QUEENS CATCH UP: BRENDA CROOK
After the successful Queens of Dirt event: Rise of the Queens, and in anticipation of the announcement of their next event, We wanted to catch up with a few Queens from around the country to see how their dirt biking story began. First, we had Kirsty Clark from Taupo and following on from her, we have Brenda Crook from Tauranga.
Name: Brenda Crook
Bike: 2019 KTM 150 XC - W
Been riding for how long?
I’ve always ridden a bike and started as a kid, farm bikes mostly, but lately, I have had the addiction now for nearly 2 years, where I ride most weekends.
How did you get into riding dirt bikes? Who encouraged you (if anyone)?
No one encouraged me, it was quite possibly the other way around! As I was the girl that had pictures of dirt bikes on their wall instead of horses, bands and boy idols. Bit odd I guess, but the passion started all the way back then and I had to wait till I was all grown up to buy my own seriously good bike.
What was your first bike and why?
I had a Kawasaki 185 when I was a kid which was run into the bank and crashed a number of times to warrant a fair amount of welding and bending to keep it going and the battery intact. I then progressed to a Yamaha TTR230. It was the first bike I brought as a grown-up for myself, brand new off the shop floor, nice and shiny-shiny! I rode it every weekend on every trail ride I could until I found myself desiring a bike with better performance.
What was the first thing you learned when you started riding?
To look where I am going – where you look is where you are going, so what you look at is what you’re going to hit!
What was the first thing you wish you knew/someone had told you when you started riding?
That you’ll make some great friends and have some of the best times of your life! That dirt bikes are an addiction… That you’re never alone out on the trail - even if you ride alone, someone will always come along and help, check if you’re ok, have a yarn, help you unload your bike, or pick it up out of the mud. The dirt bike riding community is amazing, they are a special bunch of people who genuinely want to see everyone having a good time.
What did you initially find easy about riding dirt bikes?
Riding along the flat .. you can open the throttle and zoom along... that’s the easy bit, right?
What do you still struggle with when out on the trail?
Deep ruts – I have this saying... “ruts are my friends” and so instead of avoiding them, I think if I have a positive mindset that they are my friends, eventually we will be, not just friends, but good buddies! I am nearly there!
What is the best tip/trick/piece of advice you have had over your riding career?
The positioning of weight when cornering. It was a Broxy tip that I am forever grateful for as I’m no longer washing out the front. And to keep two fingers lightly on the clutch and the brake totally gets you out of most situations.
Why are you riding the bike you are on right now, and what do you like most about it?
I’m riding the 2019 KTM 150 XC-W (2-stroke) I am grateful for the advice and encouragement Natasha and Janelle gave me about riding a 2-stroke as I have always ridden a 4-stroke. Since riding this little beauty there’s no looking back, and so while I’m into giving it 100% when I’m out riding, this bike is the bike for me. It’s light and nimble, I love the incredible power when you need it for a flat out thrill, or the low down gearing when you need to get through something deep and muddy. It just eats dirt! The love is real, I am in love with my orange singer!
What would be the one thing you could change about your current bike?
The height. KTMs are tall and I am short-ish. Maybe I need to change my leg length to ‘longer’ and not the bike?
If money was no problem, what is your ideal dream bike?
I’m completely satisfied with my little orange singer and until that day when I want to ride something else, I have no desires for anything other. It’s like a marriage lol - I am committed
Where/who do you get your inspiration/advice/tips/ tricks from right now?
Natasha Cairns – idol and inspiration, for not only her gutsy and enviable skill set, but for her passion for women’s riding. Broxy’s 2-day intensive training camp is the best thing I have done for my riding as I hear his voice in my head, I can check my position, go over what he said and correct myself and as a result, I am a happier rider. I watch Youtube videos for training techniques and watch others ride to see what they are doing, their positioning etc. And then there’s the “how to fix your own bike” vids that are excellent to learn about how your bike engine works, how to maintain your bike and how it all fits together. So if you hear a funny noise, you kinda know where to start looking and change basic stuff, like a clutch or brake pad replacement.
Your bike doesn't start - who do you call?
I have never had this issue these days. Well, another bike I had broke down on a ride one day in Thames and I had to get towed back to the pits. The guys at Penninsula bikes helped me out big time, taking my bike home to their workshop and performing a miracle…forever grateful. So that day, it was them.
What kind of riding do you enjoy doing the most?
Just riding or trail rides – doesn’t matter where or what, I just love riding! My friend tells me that I have got it quite bad as he hears the absolute thrill and excitement in my voice when I am talking about a ride. Reliving every moment just like I’m right back there!
What is one piece of advice that you would give other girls thinking about getting into dirt bikes?
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
And GET A BIKE. Get out there and get riding! Dirt bikes are a lifestyle.