Ashleigh Trapanese; Setting Her Sights High
As children we all love receiving our favorite toys for our birthday and Christmas, no matter the age. But for Ashleigh, at the age of 5, her father proudly gave her a dirt bike for Christmas. You are probably asking, what was he thinking? Well, Ashleigh’s dad knew exactly what he was doing. Being a pleasure rider himself, he wanted to share his love for riding with his daughter.
Ashleigh took to riding like one would take to breathing; it was just natural. With the wind in her face and her hair blowing in the breeze she traveled the trails along the mountains near Spanish Springs, just east of the Reno/Sparks area of Nevada – she was in heaven! The passion for riding grew every time she rode and this added to wanting more. Her mother wasn’t exactly thrilled with this newly acquired passion the way her father was, but she did not want to discourage her. So she allowed it to continue.
Then in 2008, Ashleigh was a bit older and knew that her mother was still concerned about her daughter as a dirt bike rider so she decided to stop. This was a short lived decision. In 2013, Ashleigh was now a little older and still had the love for dirt bike riding so her mother gave the green light for her to purchase another dirt bike because she was now more comfortable with the thought of her daughter riding them.
It was then Ashleigh and her father set out to locate a new bike and once again she was riding as if she never stopped. Riding for pleasure was no longer enough for Ashleigh, so she began to teach herself to race motocross. Now in High School, many of her male classmates observed Ashleigh while out riding. They mentioned to her that she might think about racing. Since Ashleigh was looking for something more while riding, this seemed to be just the right choice. Having a very close knit family, Ashleigh knew this was not a decision that she could make without consulting her parents.
After presenting this desire for a new adventure, her mother and father both gave their strong support for her to follow the dream. It was then the entire family packed up the dirt bike and, not knowing exactly all that would be needed, they headed to the Fernley Motocross track and signed Ashleigh up for her first race. Ashleigh took to racing like a duck to water and her mother also began to meet other parents whose children were entered in the race and new friendships formed with others who shared the same passion.
Ashleigh’s first race may not have been her best performance, but more like a practice session, but that would soon change. Now having an understanding of what she would be up against, Ashleigh would spend her afternoons practicing for upcoming races to be the best in her class, after completing her studies, of course.
Ashleigh set her sights high and it did not take long for her to move from the back of the race pack to end up taking not only third, but second and first place, then best overall in the women’s class; all of this in a very short time.
As if this wasn’t enough, in 2015 she began to race in the men’s classes as well as the women’s. Who would have guessed that on her first race in the men’s class, Ashleigh would take first place and best overall!
Ashleigh’s parents could not be prouder of their daughter and by allowing her to follow her dream, she rose to the top. This was all possible because her father shared his passion with her and her mother shared her dream.
As the racing adrenaline grew, Ashleigh began following Super Motocross Racer Vicki Golden, who has become her idol.
I asked Ashleigh what her girlfriends thought of her accomplishments in Motoross racing and her response to me was, “I have very few female friends, most of my friends are males.” Ashleigh does have an older brother, who rides from time to time, but he is enrolled in college and riding dirt bikes is not his passion.
Finding a relationship while involved in a masculine field can sometimes be tough, especially when the guys look at you as their competition. Even though women are becoming more accepted into most fields, this is still an area where males are offended when a woman wants to compete in their class. Ashleigh explained a situation where one of the riders came up to her after her win in the men’s class and told her, there is no place for girls in this class. Was he mad because she was a woman or because she beat him?
If it is the latter, I find that odd, since they also have the option to compete in the women’s class. But I have a feeling that might not be a choice they would pick, after all, who wants to be laughed at by their friends?
Ashleigh has found a mate who she met, in fact, at one of the races over 10 months ago. Her boyfriend Sean Botelho, who also races, respects and cares for, not only who she is, but what she is. There needs to be more men like Sean.
So who cares for the dirt bike’s mechanical needs before and during a race? Well, Ashleigh’s father has that covered; he does most of the major repairs, but has a helper and student, his daughter, who is learning to master that area as well. This young woman can only excel at anything she sets her sights on, so if you want to follow Ashleigh, check out www.nvracingnews.com for more. Check out Ashleigh’s video below. And click here to listen to Ashleigh’s story on Teresa’s Garage Radio Show. Choose show date 04/11/15.