The rain-soaked and program-delayed round of MotoAmerica at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, might not have been the season final anyone was hoping for, including the women of Royal Enfield’s Build. Train. Race. (BTR), but for a program with the goal of cultivating the life experience that comes through racing motorcycles, perhaps it was a fitting way to close the series after all.
“It was a bit of a wild weekend for the Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race. Road Racers,” said Breeann Poland, Marketing and Communications Lead – Royal Enfield Americas. “We had some pretty serious weather, some difficult racing conditions, and several spills in the wet. But this is racing, and it’s not for the weak. The challenges are all part of the experience that shapes us. It’s finding your limits, getting up after you fall, dealing with the unexpected and working to solve problems while the clock is ticking. These women faced all of these challenges at Barber this weekend and really pushed through. To say that I’m proud of them would be a gross understatement.”
After the original start time was postponed during to Sunday’s downpour, many Royal Enfield team members were sent scrambling to rebook flights in the attempt to stay at the ready for a race that may or may not even take place. Five of the seven-rider field were able and/or willing to stick it out in the hopes of getting their track time, and fortunately the MotoAmerica crew found a way to slot in time for the third of three BTR Road Racing exhibition races in the revised schedule.
CJ Lukacs, who all but dominated the first two rounds, found herself on a second-row start behind Kayla Theisler, Trisha Dahl and Alyssa Bridges (fifth rider Michaela Trumbull experienced mechanical issues on the warmup lap and did not make the start). Dahl grabbed the holeshot and lead the early charge, but was soon overtaken by Lukacs and Theisler. The trio remained tight in the opening laps in what was the closest racing all season. “We battled back and forth almost every corner,” said Lukacs. “It was so exciting! Having that push between all of us, bar to bar, there’s nothing else like it.”
Lukacs maneuvered her way out front, only a bike-length or two in front of the number 52 of Theisler. Given more time, Theisler might have overtaken the point, but a red flag handed the top spot to Lukacs by a fraction of a second, with Dahl and Bridges not far off. In the end, it cemented the former pro motocrosser’s top spot in the BTR Road Racing ranks, making for a clean sweep of the three-round series.
“We all wanted to finish upright,” Lukacs said, “and the fact that we did so, even through battling each other in crazy track conditions, makes me so proud. I am humbled by everyone’s talent and growth. As crazy as this last round was, the experience of racing in the rain for the first time couldn’t have been better.”
The finish marked Theisler’s first podium of the championship, while Trisha Dahl’s third-place finish completes her podium sweep of the series, having finished in the top-three at every BTR MotoAmerica event this season.
“What a weekend!” Trisha Dahl exclaimed. “My nerves were through the roof and I had no idea how hard I could push it. As my mentor Melissa Paris would say, ‘to finish first, you must first finish.’ I kept the inputs light but also stayed aggressive on the throttle when I knew the bike was upright. For the very little experience we have on rain tires, I am very impressed with myself and all my teammates. We went headfirst into this weekend and adapted to every challenge that was presented. I’m so proud to be a part of this team.”
Kayla Theisler echoed the sentiment, “Royal Enfield not only provided the resources for me to grow as a rider and racer, they also allowed me to create lasting relationships with so many talented, strong, inspiring women. I’m grateful and humbled to be a part of this trailblazing program for women in motorcycling.”
“That wasn’t an easy weekend, and we’d like to thank MotoAmerica for shuffling the program and giving our racers the chance to finish out their season,” Breeann Poland added. “And, of course, to all our sponsors who really came through, once again! After several spills on Saturday morning in the rain, these ladies worked so hard to repair their Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 race bikes in order to be ready for Sunday. We’re beyond thrilled to see a strong finish to our first Build. Train. Race. season with MotoAmerica and we’re already looking forward going bigger next year.”
Royal Enfield BUILD. TRAIN. RACE.
Round 3 Results – Barber MotoAmerica
1. CJ Lukacs
2. Kayla Theisler
3. Trisha Dahl
4. Alyssa Bridges
Visit https://motoamerica.com/standings/ for detailed results.
The Royal Enfield BTR Road Racing program has concluded for 2021, and is looking forward to an expanded platform with MotoAmerica next season. Look for an announcement on the 2022 Royal Enfield BUILD. TRAIN. RACE. USA Road Racing program, including details on the application period, in the coming weeks.
The BUILD. TRAIN. RACE. Flat Track program will race their fourth and final round at the Charlotte Half-Mile in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 8. Find more information on the Royal Enfield BTR programs at https://buildtrainrace.com/.