Welcome to another Total Motorcycle Inspiration Friday! This week we bring you a very special story about women riders, builders and racers. The Build Train Race program sponsored by Royal Enfield will highlight women and motorcycle culture in North America in a unique format that will bring together four riders from four different backgrounds to compete in a flat event in 2020. The program will take place in three phases – first the riders will build a custom flat track motorcycle using the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Twin (INT 650) as the base platform. Then with the help of flat track racing experts, each rider will undergo training.
Four women from across North America have been chosen to participate in this campaign. Each woman comes from a distinctive background within the motorcycle industry, from professional road racer Melissa Paris in California to Lana McNaughton, founder of the Women’s Moto Exhibit in Oregon, motorcycle enthusiast Jillian Deschenes in Minnesota, and DIY shop owner Andrea Lothrop from Canada.
The participants have received their Mark III INT 650’s and have submitted their designs for approval.
While most of the work during the build process will be done by the women, they are able to incorporate components from outside sponsors components to ensure these motorcycles are ready for racing.
Lana, Jillian and Andrea will use Flat Out Friday as a shakedown in preparation for the Atlanta American Flat Track round on March 28. A substitute rider will pilot Melissa Paris’ motorcycle, as she will be competing in the Daytona 200 in Florida. She will join her BUILD TRAIN RACE teammates at Dixie Speedway at the end of March for the AFT exhibition.
The American Flat Track exhibition race will be aired on NBC Gold. Visit NBC Sports for local listings.
The BTR program aims to show women that anything is possible when it comes to motorcycling. None of the participants have been involved in a program of this scale before. Throughout the process Royal Enfield will document the women through photos and videos as they navigate through the challenges that lie ahead.
The riders have from November 15th, 2019 – February 15th, 2020 to modify their Mark III INT 650 Twins. Once their designs are approved, tear down begins along with outreach to sponsors and partners.
Aside from two days of Royal Enfield provided-training time, all four women must master proper flat track technique and racecraft ahead of the first event.
At Dixie Speedway in Atlanta Georgia, the riders and their teams will race their customized Mark III INT 650 Twin motorcycles together during the The American Flat Track exhibition race. Visit NBC Sports for local listings.
Participation from viewers is encouraged – fans will have a chance to vote for their favorite builds after the Flat Out Friday races. The winning builder will win an all-expenses paid trip to next year’s event.
ABOUT THE MOTORCYCLE – THE MARK THREE INTERCEPTOR 650
An air/oil cooled parallel twin configuration chosen for its authentic uncluttered lines, the 648cc engine is built for real world riding. With a twin throttle-body paired to a highly precise Bosch fuel injection system and EMS tune results in excellent throttle response throughout the rev range. The frame, developed in conjunction with legendary Harris Performance, thoroughly tested for durability, offers superior balance and handling.
The INT 650 provides an optimum blend of dynamics through a mix of comfort & feel, with reliable, responsive & easily to adjustable foundation.
Four women from 4 different background in the motorcycle industry.
Andrea Lothrop – THE MECHANIC
Jillian Deschenes – THE ENTHUSIAST
Melissa Paris – THE PRO
Lanakila Macnaughton – THE PHOTOGRAPHER
THE MECHANIC ANDREA LOTHROP
Andrea knows a little something about the mechanics of motorcycles. Andrea and her partner run and operate a DIY motorcycle club in Toronto, Canada. You can find Andrea at her shop working on motorcycles nearly every day of the week. And when she isn’t wrenching she spends time empowering other riders to get their hands dirty and work on their own motorcycles. Moto Revere has brought together Andrea’s diverse skills and interests such as her BFA in sculpture, a life-long drive to own a business, a passion for building communities and urban life.
In the last four years Andrea has built a community focused on self-empowerment. In Toronto, the riding season and wrenching season are about 50/50 which allows Andrea and her partner to dedicate time to work on projects and dream about adventures until riding season starts back up in the spring.
Andrea’s sponsors include Biltwell, Black Widow Custom Paint, Haversack Leather and Icon. For a peek into Andrea’s building, training, and racing progress, visit her personal Instagram.
THE TWO WHEEL ENTHUSIAST – JILLIAN DESCHENES
Jillian is the Midwest contingent of the BUILD TRAIN RACE program and was born and raised just north of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2019, Jillian won the District 23 AMA Flat Track women’s championship in only her second year of racing.
Just last month Jillian was one of 5 selected riders to participate in a joint project between S&S Cycles and Royal Enfield, riding the S&S Flat Tracker Himalayan at the Speed Ranch in Viola, WI. When asked why Jillian was keen on being part of the BTR program she responded,
“I am really intrigued with Royal Enfield’s affordability factor. I think the cost of riding can be pretty daunting to a lot of individuals and Royal Enfield is making major strides in the industry making motorcycles accessible to a generation of individuals who are financially “woke” if you will. I also appreciate and respect the enthusiasm Royal Enfield North America shows for women in motorcycling, and the opportunities they offer to everyday women riders such as myself.”
When she’s not at the track, Jillian works as a hospice nurse helping patients and families in their final journey. Recently engaged, Jillian spends her free time planning her wedding, riding MTB single track and chasing after her eight year-old daughter.
Jillian’s sponsors include Dunlop, S&S Cycle, Saddlemen, Gopher Glass, Vortex, PDR Performance, Race Tech Inc., Superior Tool Grinding, Jacks of Spade, Retrodyne, Warp 9, and Amanda Wilson Design. To follow her building, training, and racing progress, follow her Instagram.
THE PRO – MELISSA PARIS
Melissa began riding motorcycles much later than most. She learned to ride at age 20 and a year or so later she started competing in local club races. After a few years racing primarily on 125cc and 250cc machinery she made her professional debut in the 2009 Daytona 200. That same year she became the first woman to qualify for a World Supersport event.
Since then she’s had the opportunity to race in MotoAmerica, Spanish CEV championship and several 24 hour World Endurance events. In her spare time Melissa likes to train by riding motocross and flat track. She also has a two year old son who is already destined for two-wheel greatness.
When asked why Melissa was keen on being part of the BTR program she responded
“I’ve had the opportunity to ride a few Royal Enfield motorcycles in the last couple years and it’s always been such a fun change of pace for me. From the moment I rode the new INT 650 I’ve been dreaming of building one into a flat tracker. I’m so excited that I’m actually getting the opportunity to make it happen!”
Melissa’s sponsors include Dubya Wheels, Ohlins, and Evol Technology. You can follow Melissa’s adventures, on her Instagram.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER – LANAKILA MACNAUGHTON
Lanakila MacNaughton is a Portland-based photographer and motorcyclist. Involved in many outdoor sports from a young age, Lana began documenting her experiences through photography. After developing a passion for motorcycles in her early twenties, she started documenting the many facets of motorcycle culture through her lens and started The Women’s Moto Exhibit, a traveling photo exhibition highlighting female motorcycle culture.
Lana photographs her subjects with a medium format Hasselblad CM. Lana has also co-founded several grassroots motorcycle events including The Dream Roll and Paradise Road Show. Additionally, Lana is one of Royal Enfield’s Brand Ambassadors and uses her Himalayan to get around town. You can follow Lana’s building, training, and racing progress on her Instagram.
Total Motorcycle would like to thank Royal Enfield for inspiring us to bring this week’s Rider Inspiration Story to you! TMW wishes Andrea Lothrop, Jillian Deschenes, Melissa Paris and Lanakila Macnaughton the very best of luck in the race and fun times! As I’m Canadian, I have to be bias and wish Andrea Lothrop from Canada the best of success out there. 🙂