An interview with Shelina Moreda Cont: Breaking the Glass Ceiling in a Men’s sport

Wayne: You are really breaking the glass ceiling in a male dominated sport, can you tell me about your firsts as a female in motorcycle racing?  Do the male racers give you a hard time?

Shelina: I’m out there to be a racer, and the guys know and respect that. I’m not there to prove anything for the girls and I’m not getting any special concessions as a female on the racetrack. The guys give me at least as hard a time as they give the other guy racers, and I expect nothing less. Nobody likes to get beat by a girl (not even me), so sometimes I do hear some trash talk when I’m faster than a guy, but that’s almost like a compliment anyway, it means I did well. Mostly the guys are super supportive. They want to see me beating the other guys.

It was pretty awesome making history at Indy as the first female to ever race a motorcycle there, and being on TV and the radio for it. I was also the first female to race an electric bike on the international level, the first female to race in the FIM e-Power series, and the first female to race in the AMA Pro Harley Davidson Vance & Hines Series.

Wayne: A first for Harley – I understand those bikes are much bigger and harder to handle – how was that experience?

Shelina: Heck yeah, they are big bikes (510 lbs) and I’m a little girl! But Man are they fun!! I grew up riding horses and the ones that buck are always the best challenge 🙂  The XR1200 is a ton of fun and a really awesome sounding bike. I wanted to race it for about a year while I was still racing AMA Pro Supersport on the 600s. It’s a completely different bike to the Yamaha R6 that I’m used to, and a lot of fun too.

Wayne: Racing is more than just a racer and involves a huge support system with sponsors, mechanics, etc… What does you support team look like?

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

Shelina: Racing involves huge support systems for sure. Sponsors are the biggest part of our racing and we couldn’t do it without them. We are constantly looking to partner with companies who want to get involved in the racing world and the marketing avenues it has to offer, and it’s more work than I ever thought before I started racing. I have a different support crew for each of the series I race in, with some overlaps. I race the Harleys, electric bikes, Yamaha 600s, Supermoto, and Flat Track. I have mechanics, engineers, PR professionals, an event manager, graphics designer and teammates, plus my family.

This season I’m very lucky to have support in the AMA Pro H-D Vance & Hines series from, a really professional, yet down to earth team in the AMA paddock. Paul Diener and “Elvis” Johns are irreplaceable for me in this series.
For the Electric bikes I race with Team Parker Brammo. We have an entire crew of engineers and my job as their racer is to push the bikes to the limits and help them figure out how to make the bikes better. We are constantly improving them and it’s awesome to be a part of the newest vehicle technology.

In Qatar I race for QMMF Racing Team and my mechanic Agus Isaac, from Spain, is my right hand man. Traveling to Qatar also requires other logistical support and QMMF racing team has a crew for that.

In flat track and supermoto I’m privateer status and have several sponsors who help me out there. GP Fabrication maintains my bikes, BMC Racing brings me on their team when I’m on the East Coast, local guy Jimmy McAllister furnishes me with a bike when I’m on the West Coast.

Wayne: At high rates of speed everyone always think of the danger of crashing.  Can you tell us about that?

Shelina: People always ask me about crashing and I do crash. Not something we try to do, but it happens and it’s part of racing and I learn from it every single time. I had a pretty hard crash last race in Qatar, I crashed at over 100 mph and it would have been just a lowside slide, but something caught and flipped me through the air and I tumbled an tumbled, but was able to get right up and walk away unscathed because of the awesome gear we wear. I have a great Arai helmet and top of the line AXO leathers, I have armor in my boots, leathers and gloves, and a custom back protector by Impact Safe-T armor. Its so important to have the right gear and to wear it, it’s the only reason I can learn so much from crashes and walk away from them confidently.

Wayne: Is there a way for people in Petaluma to follow you career on social media?

Shelina: I’m on Facebook a lot, I love interacting with people and race fans, and Facebook is a great way for me to do that. I’m becoming more active on Twitter @Shelina93 and now Instagram too as ShelinaMoreda. Instagram is great because I have way more photos than I want to post on Facebook so I can put them there.

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