This 21-year old's cellular phone voice mail includes statements like: "I'm out mobbing doubles and hucking triples."
It's just one example of how much Steffani Burton, a 2004 Brainerd High School graduate, loves motocross racing. This racing jargon has become part of her vocabulary. Mobbing doubles means attempting to clear two jumps somewhat close together on one jump while hucking triples means jumping over three jumps a few feet apart in one attempt.
Burton's love of the sport went over the top in the fifth-annual 2007 AMA/Women's Motocross Association Drill Tech Cup Nov. 24-25 at Cycle Ranch MX Park in Floresville, Texas. Despite racing in two, six-lap motos with a broken top part of her right arm, she finished second overall in the 100cc and Up Womens Beginner class. She finished second in her first moto and third in the last one.
Steffani Burton raced her Suzuki RMZ 250 in the 2007 AMA/Women's Motocross Association Drill Tech Cup Nov. 24 at Cycle Ranch MX Park in Floresville, Texas.
She said that she raced her 2007 Suzuki RMZ 250 to the early lead in both motos. This also earned her $100, $50 for each hole shot.
In both of these motos, she said her right hand, her throttle hand, went numb.
"I led the whole race," she said. "Literally three-fourths before the finish, this girl from Honduras (Alexandra Lopez) passed me. I could not hang onto my bike anymore. I dropped my bike at the finish line."
Lopez, racing a Kawasaki, won both motos in the event, the largest women's motocross event in history.
Burton, who underwent surgery Nov. 29 to repair her shoulder and arm, also finished 12th overall in the 125cc D (Beginner) class.
Steffani Burton, a 2004 Brainerd High School graduate, had surgery on her shoulder Nov. 29 after having an accident on her motorcycle in March. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Brainerd's Justin Sweet, who travels with Burton, finished 11th in the 250cc B (Intermediate) class on his Honda CRF 450 and rode for an Oregon team that finished third in the Team 250cc Open.
Sweet raced for the Oregon team because there were no Minnesota riders in the event and the team needed another racer.
Burton said her doctors said she had a "warped sense of what pain really is" when they learned that she raced with this injury since March.
Her shoulder injury was a Bankart Labral Tear where the labrum, the rim or cuff of tissue around the shoulder socket, is torn off.
"Which means I broke the top part of my arm," she said.
She said an excessive amount of cartilage was removed and her rotator cuff was also repaired.
Her injury came at a track in Phoenix when a sweeping left hand turn on the start merged with a whoop (rhythm) section.
"I had my bike in fifth gear and tapped," she said. "All my bike had."
She said on the last whoop, her bike started swapping back and forth until it finally caught. She was thrown off and run over by several of the other racers because once again with the hole shot she had the early lead.
She said fellow racers said she looked like "a rag doll in the air."
Burton, who competed in volleyball, Alpine skiing, track and golf while in high school, has only been involved in motocross racing for a little more than a year.
After graduating from high school, she also won a championship freestyle reining title in August, 2004, in the 12th annual Youth National Arabian and Half Arabian Championship Horse Show in Albuquerque,
N.M., and the 2004 Canadian National Championship in Arabian Reining Seat Equitation 14-17 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
A senior design major at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz., Burton decided to get into motocross racing as something to do in her spare time.
"So I hopped on a dirt bike," she said.
Burton's inaugural race didn't start off well. She landed wrong on a double, dislocated her left shoulder and broke her arm.
"That was the first of the many injuries that I had in the last year and a half," she said.
Her injuries have included both wrists also.
When asked why she keeps racing, she replied, "I absolutely love it, I would love to be able to quit, but I can't.
"There's nothing like that feeling of being on the line, all the bikes next to you are revving and you're getting ready to start and the gate drops. There is nothing like that feeling in the world."
Burton admitted that sherides "scared" on the bike. "If I'm not scared, I'm not riding fast enough," she said. "What makes you fast is you twist and hold. If I come into a corner way too fast and I think I'm not going to do it, I just lay my bike over and go 'Wow.' It was scary coming in because I was way too fast but that is how I ride."
After she is cleared by her doctors to race in May, her goals this season are to place in the top 10 in all the amateur national events and win the Texas race. Her long-term goal is to remain in racing.
"I would love to stay in racing, love to advance and actually do something with it. Of course I need to have a real job to support it," she said.
Clint Wood, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5869.
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