- Published on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 12:14 05 March 2014
- Written by GEOFF CRANE GEOFF CRANE
16-year-old Lexi Pechout dominates men's motocross racing and inspires younger girls
Lexi Pechout is a rising star in the male-dominated world of endurocross, a highly technical and extreme motorcycle event.
Endurocross combines multiple disciplines of off-road motorcycle racing with obstacles riders must overcome such as logs, boulders, pits of split wood and mud. In order to complete a race, competitors must be expert technical riders and beyond that, they must be in top physical and mental condition.
Competing in the last two X Games in women's endurocross, Pechout is not only one of the top female riders in North America, but she is dominating in local men's classes while inspiring young female riders along the way.
"There is definitely a lot more guys than there are girls," Pechout says matter-of-factly. "But there are still lots of girls coming out [to races] and more and more coming out every year."
Pechout says men don't intimidate her when it comes to riding. She laughs as she recalls times she has encountered a group of guys at races who joke that she won't be able to keep up and should try a slower class.
"They see me kick their butts," Pechout says. "And then they have respect for you. They don't think you can do it until you do, and then they say 'Oh, she knows what she's talking about."'
Produced by Olivia Grecu
An expert in her field
And know she does. Pechout is no one-trick pony, achieving pro and expert status in multiple other disciplines along with endurocross. An accomplished ice racer, you can find her riding on various outdoor ice ovals around Calgary and Alberta, often leaving her male competitors in the cold.
In 2013, she won the CMA Canadian Ice Race Pro Championship and was named the PRO Ice rookie of the year. Additionally, she competes in hare scramble events where riders complete multiple laps through a rugged off-road course on natural terrain. Pechout is also an accomplished time-trials rider, which requires riders to ride over large obstacles without setting a foot down throughout the trial.
For Pechout, riding has taken over every facet of her life. She works out regularly — sometimes twice a day — and eats a healthy diet to stay in top shape. Since turning pro, she has also had to move her high school studies online to accommodate all the travelling she has to do nationally and internationally.
In each class she continues to rack up the accolades, much to the joy of her biggest fans —her parents.
Raising a superstar
"I never dreamed that she would be going in the expert class on the men's side and kick (butt)," says Siggi, Lexi's father and the man responsible for getting her involved in motorcycle racing.
Siggi is one of the founders of Calgary's Second Gear Club, an organization dedicated to promoting technical disciplines of motorcycle riding and encouraging interest in the sport in a family environment. Formed in 1999, it is one of the largest active riding clubs in North America, boasting 300 members and holding up to 25 events in and around Calgary a year.
Thanks in part to the efforts of the club's members, Red Bull has sponsored Canada's first urban endure challenge, "Red Bull Rocks and Logs," which takes place at Calgary's Wild Rose MX Park off Blackfoot Trail S.E.
Siggi points out how his daughter's success had nothing to do with him pushing her, and more from her own insatiable appetite for competition.
"Everything kind of developed when she got into the men's racing class," Siggi says. "When she was 13 years old, she entered the men's league because the women didn't want her — she was too fast."
Pechout's dedication to the sport is unmatched, according to her long-time racing friend Tom Brodrovics.
"Nothing humbles you more than losing to a 16-year-old girl," Brodrovics says, noting that he's been on the losing end several times while riding with Pechout.
"She never quits. She never complains and always keeps going. She literally complains less than some of the guys we ride with," Brodrovics says.
He also says he prefers riding with Pechout over most of his other friends because of her dedication to the sport.
Logging frequent–flier miles
During 2013 alone, Lexi competed in over 20 events, which involved 11 round trip flights and over 16,000 kilometres through eight states, two provinces and four countries. Her dedication is paying off.
In 2013, Pechout was able to compete in the 100th FIM international six days of enduro competition held in Sardinia, Italy. During the event, racers covered a total of 1,500 kilometres over six days in various events. The competition is just as much a battle of mental strength as much as physical, with a large percentage of racers unable to finish the competition every year. Representing Team Canada in the women's division, Pechout ended up coming home with a silver medal.
Added to her X Games appearance and the various other awards she has received, 2013 appeared to be a sign of things to come.
"Her goal is to own the podium this year," Siggi says, noting Pechout is only getting better as time goes on.
"She's come by [her success] honestly," friend Brodrovics says. "She works really hard at improving. A lot of the techniques we use can only be learned by putting the work in."
Inspiring the next generation
Her hard work has also begun to gain her a loyal following of girls who look to Pechout as a role model, proving that girls can succeed in the "man's world" of moto-racing.
"She has her own little following," Siggi says. "She never says anything bad about anyone, she's an absolute role model."
For the most part, the attention seems to catch Pechout off guard.
"When I went to Italy and when I go to the U.S., there are all these little girls and they're like, 'I want to be like you. Sign this.' It's so cute," she says.
Still very involved with the Second Gear Club, Pechout can always be found on hand at the kid's events on Sundays in Cochrane, Alta.
"I'll be out there cheering on the girls and they are so excited I'm out there with them."
Pechout says she is excited for what the future holds for women in moto-racing sports, and is glad to contribute the growth of the sport of endurocross.
For those wanting to get into the sport, especially young girls, according to Pechout the key is to find someone who wants to do it with you, and join a good club like the Second Gear Club that can provide equipment and lessons to help you on your way.
As for Pechout's future?
"I see myself doing this for a long time," she says. "I just love it so much."