Interview: Shayna Texter-Bauman, The Most Winningest Rider
America's Flat Track Aficionado Sits Down for a Chat about Bikes, Tracks, and Life
Shayna Texter-Bauman. Media sourced from Shayna Texter-Bauman's team.
On July 12th, I had the amazing pleasure of munching words with arguably THE most popular rider in all of dirt track racing.
There I was, phone in hand, prepped to the nines for the interview and all I could think about – apart from the constant white noise of “holy shite” fan-girling – was that Shayna Texter-Bauman and I could not possibly be further apart in our respective worlds; there was so much I didn’t know about what her life was like.
Texter-Bauman had started riding when she was three; I had just started swinging a wobbly leg over mid-pandemic.
As of 2008, Texter-Bauman was slaying the competition across the board, sending the proverbial skittles amok with her talents, and I had just started thinking about signing off for a day or two of local track time on the Q2 weekends.
Yet, despite these contrasts on two wheels, there was one thing that had me itching to start the interview: Her impenetrable mental approach to racing.
Shayna had a laser focus I had previously only seen on the cortisol-soaked stages of my country’s upper-echelon music competitions; her dedication to her life, her career and her goals was undoubtedly the stuff of legend – and when a legend is born, you make a few calls and log the results down for all posterity.
Let’s dive in.
Tell us how you got into the world of riding and competitive racing.
I’ve been riding motorcycles…shoot, my entire life.
I mean, since I was three years old, I’ve been on a motorcycle.
I grew up in a racing family – I’ve actually got racing on both sides of the family.
My dad raced, my grandfather raced, my mom’s dad raced sprint cars.
My family had owned a motorcycle dealership since the fifties, and my brother decided to start racing in 2003, once my dad retired.
About halfway through the year, after watching it, I just kind of got the itch and wanted to try it and never looked back since. I turned pro in 2008.
Now, my brother Corey races alongside me in the AFT tour, I also race alongside my husband Briar and my brother-in-law Bronson…my nephew’s racing now at four years old…four!…so for us it’s a complete family atmosphere at the track.
It’s cool, haha.
As ‘the most winning rider in American Flat Track Singles division,’ what is your work environment like?
When we started out, there wasn’t really a female division in a sense, which is why I started racing against the boys to race..and I’ve been so thankful, in a sense, that the boys have respected me as a competitor and not just as a female, you know? All of it allows me to be a motorcycle racer on the track – just another competitor – and be a female after, off the track, when the helmet comes off.
Overall, I’m pretty lucky I guess; I’ve grown up with a lot of these guys throughout my entire career, and they respect me and I respect them.
It makes for a unique environment in a sense, compared to, say, other environments that are talked about in the auto world.
What keeps you focused in your goals?
I feel like so many of us have started this journey and career path because it was something we all enjoyed doing and had a love of the sport, and have now turned it into a profession.
It’s such a dream job and an opportunity to be a motorcycle racer by trade – and for me, it’s also continuing to pave the path for others – not only for flat track itself, but for females.
I feel like I have a unique platform, and it continues to inspire me, seeing the growth of the sport, the amount of females now becoming interested in riding (whether it’s on the street or on the race track), or continuing to see our fan base grow.
I don’t get to spend a lot of time in my local community, but my husband and I, we just did a test-out at Amateur Nationals, so we got to spend a day with everyone there, which was super cool.
We continue to try to give back to some of the younger kids and also just continue to grow the sport, helping the kids that are just turning pro to make that transition from amateur.
After doing this for so many years, you learn so much you can share – and a lot of these kids, they don’t have the upbringing that I did.
So they’re kind of learning as they go and it’s super cool to be able to give back and help them make steps to becoming a pro motorcycle racer.
All of this helps keep the focus up – and it also matters who is in your corner.
I’m in a great spot, because my husband shares an identical career path and is one of the most consistent guys out there, even every weekend.
For me to have that carrot right in my corner every day is an awesome opportunity for me to continue to make this transition and growth – training throughout the week, riding a ton, staying focused on the task. Laying out the groundwork is so, so important.
My team is also working hard to develop this motorcycle to where, as a team, we can get that opportunity to possibly get podium on my first race. So staying focused for their sake, staying surrounded by people that have confidence in me and can help the bad days turn into good days and the good days turn into victories is amazing for motivation.
How did you initially find the switch from Redbull KTM to Indian?
So I had been with the Red Bull KTM team for three seasons – I was in the singles division, the winningest rider, all that.
We’ve spent so much time on separate teams – over 10 years of our relationship, in fact – so to be put together under the same pit area was a huge factor.
Besides…I’ve always wanted to ride a twin cylinder motorcycle again before my career was over, and the Red Bull KTM team didn’t have a twin underneath their canopy.
So in order for me to make that jump, I had to switch to Indian, aligning everything perfectly for the transition.
(To be clear, I still have a great relationship with the KTM team; I’m still able to ride KTMs for training and continue to help mentor and be there for one of the KTM riders – so it turned out to be an ideal situation.)
Your next goal is to be the first female racer to earn an AFT Super Twins podium. What does a journey like that entail?
It’s not easy, haha.
So right now it’s continuing to get track time. When making the transition to Super Twins, I knew I was going to come in a little bit behind the eight ball – I mean, every weekend the track is filled with at least 10 of the best guys in the sport, against bikes that they’ve all been riding for longer than I have mine.
Also, some rule changes have come into effect to try to balance out the performance side (or so they say), and riding is definitely more difficult now with those rule changes implemented…it requires that much more focus and consistency, making little steps each and every weekend, continuing to pluck away at my times and staying consistent and seeing where that takes me from week to week.
Like I said, these guys are 10, 11 of the best guys in the sport in the world, and I’m definitely going to have to bring my A-game to get that first podium – so I work hard and, again, make sure I lay out the groundwork.
What is your next goal for your career?
Obviously it would be super cool to win one of these races, for sure – would be even bigger than a podium.
But right now it’s setting the realistic goal.
Start with the podium first, and go from there.
We’re certainly not there yet, but we’re getting better.
I’m 31 years old, so not entirely sure yet what the future holds…one day I’d like to have a family and continue to stay involved in the sport…but right now?
I know one thing for sure: Tomorrow I’m still going to be a motorcycle racer.
Given the barrage of ass-kicking on track, what do you like to do in your free time to decompress?
Ooo, good one.
That’s one of the biggest, most important things – to be able to separate yourself when you need to.
Honestly, some people on the track get burnt out so easily because they spend every minute racing…so, yeah, to make a long career last, we have hobbies.
We like golfing, hanging out with friends, campfires and such. Because we travel so much, when we come back home, it’s almost like our house is our vacation spot – away from all the cazy.
We also have a log cabin in Pennsylvania and go there to decompress, enjoy time with family and friends, and keep that side of life lit. It’s a fantastic place in the fall – our favorite time to go – because our season’s starting to slow down and we can also get into deer hunting.
What bikes have you got in the garage right now?
My garage is LOADED…
My husband’s trying to get rid of a lot of it, but I’m basically a hoarder of our career and a lot of our garage represents the bikes we’ve ridden on track in the past.
We have two Indian FTR750s for training for flat track…and then we both have KTM motocross bikes, on top of the 2023 models we will be using.
Aside from that, I actually have my Kawasaki 250 that I won my first amateur national race on and went on to win the AMA female rider of the year on.
I also have my first bike that I won my first race on at Knoxville, a 2009 Honda CRF450…then there’s the Huskies that I won the first Husqvarna race for flat track in 2018 with.
And off in the corner we (my brother and I) have a bunch of Harley Davidsons that were passed on from my father and grandfather.
Like I said…loaded.
Any parting words of wisdom that you can offer for somebody wanting to start riding and/or follow in your footsteps?
Just don’t quit, you know?
When it gets hard, keep pushing.
There’s so many days that it’d be easy to walk away and give up and try something else.
Likewise, there’s so many days where I wanted to quit and I continued to push through…and here I am.
I’m so thankful that I never quit.
Be sure to support Shayna Texter-Bauman on her website as well as the relevant social platforms (Facebook, Instagram) as she takes on her next goal of becoming the first female racer to earn an AFT Super Twins podium; for other stories like this, be sure to keep checking back at our shiny new webpage.
Drop a comment below for Texter-Bauman (and letting us know what you think), and as ever – stay safe on the twisties.
*Media courtesy of Shayna Texter-Bauman and her amazing team, as well as Cycle World*