Eyes squinting against the mud splattering in all directions off the Nanaimo Wastelands track over the weekend, Oriana Fraser wouldn’t have had her return to motocross racing any other way.
The 16-year-old Ladysmith athlete took top place in the Ladies Class, 3rd in the Junior MX and 5th in the Schoolboy as the Nanaimo Motocross Association hosted the B.C. Motocross Championship series over two days.
“It feels so good. I’m so happy to be back,” she said. “I was out for five and a half months after surgery and got back on the bike and I’ve just been feeling really strong.”
It was an injury to Fraser’s left ACL that saw her miss the winter arenacross circuit while she healing.
“It was really hard to be off my bike. A month after surgery I was just starting to walk around again and I was already like ‘when I can get back on my bike’,” she said.
Now, looking stronger than ever, Fraser has a busy August in her sights as she looks to make up for lost time.
The Nanaimo event represented the first round of the series championships with the second round taking place Sept. 1-2 in Prince George and the third round in Williams Lake Sept. 15-16.
Last season Fraser was crowned the Ladies Class champion in both the Island and provincial championship series.
Following her races on Sunday, she took off to Ontario to race in the Walton TransCan Grand National Championship, a prestigious event that sees thousands try to qualify each year for only 42 gate positions available in each class.
Fraser is the only female from British Columbia attending the race as she represents Team BC at what’s considered the largest amateur motocross event in Canada.
“It’s a really big race,” she said. “It’s the fastest amateurs of both Canada and the United States. I’ve never done the Waltons before so I’m going in kind of blind but I’m hoping for a top five finish in the Ladies Class.”
To prepare for the biggest race of her young career, Fraser has been working closely with her coach Dusty Klatt, who has also raced the Waltons.
“He’s been preparing me for some of the stuff such as track conditions – a mix of sand and top soil,” she said.
She’s also excited about racing on her new Yamaha 125 cc bike that was shipped to Ontario specifically for the event.
“It’s super fast. I love it,” she said. “There’s a different riding style to it.”
Following a week in Ontario she’ll then return to the West Coast for three days of training in Washington and the 125 Dream Race race in Washougal where everyone will be riding 125 cc bikes.
With plenty of racing ahead in the coming weeks Fraser said she’s looking forward to the rest of the summer before going back to the classroom.
“I’m just really looking forward to the seat time, new experiences and just riding in general because I love it.”