Wayne: Did you grow up in Petaluma? What do you like best about Petaluma?
Shelina: I was born and raised in Petaluma on the West Side on a Dairy farm. I love everything about Petaluma and the more I travel the more I realize that. It’s beautiful and has a small town feel, even still, and the old Petaluma families are all pretty tight-knit. I couldn’t do anything wrong growing up or the Dolcinis, the Cordas or the Chedas would go tell on me. I love that we are close enough to the city that I got to learn both worlds, country and city, but got all the values that growing up in a farm-town has to offer. I loved showing at the fairs and having a really short drive to the beach. I also love the community feel that Petaluma has.
Wayne: How did you get into it motorcycle racing?
Shelina: I blame it on my parents for telling me that I could do anything in life that I want to do…. I took them seriously and went for it. They taught me to work hard, and it’s a good thing because racing is way more work than I ever thought it would be. We always rode motorcycles on the ranch, Dad put us to work bringing the cows in with them, and he just didn’t have any idea what he was starting. I got a dirt bike when I was 12 and we watched AMA road racing out at Sears Point. I had all the Pro riders posters on my wall and just decided that’s where I wanted to be. I snuck home with a street bike when I was 17, started riding on the back roads and up Highway 1 and one day decided to go seriously chase my dreams. I went pro only a year and a half after that day.
Wayne: Where did you graduate from High School? What was your favorite subject and teacher?
Shelina: That’s a tough one… I graduated from Petaluma High and I think I’d have to say that in high school, my favorite teacher was probably Mr. King, my welding teacher. He was so strict, but such a good teacher. He expected a lot of us, and he saw a fire in me. He pushed me to compete, brought me to welding competitions and even helped get me my first welding job at Martin Ranch Supply in Rohnert Park. I ended up becoming a certified welder while I was in college. Not only did Mr. King give me a skillset that I used in “real life” but he also taught me to push my limits, expect more, and to be the best at what I did. He didn’t accept less, and I admire that.
Wayne: When did you start racing?
Shelina: I only started racing 5 1/2 years ago. I’m still relatively new actually. I never rode at the track before I raced or anything.
Wayne: Who is your inspiration for the sport?
Shelina: For one, my Dad, if he wasn’t a dairyman he’d be a pro flat track racer. He’s so fast. I love riding with him too, we love spending that time together. Also all the guys I used to watch on TV and have on my wall… the Bostrom Brothers (from Petaluma), Aaron Yates, Steve Rapp, the Haydens. I really always looked up to those guys. It’s pretty awesome, I’m friends with most of them now and they give me racing tips.
Wayne: How did your mother and father feel about you putting on leathers and spinning around tracks at high speeds on two wheels?
Shelina: They didn’t like it at first. Not one bit actually. Not only for the danger but also the cost, it’s really expensive to get into racing and they made it clear that they would not help me out in that department. My parents are very business savvy and they didn’t see going racing as a smart business decision. They’ve always morally supported me in all of my [sometimes a little crazy] decisions though, and they came around on this one too. I think Dad was sold when I became the first female ever to race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on a motorcycle, and Mom was sold the first time she got to go to Italy with me because of my racing. Now they are my go-to’s on a lot of my racing decisions and they help me a lot with the Girlz MotoCamps that I started.
Continue reading the interview by clicking on the next page number