WMX Rider Insight: Sayaka Kaneshiro
At the 13th annual ‘A Day in the Dirt’ I got a chance to talk with Sayaka “Teriyaki Sauce” Kaneshiro, WMX Pro #15
How was your racing today?
It was good, I thought we had a practice first, I went out and it was actually a race. I was just racing and riding around, I felt like … WOW!
Photo by Heather Majcherek
What did you think of the event overall?
It was to difficult racing for me, because I didn’t ride my pace. I rode about 6th place, less than I wanted to. I got the same number as last year, I just tried to do my best.
You came over from Japan, can you compare the difference between the racing in Japan and America?
Oh it’s a lot different! In Japan girls can only ride 85cc bikes, but in the U.S. we ride 250cc four strokes. In Japan they can’t ride 250 four strokes, I like Japan, but the women are better here, it’s a lot different.
In Japan, they don’t have very many tracks. The tracks are so tight, so small, not big like in U.S. Here they have a lot of tracks everywhere. And that’s why I like it! Ha-ha, I like it a lot! Bigger tracks and everywhere, it’s good.
What opportunities do you have here in the USA to Japan?
In the U.S.A., motocross is so much more important, they know motocross here, in Japan they don’t know motocross. I need to tell people about it and explain it to them. They don’t have a lot of money, because they don’t have lots of sponsors. That’s a difference.
What was the reason you came to America?
I want to be champion in USA and that’s why my whole family came here.
What are your goals for next season?
Of course to win. Yeah, champion. Yes, that’s what I want, that’s what I have to do.
Have you been approached by any teams for next year?
No, no, never. I just go with my family to the races. But next year I got a sponsorship from Rockstar Suzuki. I get 2 bikes for next year, before I only had 2008 bikes for racing, so the new bikes are good for me.
Do you see yourself as a role model in Japan? Or America?
Probably in Japan, I was known, some people knew me because I have a blog. Here they don’t know me, I just want to talk and talk. I want people to know me and my riding and I want to keep getting better.
Who has been the biggest influence on you and your racing career and why?
My hero is Bubba Stewart and Ricky Carmichael. Ricky is like Japanese style, he is so honest and training and riding, he is so smart, and that’s what I want to try to be like him. I am learning to be like him, his riding is so good. Great, great rider, that’s my hero.
If you could change or influence anything about women’s motocross what would it be?
No problems, I like it a lot, I just get out there and go!
Sayaka would like to thank her sponsors: RS Taichi, Rockstar Suzuki, Onsoku Factory, Yoshimura, Maxima, Alpinestars, Mazora, Enzo, Arai, Evs, S-shop design, Troylee design, Utopia, Sato (healthcare innovation), Racing films, Max, Dunlop, and Dirt Freek.