Shane Cuthbertson, 36, has been a strong contender in off-road dirt bike racing for more than 20 years.
Cuthbertson, who is from Airdrie, Alberta, has raced in several regional, national and international events on a pro level, securing top titles such as the Canadian Hare Scrambles Champion and International Six Days Enduro silver medallist.
Lately, Cuthbertson has turned his attention to the fast-growing sport of endurocross (EX). His boys, Chase, 9, and Kale, 6, have also gotten their feet wet in EX this year.
Recently, RidersWest spoke with Cuthbertson about his racing career, his life away from the track and his plans for the 2012 racing season. We discovered that Cuthbertson is spending less time on himself and focusing more on bringing up the next generation of dirt riders.
How did you get into racing dirt bikes? I used to race a lot of BMX as a kid and went all over the place doing that and did some world championship racing. (I) had some international exposure and then I decided that I needed to go faster, so I talked my parents into getting me a dirt bike. My family, we have always (gone) camping in the forestry and in the mountains—so it just seemed like such a natural fit. I started learning (how to ride) my dirt bike out in the mountains and through the trees, water and mud, and eventually the competitive bug bit me again and I started racing enduros and cross-country-type events.
What has been biggest highlight of your racing career so far? The one that I am most proud of was (that) I raced in Romania twice at an event called Red Bull Romaniacs. It was a very difficult event. It was an extreme enduro (and) it was definitely just a challenge to finish the event. I ended up finishing ninth overall both times I was there. It was a really cool experience for me. I got to ride in Romania for five days straight—it was almost like my job. It’s a really beautiful area and really nice people.
What made you decide to get into EX? It’s just a very technical sport. It’s easier for me to manage. I have a family and I’m getting a little bit older and it’s easier for me to practise—it doesn’t take much time. It’s easier for me to maintain my bike (and) I still get my little bit of dirt biking in while I spend more time with my family. It’s really exciting for me. Those events I did in Europe, they were extreme enduros—so it’s like a last-man-standing type of event where it is a challenge to get yourself and the motorcycle through. That is the stuff I enjoy and endurocross is like that; it’s very technical in nature. It’s really physically demanding and you really need to know how to control the motorcycle to get over all the obstacles. That’s just the kind of thing that gives me my kicks, I guess.
When did your kids start showing an interest in dirt biking? I think basically as soon as they could ride pedal bikes, they were probably on dirt bikes at the same time.
Are they competitive? They don’t take it too seriously at this point. It’s just a fun thing for them to do and it still allows me to be in the sport a bit, getting my fill. As they get older, they are getting better and better and getting to experience some pretty cool things—the endurocross we did in Idaho was something that was really fun for them to be a part of.
What advice do you give them? I try to make sure I don’t push it too hard on them. I want them to do it for fun. I don’t want them to do something they feel they need to do just because I do it. I always give them little tips and tricks here and there. Really, it’s just for the enjoyment of it right now. I guess my biggest tip to them is not to take it too seriously and just have fun.
When you’re not racing, what do you and your family do for fun? We’ve been doing a lot of camping this year. Both our families (live) in Airdrie, so we spend quite a bit of time with them. When we are not out camping or on the road somewhere, we like to stick around the house and spend some quality time as a family and enjoy life in general.
What do you do for work? I (have) my own business and I do consulting work for the oil and gas industry.
What are your plans for the rest of the 2012 race season? I do plan to do a few more endurocrosses in the States, and we also have a local series here—it’s called the Canadian Motorcycle Association Alberta Off-Road Hare Scramble Series. My kids are very interested in that, so we go out as a family. I get my race in on Saturday and they get their race in on Sunday.« Back to Ride On! »