One really can’t judge a book by its cover.
Standing at just 5-feet-tall and weighing 95 pounds, Lancaster, Pa. native Shayna Texter is the all-American, fresh-faced rider leading the pack in American Flat Track, a highly competitive, male-dominated moto-series known as “America’s oldest extreme sport.”
Texter, 26, is eager to compete in the upcoming Williams Grove Half-Mile on Sept. 9 in Mechanicsburg, Pa. on her bike of choice, the No. 52 Honda CRF450R, a 450cc single-cylinder motocross bike in flat track trim. The race will be a high-octane, handlebar-to-handlebar race where riders swerve around a dirt track at speeds of 140 mph and higher on bikes with no front brakes.
That race has a special place in her heart because it's in her home state.
"It has always been a dream of mine to race in Pennsylvania," she told Metro during a recent interview.
"This year a lot of my family and friends who have never been to a race will finally be able to watch me compete in-person. This is also a track I grew up going to and watching my grandfather race sprint cars at. I personally have only competed at Williams Grove one time as an amateur, and it was actually one of my first half-miles,” said Texter.
Texter got involved in American Flat Track racing from the time she was born.
“It is in my blood. My dad raced, my brother races, and both of my grandfathers were involved in racing. My dad actually came straight home from Daytona Bike Week where he competed when I was born. He was a professional Flat Track and Road Racer. My Grandfather also turned the wrenches for many riders before turning the wrenches on my dad's bikes. I grew up going to and watching professional Flat Track races as a fan and I was always turning left in my families Harley-Davidson shop field from the time I was three years old. I didn't actually start competing on Dirt Track ovals until 2003. I watched my brother race for about half of the year and decided the night before a race in Hanover, PA at Trailways Speedway that I wanted to give it a try. I’ve never looked back,” she said.
Just like any other extreme sport, her training schedule is grueling. She rides a few days a week in between races if her schedule allows and works out in between the riding. Her heavy strength training is in the off season and she actively maintains during riding season. She recently added a lot of cardio in between rounds with running, bike riding and a rowing machine. She also has a small gym in the basement of her house and portable equipment for travel.
“I don't think I have to work any harder or any less than the men of the sport do. I live with two men that compete in the full season of American Flat Track, one my brother Cory and the other my boyfriend, Briar Bauman. I know how hard we all work and it is never easy for any of us. We all have had to work hard to get to where we are today in the sport,” she said.
According to Texter, when you’re on the bike, everyone looks at each other as motorcycle racers and she doesn’t get any flack from the men.
“We all respect one another. Flat Track is one big family, we all love and care for one another off of the track. When our helmets are on we compete, but the minute they come off you will see many riders laughing and sharing stories with one another and even traveling and training together,” said Texter.
Currently, there is only one other female rider competing and that is Sandriana Shipman.
“I haven't really competed against her much as this is her first year on the professional circuit. I have however competed against Nichole Mees, who just retired and had a baby. Competing against her or any other female in the sport is no different. When our helmets are on, we are all simply just motorcycle racers that are all trying to win,” she said.