Rambling On Chat With LeeAnn Bange

LeeAnn Bange is one of the top riders in the GNCC Womens Class and also a member of the new Keystone Offroad Racing Team. Heading into these final rounds of the 2010 GNCC season, she’s tied for third in class points. I caught up with LeeAnn after taking 2nd at the Rattlesnake VCHSS race this past weekend and did this interview for Offroad Junkies.

Hey LeeAnn, how’s everything going today?
It’s alright, just got back from a week in TN and a Virginia harescramble. I’m in school before my first class of the new semester.

Awesome! I know I had a good time at the VCHSS race, and congrats on the good ride. Now to get this thing started, how did you get involved in the off-road racing scene?
My uncle got me started in local harescrambles up here in PA shortly after my cousin had started racing. My first ever race bike was a ttr125 haha! We decided to do the whole GNCC series in 2008.

Ha, the TT-R is the universal midsize bike! Coming into these final 2 GNCC’s for 2010, you’re tied for third in the Womens class. What’s your strategy for the final rounds?
Aw man i can’t tell you that! haha na, I ‘ll just ride to the best of my ability, and put my best effort forward. And work on those starts!

How has the 2010 GNCC season gone for you so far?
It’s had it’s ups and downs, I had to miss FL for school, but had some decent finishes at most of the rounds after that. At the Penton I had a bad race due to mechanical problems, but kind of redeemed that with a second at Snowshoe.

You’re riding a 2 stroke while the rest of the top Womens riders are on the 4 stroke, where do you feel the 2 stroke has it’s advantages over the 4 stroke?
I do feel like I’m at quite a bit of a disadvantage with less power and traction on the 144. Some of those hills are pretty difficult on the bike, but it has two advantages over the fourstrokes in that if i stall it in the woods, or crash, i know I’ll always be able to 1. pick it up, 2. start it.

Picking it up and starting it are definitely some advantages that are just a little helpful haha! In your racing career, what has been your greatest achievement?
Honestly theres no one greatest achievement for me so far, its just been all the little ones coming together putting me where I am right now. racing has also let me get to know and be friends with people I otherwise would have never met, some who even live across the country.

Now you’re a member of the new Keystone Offroad Racing Team, tell us about your involvement with the team.
The Keystone Offroad racing Team is made of jedediah haines of the XC1 class, Zack Smith of the 250 A class, Ian Pannebakker of the A lites class, and me in the women’s class. I got involved pretty much the same time as everyone else. we all have the drive to do well in racing, and positive attitudes and personalities that make it easy to get along with each other and work well together. We each have what I guess you could say are jobs within the team, I’m going to school for graphic design, so i can help with getting logos and graphics put together.

Nice! Maybe you could have your own awesome graphics company one day! As a gift, would you rather recieve tons of sparkly jewelry, or a new purple powerband?
I’m really not much for bling bling, I can’t get over how much guys will spend sometimes on that stuff for there lady friend, so I’d have to say the purple powerband, it will make me go faster too!

Good choice! What do you feel is the biggest challenge for a Womens rider?
Mainly size. Strength comes with that too, it’s a lot easier for a guy to handle a 450 for two hrs and still have more energy to go. Most of the girls either have to lower their bikes or deal with not being able to reach the ground right. Haha, there’s so many times were i’m stuck, crash and have a hard time getting the bike upright again, or just find myself dabbing air in a rough technical section that i say to myself, dang i wish i was a guy, or guys have it easy. But I’m sure there’s a few cases where it’d be better to be a girl.

What would you like to see happen with the Womens class in the coming years?
Basically I just want to see it grow. more riders equals more competition which i think could lead to a women’s pro class. i’d love to see women’s racing in GNCCs get as big as women’s racing in moto has. Just this past year I really think the women’s class has come a long way, all the girls are stepping it up, which is a good thing.

What would you like to see happen with the offroad scene as a whole?
Again i’d like to see it grow, and ultimately offer more/bigger opportunities as far as jobs go in racing offroad. It would really help if the economy could get back to where it was a few years ago if not better, so more people could afford to participate in racing.

Out of all the tracks you’ve ever raced, what is your favorite?
I like most of the tracks we race, but i never had much luck the Penton. I really like Steele Creek, Somerset, Snowshoe, and The Titan was cool too. Ironman’s always a fun track too. But over all, I think Snowshoe has to be my favorite because the track is challenging, but not too hard in the morning race and every year it’s so fun to hang out with friends the whole weekend.

Snowshoe as a whole is just amazing haha. Let’s do a little word association, state the first word (or name) that comes to mind for each…
Bike:
yamaha!
Gear: One industries
Awesome: 70 degrees, no humidity, sunny, on my dirt bike
Interview: Offroad Junkies!
Friend: Jesus
Pin it to win it: When in doubt tap it out
Goon: Trey Canard’s got mad goon skillz
Powerband: Hold on!
Flame Sticker: So 2006
Milk: Was a badddd decision
Taco: Without meat please
Jared Bolton: Thank you for the interview!

Awesome! I’m fairly certain Ron Burgandy would be proud. Alright, before we wrap it up, who would you like to thank?
I’d like to thank God for keeping me safe in travel and racing. My uncle Tony smith for getting me started in racing and supporting me throught thick and thin, and just the whole Smith family. My mom for her support and the rest of my family and friends. FMF, Sixsixone, One Industries, Utopia optics, boyesen, jason raines, Tag, Sunline, drew from DEF, Scott from Toy Tech, Offroad Junkies, and anyone else I may have missed!

Thanks LeeAnn!
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