X MARKS THE SPOT FOR BIKE ACE

Meet a Motocross mae­stro

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - cait­lyn@7days.ae

Kylie Slowe’s sur­name is a lit­tle ironic, given her pen­chant for high-oc­tane sports. Zip­ping about on her bike, she’s any­thing but slow. The 23-year-old grew be­tween the Mid­dle East and her na­tive South Africa, rid­ing the Ara­bian dunes for nearly a decade.

Slowe now works full-time in fi­nance, part-time as a per­sonal trainer, and rides on week­ends.

She’s cur­rently prepar­ing for the Motocross rac­ing season, which is a tech­ni­cal form of rac­ing on a set track, with jumps and em­pha­sis on cor­ners.

“On Fri­days we will do a long ride out into the desert, and Satur­days we will do a shorter ride where we mess around, like a Qu­dra ride and play around on the dunes,” she ex­plains.

Slowe got into rid­ing as a tween liv­ing in Qatar. She says: “I started on a quad bike ac­tu­ally, I was 12. We’d go out every week­end in the desert, and I al­ways wanted to do Motocross but they didn’t have a track there at the time. Then we moved to Abu Dhabi when I was 15, and that’s when I started Motocross. At the time I was the only girl rac­ing, so I’d go in with the guys just to com­pete.”

Slowe trav­elled on week­ends to Dubai to race in Motocross at the Jebel Ali track.

She races in both Baja rac­ing and Motocross, ex­plain­ing the dif­fer­ence: “There are two types of rid­ing, if you want to get on a bike, open the throt­tle and go crazy, you do Ba­jas and if you want to fo­cus more on the tech­ni­cal side of things you do Motocross.”

And though pro­fi­cient in both styles of rac­ing, Slowe says she’ll be get­ting back to her roots this com­ing season: “I grew up do­ing Motocross. This year I’m go­ing to fo­cus more on that, be­cause I want to go back to my ba­sics.” Hav­ing been based in the re­gion for 15 years on and off, Slowe has seen the rac­ing scene in the UAE grow, though says it still has a way to go, par­tic­u­larly for fe­males.

“It’s so dif­fer­ent for guys here in Dubai. If a guy in any sport – any ex­treme sport – does well, there’s just that ex­tra bit of recog­ni­tion,” Slowe says. “I don’t know why, I don’t know if that’s a world­wide thing or just the Mid­dle East, but that’s just what I know. “You ei­ther don’t get recog­nised or it’s ‘oh wow, you’re a girl and do­ing this?’ And peo­ple speak to us about that. It’s not about the sport. “Ba­si­cally it’s be­cause you’re a girl, do­ing what you’re do­ing. “I think it’s chang­ing though, slowly, there are so many ar­eas of ex­treme sports that girls are be­com­ing in­volved in.” She also cred­its the preva­lence of so­cial me­dia to the height­ened in­ter­est in ex­treme sports, in­clud­ing mo­tor­cy­cling. Slowe adds: “I’ve con­nected with more peo­ple this year than ever be­fore; we’ve seen more peo­ple rid­ing, want­ing to try it out and go on adventures.”

“I’m go­ing to fo­cus more on Motocross be­cause I want to go back to my ba­sics.” – Kylie Slowe

Slowe (pic­tured) will race on Oc­to­ber 7 at Jebel Ali Motocross Track. See face­book.com/D ubaimo­tocross

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