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Winningest Rider Flat Track Singles



Shayna Texter-Bauman has taken the literal roughest tracks to become a respected female racer in flat track competition. The now 31-year-old became the first-ever woman to win the American Pro Singles Class in flat track racing back in 2011 and today remains the “winningest rider in American Flat Track Singles History,” with 19 victories to her name. After conquering the Singles’ class, she was ready to take on something bigger, more challenging, and also, her family, entering the SuperTwins class with Indian for the 2022 AFT season. Jalopnik spoke with the winningest rider about how it started, how it’s going, the triumphs, the struggles and what competing with and against family is like.

Lalita Chemello: Let’s start with the basics. How would you best describe flat track racing to somebody who doesn’t know anything about it?

Shayna Texter-Bauman: So, flat-tracking is actually the oldest form of motorcycle racing here in America. We take motorcycles and race on dirt ovals all across the country, whether it’s a sprint car track, or even horse facilities. And we go 100 miles an hour sliding into the corner with the rear brake only. I always say the closest form of racing to us is sprint car racing. But the difference is that they have a roll cage and, and four wheels — and we do the same, with two.

LC: And then as far as bike specifications that race on flat tracks — what are the distinct classes or differentiations that you would see?

STB: In the American flat track series at the pro level, there are three classes that currently race this series. There’s a Single Cylinder class, which is the 450 motocross production bikes. So they use the actual motocross chassis, and they lower the motorcycle down to flat track specs and put 19-inch tires, front and rear. Basically you could sign up and race that class. There are, you know, obviously different modifications that are done with the engines, those types of things in all three classes.

Then there’s the Production Twins class, which my brother races in. That class in particular uses street bike based engines that are in production. So you’ll see Yamaha, KTM, Kawasaki – they all use an engine that comes out of a street bike that is put into a purpose-built chassis for our sport. And then there’s the Super Twins class, which is more of a prototype class, you are allowed to race the production engines in the class, but you’re also allowed to race only specific engines. Which is what the FTR [750 for Texter-Bauman] is — a purpose built motorcycle for our sport. The same with the Harley Davidson XR 750.

Image for article titled Meet Shayna Texter-Bauman: The Winningest Rider in American Flat Track Singles Racing

Photo: Indian

LC: Every rider, racer has an origin story. What is yours?

STB: One thing that’s really special about American Flat Track is that there’s a lot of generational riders. I’m actually a third generation flat track racer. My grandfather raced a little bit before the war, and then once the war started, he shifted gears and eventually opened a motorcycle shop in Pennsylvania and sponsored some riders that helped him out on the mechanic side. Then, my dad, Randy, actually raced on the professional tour until 2022, as a professional flat track racer and a road racer. So, for me, I’ve been on a motorcycle since I was three. But I haven’t actually been racing as long as some of the competitors. You can actually start racing here in the United States at four.

But for me, because my dad was racing, and I was kinda traveling the tour with him. I played soccer my entire upbringing — that was my main focus. And in 2003, my brother Cory decided to start racing. And about halfway through I was like, “Hey Dad, can I try it?” And being that we owned a motorcycle dealership, he was able to go upstairs, get a set of street tires mounted up to my dirt bike and off I went — and I haven’t looked back since.

So, it was about halfway through 2003 that I started racing full time. My brother Cory still races the current tour. I have a nephew now that’s racing — Cory’s son. He’s four years old. So, the next generation’s already goin’ in our family.

LC: So you said you started riding in 2003. Was that always the plan? Or did you just kind of fall into it?

STB: That’s a great question because honestly, my main thing was soccer. But at that point, I was no longer on a travel team —I was playing in school which was more of just a one season sport in the fall for us here in Pennsylvania. So, it was kind of like, okay, let’s start racing to occupy my time. I had always wanted to go to college and continue on being a soccer player, and then eventually I was racing a lot.

By the time soccer season came around my freshman year, I actually had a broken foot that I hid from my mom all summer so I could keep racing. So, I kinda started to push my soccer career aside a little bit. Here in the state, you can turn pro at 16 years old. So, I was just kind of on that cusp of turning pro. And I think even honestly, when I turned pro, which was the end of 2007, really, my first full season was 2008, I still really didn’t, didn’t know where I was going to go with it.

When I signed my first factory contract in 2014, I realized I can actually make a living at this and chase my dreams a little bit further. From the time I turned pro until a few years ago, the sport was kind of at a transition period where there weren’t a whole lot of factory rides. Until 2018, when Indian came in with their factory program, our sport really only had a few factory seats. So to make a career out of it was tough back then.

LC: So who was your first sponsor? Or you mentioned you finally got a factory to sign?

STB: I signed with Triumph back in 2014 and did a year with them. I had dabbled a couple years, a couple of seasons, from 2014 to 2016, trying to ride a twin cylinder motorcycle, before I made the transition back to the Singles class where, you know, I’ve won all my races.

LC: Just a different feel on the bike? Or?

STB: For me, the opportunity wasn’t right, and I was just struggling. So I transitioned back to the singles class for a couple years to get my confidence back. I ended up staying there longer racing for the Rebel KTM team, which was really cool. I went on to win quite a few races with them and podiums and chase the championship until this year, when I signed with Indian Motorcycle.

LC: I love that you say you knew your limit and admit the difficulties you were having with the twin cylinder. You wanted to go back to get your confidence back up. And I feel like that’s like a common thing that people find themselves in when it comes to just even riding on the road with their own bikes. Was that a tough decision? Did you have any doubts about how that would affect your career?

STB: Honestly it was a really tough decision because it is like taking a step back in your career. For example, in American sports — it’s almost like going from the Majors back to MLA pro baseball, or the Minors. So, for me in the motorcycle world, it was kind of a step back to go to that class because it was more at the time considered an entry-level class into the pros.

But for me, I needed to regain that confidence of a motorcycle racer – and that feeling to win again. I had started to doubt myself, even though I had won races in the past. I started to doubt my ability and competence on the motorcycle. So, for me, it was a really hard decision. When I had moved back to the class, I only planned to go back for a year. And the sport started to evolve and some new opportunities started to open with the KTM group coming over. In 2018, I rode for their Husqvarna team and then I rode for their Red Bull KTM team from ‘19 until last season. Later on, the choice made sense. But it was a hard decision at the beginning.

LC: And you think it was the right choice?

STB: It definitely was, 100 percent. For me, I left that class satisfied. Which is why when Indian Motorcycle reached out to me about riding the twin, I thought it was awesome. It’s an exciting challenge for me because the timing was right for me to join in a motorcycle team alongside my husband Briar. What a cool opportunity for both of us. I always said I wanted to go back and ride a twin cylinder motorcycle before my career was over. That was one regret I had. And now I’m living out that dream of riding the FTR 750 and getting back to the Twins class.

Shayna Texter-Bauman | The SuperTwins Journey

LC: So it is an FTR. I noticed on one of your [social] pictures, the painting [on the bike] says “Indian Scout,” which was confusing.

STB: You’re right. So, when Indian first brought the bike over, it was considered part of the Scout lineup. But they transitioned it over to just being an FTR 750. So, if you look at my husband’s bikes, he actually has the proper bodywork. That body that’s on my Instagram is off my practice bike. We had made some revisions to the bodywork because I’m so small, so we actually cut it. And I brought it to the racetrack to race with and it just became my primary body of work right now. So that’s where the confusion lies. But yeah, you’re 100% it is an FTR 750. And the FTR 1200 is actually mocked off of you know, it’s considered a race replica to our bikes.

[Jeff Millard, communications director with Indian jumps in to add that the FTR 750 was launched before the FTR 1200, so it was, indeed branded as an Indian Scout. But Indian received so much good feedback on the FTR 750 that the design team wanted to make something for the street. Then came the FTR 1200. So, Indian dropped the Scout (from the flat track bike), and it’s just the FTR 750 and 1200. Granted, there’s still a lot of Indian flat track bikes running with the Scout name, including Shayna’s.]

Texter-Bauman on-track on her No. 52 Indian FTR 750 for the SuperTwins class.

Texter-Bauman on-track on her No. 52 Indian FTR 750 for the SuperTwins class.
Image: Indian

LC: What was the appeal of doing flat track as opposed to doing something like motocross or MotoAmerica or, you know, a lot of the other different variations that are out there?

STB: When I spoke earlier in the interview about road racing, and MotoAmerica, my dad technically did race that style of motorcycle racing as well as on the dirt with us in flat tracks. So when I first started flat track, you know, you can basically go in your backyard on dirt bikes and start going in circles. It’s very grassroots and very easy to get involved in and addicted to. But for us we started going around in circles at our family’s dealership, when we were younger, just play-riding. My dad took us to our first flat track race and we kicked that off.

At the time, because we were both racing, my brother Cory and I, it was too expensive to do both. So my dad asked us which one. We were already flat tracking, and all our friends were already there. So that’s why we continue to commit to the flat track side of things. I have tried road racing, I’ve done a track day. We do train in motocross throughout the week. But I’ve never done a motocross race. I actually have friends that want me to race the women’s class here locally when I’m done.

Just, flat track is in my blood. You know, I think the one thing that’s very unique about my track is the community. We’re a very close-knit community compared to a lot of the other forms of racing in motorsports as a whole. We all really get along. I know that we went through some pretty challenging times in the sport. Everyone at one point was just trying to get to the next race to where now we’re able to make a career out of it. I think those challenging times together also strengthened our community.

LC: Your website and your bio boasts your record-breaking prowess. How many records have you broken so far? What’s something or that one thing really stands to you in your career?

STB: I became the first female to win an American Flat Track Pro singles class in 2011. And for me, that was huge. To get that first win, to where now, I believe I’m up to 19 of those wins. I believe that’s how many I have. So currently, I’m the winningest rider for that class in particular. Becoming the first female was huge, in a way that I want it to win that first one to help open the door for our sport. And to get the attention to our sport — the eyes on it — to show women that if I could do it, they could do it. Because I do race in a male-dominated sport. But I’m also very well-treated like a competitor on the race track, which I think is super special about our sport, compared to some of the other forms. They treat me like a motorcycle racer, and I always say [as a] female second. And so getting that first one in 2011 was cool. Being able to back it up 18 times was even cooler.

They’re all very special. But my first one is even more special because I beat my husband, in that first race. So for me, it still gives me a little bit of bragging rights and homes at times, even though he’s a multi-champion, I can still rub it in.

Image for article titled Meet Shayna Texter-Bauman: The Winningest Rider in American Flat Track Singles Racing

Photo: Indian

LC: I can just imagine the arguments at home. “Well, I mean, I did beat you.”

Anyway, you talk about wanting to open the door for women and how your competitors treat you as a rider first – female second. Being a woman in the sport is hard. Were there any adverse things that you faced as a woman in the sport? Do your competitors see you as a competitor first because you’ve been riding so long? Or is the sport actually different in that environment?

STB: When I first turned pro it was definitely a lot harder. I felt like, at times, I was crashing a lot because I was a female. And being raced hard, because, you know, at times, some of the guys didn’t want to get beat by me. But as I started to prove myself and at this point in my career a lot of the guys I grew up racing with now are also on the pro tour — I think that also has helped me be accepted.

But I think also getting that first win and continuing to prove that I’m a competitor, and that I’m gonna race you hard — and I want you to race me hard back. Gaining that respect and trust amongst my competitors was a little challenging. But as you pave that path, the opportunities started to open for me to become more and more respected to where now I do feel like I’m treated just like one of the guys.

LC: That’s not a story we always get to hear.

STB: That’s why it’s so important not to give up and keep pushing through. Because there were days where I kept finding myself on the ground. I’m like, “Man, I just, I don’t want to do this anymore.” But I was also getting closer and closer to that first win. It took a lot to push through to get that first win. It was kinda like I almost made it into the class, but then that acceptance once I got that first win. And yeah, like you said, it’s not across the board, and all forms of motorsports. I definitely see the challenges that like Hailie [Deegan]’s going through right now, even though she’s won many races up to this point. People kinda forget about your path to get to that point.

Image for article titled Meet Shayna Texter-Bauman: The Winningest Rider in American Flat Track Singles Racing

Photo: Indian

LC: So, you’re racing all across the country — are you riding nonstop? Or how long is your typical season? What does a year look like for you? And when do you get to be a human?

STB: It’s super challenging. As far as being a normal human, I think we have to adopt that into our busy lifestyle. Because it doesn’t stop. I think we usually get like a month off from training, where we take a break completely. But we usually start the year in January and go up until October with the racing season. So with preseason training, and all of that, you know, it’s almost around the clock. Even when we’re off the motorcycle for that long, we’re still working on our sponsorship and business side per se. And getting ready for the upcoming season with all the opportunities and things that we have to do to get ready to roll. So, we then throw ourselves back into training a month later, and we’re back at it. So it’s pretty much a full-time gig.

LC: So you’re not just riding around cycles or motocross bikes — you’re also doing physical training?

STB: Most of us racers in our series also incorporate bicycling, running — cardio-type stuff in our program. But then also, we’ll do some gym type workouts throughout the week, in addition to actually being physically on the motorcycle.

I would say across all three major forms of motorcycle racing in the US between MotoAmerica, Flat Track and Motocross, training’s become more and more common. To be able to compete at our level, it’s become a necessity, because if you’re not showing up in the best shape, your competitor is. It’s really a way to show up prepared, and for us, it’s part of our job in a sense. Our mechanics are busy getting our bikes ready throughout the week, and our job is to get ready ourselves.

Texter-Bauman sitting with her multi-champion husband and teammate, Briar Bauman.

Texter-Bauman sitting with her multi-champion husband and teammate, Briar Bauman.
Photo: Indian

LC: Having your husband in tow, and you guys are now on the same team. Does that make things a little easier?

STB: It allows us to be on the same schedule — having the same sponsor commitments and testing schedule — it’s huge. Usually we’re on different schedules. Now we’re able to try and do everything together.

It’s nice to be able to be in each other’s corner. The tricky part is now we are racing against each other again. And now married, it’s a little different than when we were just dating or competitors, or racing on the racetrack, because we are definitely going home with each other. So you, I know, we’re definitely probably both think about each other a little bit more as far as when we’re making our passes around each other and sharing the racetrack with each other.

LC: When you say you think about it more — what’s going on in your head in that process [to pass him]?

STB: It’s been quite a while since we’ve raced together, and Briar’s definitely elevated in his race craft where he’s a Multi-Champion of the sport and of our class that we’re currently in. So he’s got quite a few more years than me on this motorcycle. So I’ve been playing a little bit of catch up to the majority of the riders in the class even being back on a twin cylinder. I started off the year a little bit behind, but I’m getting closer and closer to the front.

One of our past race weekends I was only at times a 10th or two off the number-one fastest rider on the track at that time. So, I told him, “I’m coming for you.” But it was actually funny. We actually lined up for the main event. And his brother Bronson also races. And there’s four to align. And it was three of us were battlements out of the floor. And we go into turn one and two off the start of the race, and Briar’s on the far inside. And, you know, Briar is the only one out of the three of us that’s in championship contention. So, you know, for me, I definitely, again, sometimes think about that a little bit. Because, you know, that’s big for our family. So I’m like waiting for him to go, knowing that he has shot to win this race. And he’s just not going. And I said, finally, finally, I just pat tried to pass him on the outside because he wasn’t going, I’m like, I tried to let you go, but you’re taking too long. He laughed about it. He was like, I don’t know what I was doing. I don’t either, but I was.

LC: So you’ve got Indian, you’re with your husband on the team, you’re back to the Twins class. So what is the next thing? Do you have ideas on what you want to do in the future with your career? Or, I mean, winning a championship and beating your husband is probably on that list.

STB: Don’t get me wrong — if I retired tomorrow, I would be completely happy and satisfied with my career. But I’m also enjoying the challenges and moving up to the Super Twins. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But I am enjoying it. I’d love to get that first podium on a super twin. No female actually has ever finished further ahead than six I believe. So even a top five would be huge. Those are kind of short term goals on the motorcycle.

Long term, you know, I definitely want to stay involved in the sport. I actually enjoy working on motorcycles and being around the mechanical side of them as well. And I also enjoy the management side. So I actually would love to start a team with Briar in the future and manage the team for him. Maybe do some select races here and there, as well continue on. But yeah, my short term is to chase those results and also start to transition a little bit over to running a team and managing Briar.

I mean, I just want to continue like to just push you know, this little bit yet in my career that’s left. I’m 31 years old, so retirement isn’t too far away, because I’d like to have a family too. But I’m just enjoying the moment right now. So much of my career was, I’d say more pressured because of chasing championships to where now I’m able to kind of sit back a little bit more and enjoy it. Do the best that I can. Right now, we’re having fun together being under the same E-Z Up canopy.

The American Flat Track 2022 Season concludes this coming weekend in Florida. You can watch Texter-Bauman hit the track with all her competitive family in the Mission AFT SuperTwin Class doubleheader at Volusia Speedway Park October 14 and 15.

Image for article titled Meet Shayna Texter-Bauman: The Winningest Rider in American Flat Track Singles Racing

Photo: Indian

Image for article titled Meet Shayna Texter-Bauman: The Winningest Rider in American Flat Track Singles Racing

Photo: Indian

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