for sure, you can make a mistake but I don’t want to call it a failure. I did crash a few times on maybe stupid time.

Wheel Sisters: What does motorsport give you personally? How does it make you feel? What aspects of it do you love the most?

Shana: It gives me a lot of adrenaline when I ride my bike and I really enjoy it. Sometimes it gives you a great feeling when you ride well and sometimes you need to learn to deal with setbacks. It makes me stronger mentally.

Shana has to practice every day and went to gym.

Pic by “Niek Kamper”

Wheel Sisters: What is your favourite track or route and why?

Shana: When I was young, I really liked the track in Lierop, because it is heavy and has a nice layout. At this moment, I do not really have a favourite track.

Wheel Sisters: Who is your motorsports hero or role model?

Shana: I really like to watch Ken Roczen racing, good speed and style.

Wheel Sisters: Is motorsport your profession or your hobby? If it is a hobby, what is your day job?

Shana: For me it is my passion, I have to do a lot for it, because I want to reach my goals. Besides all my trainings, I also have to work a few mornings in the week. I work in the supermarket and as fitness instructor. After work, I do my practices.

“Sometimes it gives you a great feeling when you ride well and sometimes you need to learn to deal with setbacks.”

Wheel Sisters: What has had the biggest impact on improving your riding skills?

Shana: Practice a lot on my technique, and when I start riding 125cc, my riding style really improved.

Wheel Sisters: If you had unlimited cash, what would you do in motorsport?

Shana: If I had so much money I would buy a house in America with a track in my garden, so I could ride every day and teach little kids.

Shana says girls maybe think it is a sport for boys, but that is definitely not true. “In addition, girls can ride bikes very well!”

Pic by “Niek Kamper”

Wheel Sisters: Although there seem to be more women becoming involved in motorsport, why do you think there are still so few?

Shana: I think girls maybe think it is a sport for boys, but that is definitely not true. In addition, girls can ride bikes very well!

Wheel Sisters: What advice would you give girls or women wanting to get into motorsport?

Shana: Do want your mind says and follow your heart. Do what makes you happy. Do not hesitate to buy a bike and start riding.

“Do want your mind says and follow your heart. Do what makes you happy. Do not hesitate to buy a bike and start riding”

Wheel Sisters: Is it harder as a woman to ride in motocross races? 

Shana: If you ride against boys, it is always harder, because the boys are stronger and they do not want to lose against a girl. However, for me that was good, because that is what made me stronger. I raced against the boys since many years.

Wheel Sisters: Have you experienced any sexism when racing, if so, how do you deal with it? Does it bother you?’

Shana: I never experienced that.

Wheel Sisters: What are your sporting goals in the upcoming months or years?

Shana:  I want to be in the top 3 in the world championship in the upcoming years. I work hard for it and hope to reach my goal.

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