CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Shayna Texter went into last year’s American Flat Track motorcycle season simply hoping to regain her confidence. She won a series-high five races and made a run at the championship, so Texter most certainly accomplished her goal.

Her breakout success last season pushed Texter to take it a step further this year.

Texter formed her own factory-supported team this year that will debut Thursday in the AFT Singles class on a special TT course inside the trioval at Daytona International Speedway. It’s a daunting debut because Texter struggled last year on TT and short tracks, and those circuits played a role in her failing to become the AFT’s first female champion in its 63 years of existence.

Texter faded to third in the final AFT Singles standings, but the season was far bigger than anything the Pennsylvania native could have expected after three winless years racing in the Twins class.

“The goal was really just to get the trust back in the motorcycle and my confidence,” Texter told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from the Florida race track.

“When I started racing twins from 2014 to 2016, they were rough seasons for me. The bike was never suited for me, it was never up to speed in R&D and the team around me was new. It was a challenge to the point where I was not trusting myself as a motorcycle rider, I was not trusting the motorcycle, that I was going to be safe riding them, so the ultimate goal last year was really just to get my confidence back.”

A switch back to the Singles division with team Richie Morris Racing was the trick.

“It’s a lot lighter of a motorcycle, it’s not so much smaller, but it’s narrow and it fits my little 5-foot tall body a little better,” she said.

Texter then won again, but it was on a mile track, where she excels. Then she won two more times, again on miles. Then she won at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park on a half-mile track in Weedsport, New York and Texter felt like herself again.

“That was the first victory that I was really impressed with myself,” she said. “Winning the miles doesn’t really impress me. It was winning somewhere else that really made me proud.”

Although she was in the title race until the finale, her failure to advance over the course of the season to six main events on TT and short tracks cost her a shot at the championship. Undaunted, she plowed ahead in forming her own team with support from Husqvarna.

“It’s always been a dream and goal of mine to one day own my own team,” she said. “Coming off a strong year like last year, it just seemed like it was the right time to do it. Eventually when I am done racing, I would like to continue my team and help up and coming riders.”

Texter is 27 and a third-generation racer. Her father, the late Randy Texter, raced motorcycles on pavement and dirt and won two AMA US Twins Sports championships. Ray “Tex” Texter was her paternal grandfather and raced motorcycles. Glenn Fitzcharles, her maternal grandfather, is a member of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and won five United Racing Club championships. Fitzcharles is in Daytona this week assisting Texter’s team.

Her brother, Cory, races in the AFT Singles class, and boyfriend, Briar Bauman, is in the Twins.

But Texter is the big ticket right now. She’s the only female in the American Flat Track series to win a race, and is one of just two female racers. She said falling short of becoming the first woman to win a title was “heartbreaking” but she’s determined to reach the pinnacle.

“There’s a lot of women in motorsports and it’s truly inspiring to see women in their particular sport making a difference,” Texter said. “That continues to inspire me and my sport.”

Texter wants to be a role model for female racers and show them they can make it to any level. How does that happen?

“Just keep riding and winning,” Texter said. “The ultimate goal is to show, ‘Hey, if I can do it, you can do it, too.’ More and more girls are coming up through the amateur ranks and in the future I’d like to see more in the pro ranks chasing these boys.”

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.