A Galfer Girl is a girl who isn't afraid to get a little grease under her nails, tuck her hair into a helmet and throw bows with the boys.
Elyse McKinnon is a professional motorcycle drag racer and takes up real estate regaularly in the top 10 of the PMRA racing series.
Elyse, could you tell me how you got involved with motorcycles and racing?
I learned to ride motorcycles while I was in college. A couple years later I got my own bike; I loved riding it to work and around town. I especially enjoyed riding with our local sport bike club; we'd meet for dinner every week and then go for a ride. I built lasting friendships from that group and that was the first time in my life that I realized how awesome the motorcycle community is.
After riding on the street for a while, I wanted to try something new. We had some friends that were in to racing, so I went to check it out. The first night I tried drag racing I fell in love with it and have been addicted ever since!
What made you choose drag racing over other kinds of racing?
I tried a couple different kinds of racing before going to the drag strip, but drag racing is the one that really reeled me in. I immediately loved the adrenaline rush of trying to go as fast as possible, but I also got hooked on the challenge of working to continually improve my times and technique.
Could you tell us a little about your bike?
All my bikes are BMW S 1000 RR's. They're each different model years with similar set-ups; they have a few minor differences from each other based on the classes that I them race in. Of course, they all have Galfer wave rotors, pads, and lines. Galfer Wave Rotors not only look awesome, but they help me stop faster! The sintered pads are perfect for drag racing since I don't get much heat in the brakes before I am ready to use them; they're always ready to use with no warm up required. Since my bikes are lowered and have an extended wheelbase, I need custom length brake lines.
What is it like being a female in a predominantly male sport?
There aren't many females in motorcycle drag racing, so I do feel like I need to be on my game at all times to keep a good reputation for us! It can be harder at times to get a race because some guys will back out of a race rather than risk losing to a girl. What I love about drag racing is that it's not a gender specific sport. When I put my helmet on, it doesn't matter that I'm a female. It's all about rider skill, the bike, and track conditions. I'm there to win, not just to be the fastest female at the event.
What advice do you have to other girls who may be interested in racing?
Just do it! If you have a dream, don't let anyone stop you. As intimidating as it may seem, the motorcycling and race communities in general are very supportive groups. I've found a lot of people along the way willing to lend a hand or give words of advice and encouragement.
What plans and goals do you have for 2018?
In 2018 we started making some upgrades to one of my bikes. I’m hoping to get it finished up and tested before the end of the season. I also plan on finishing up the PMRA championship series and continuing to collect points as I go! I may add in a couple other races as I can fit them in.
How has your season been so far?
This year I've won and been runner-up at several races. I've also gotten to do a few appearances to display my bikes and sign some posters and have been able to meet some cool people all over the country!
What have been your career highlights or accomplishments?
My fastest Elapsed Time and MPH in the quarter miles is 8.5 seconds and 166 mph. That is the fastest known mph on a stock motor/stock ECU S1000RR. I also have multiple Top 10 PMRA Championship finishes and have won or got runner-up and numerous other races including TX2K, Cash Days, Street Car Takeover, Midnight Drags, & Ice Cream Cruise.
What is your favorite part about racing or riding?
I love the adrenaline rush of riding, but more than that, I love winning races! I thrive on working to improve myself and my race technique; I want to do better every time I go down the track to improve my chances of winning every race.
Is there anyone you would like to thank?
I'd like to thank my team for tirelessly working to make everything happen. I'd also like to thank my pals at BMW Motorrad USA, my sponsors, & friends for being there to support me along the way.