Inspiring interview with female flat track legend Shana Texter by Kristin Marguerite Doige for GOOD SPORTS.
With a blond ponytail whipping out of her helmet, standing at five feet tall, weighing just 95 pounds, Shayna Texter is the all-American, fresh-faced female rider leading the pack in American Flat Track, a highly competitive, male-dominated motorcycle racing sport.
She’s one of just two professional female riders currently competing in the sport — and she’s thriving. Texter posted five wins in 2017 and finished the American Flat Track Singles championship series in third place. In 2011, she became the first female to win a main event in AFT history with her singles win at Knoxville Raceway and followed up that landmark win with another seven during the next three years. Recently, she trained with Jay Leno.
She is the latest generation from a family of Flat Track racers, and competes alongside her successful brother, Cory Texter, who is also a professional in the series and races in the AFT Twins class. They are one of the few brother-sister duos to compete in the highest level of motorsports.
One of her greatest personal setbacks was the passing of her father in 2010, who was also a professional flat track racer and served as her inspiration to get involved with the sport.
But Texter’s determination is in her blood. A fierce and respected competitor on the race track, she’s a kind, thoughtful soul in her free time — enjoying country music, fishing, and time with family and friends. She’s also a devoted advocate interested in inspiring the next generation of girls. Here’s what she had to say when GOOD caught up with her:
Is being petite an advantage in your sport? Did it affect which sports you played/participated in as a child?
My size never affected which sports I played as a child. Beside motorcycles, my second love growing up was soccer. I played soccer for more than 10 years on a travel team and for my school before calling it quits in 10th grade to focus primarily on flat track. Being petite has its advantages and disadvantages in flat track racing. The tracks with high speeds and a draft, my smaller body allows me tuck more down the straightaway and cut through the wind better. However, the smaller tracks where you really have to muscle the bike around and use your body to get the bike turned is more of a struggle for me. I also struggle a lot more with rear-end grip on slippery racetracks, because I do not have the weight and the body size like some of my competitors do to get my body up over the rear wheel.
How does the sport balance athleticism with safety? How do you view it personally?
The American Flat Track series tries to put safety at the top. At every round, riders have to wear a full leather suit, leather gloves, boots, a DOT-approved helmet, and back protector. The tracks that have walls also have air bag fencing that is deployed in front of the walls in the high impact sections of the racetrack. American Flat Track also has multiple observers to check on the racetrack at all times throughout the day for safety, and we have lights and certain flags to notify us riders while on the track.