Name: Issey Wiriyahyuttamar
Location: Los Angeles
A little bit about myself:
Five years ago, I immigrated to the U.S. from Thailand after receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business. I decided to come to the U.S. because I wanted to explore the world outside of my own country. However, with English being my second language, living in the U.S. on my own was intimidating. So I decided to attend an AuPair or Live-in childcare program. Through this program, I lived and worked with a host family in New Jersey for one year to become proficient in English and become more intimate with American culture. I learned so many things through this program and it enabled me to eventually move to L.A. to live on my own and return to school to obtain my MBA. I’ve had a passion for riding as long as I can remember, but in Thailand, women are not generally encouraged to ride big bikes. Because of this, I’ve taken advantage of the freedom living in the U.S. has given me and now own two sport bikes, a Triumph Daytona 675 and Kawasaki Ninja 500.
How did you get into riding?
When I was seven years old, I remember sitting on a bike and pretending like I was riding it, making the shifting and engine noises, even though the engine wasn’t running. I was curious to find out how the machine worked, so I started to learn how to ride on my own in an empty parking lot when I was in Thailand. My first bike was an old Honda 105cc with only four gears, but no clutch. My only previous riding experience had been on a bicycle, but I taught myself how to ride anyway. It was not too difficult. I had some close calls though and almost hit a big truck, but I survived and have been hooked on motorcycles since. I rode to school everyday when I was in high school on a Honda Tena, a 110cc bike. It was fun and I loved it. When I was in college, I rode a scooter because I could store my books and cloths underneath my seat. I was a cheerleader, so having the extra storage space was nice riding to and from practice. Two years after moving to the states, I bought a 250 Zongshen Chinese bike. It was my first sport bike with a clutch and a bigger engine. I learned how to ride it on my own and I never crashed, but I did stall the engine until I grasped where the friction zone was. I attended the MSF Basic RiderCourse a week after buying the bike and in less than a year, I felt confident enough to upgrade to a Ninja 500. I crashed the Ninja 500 in the canyons one day, but I eventually fixed it and still have it. I really enjoy riding the more powerful bikes, so I upgraded again three months after buying the 500 to a 2008 Triumph Daytona 675, which I currently ride most often. I’m really in love with this sexy machine. I joined Moto Riders, a riding group in my area. During the first ride I attended, we rode through Cuyama and Ojai, about a 300-mile round-trip, which I did on my Ninja 500. I just started doing track days two months ago with GirlClutch on the Triumph and I really love it. I can’t wait for my next track day!
What are your goals as far as riding goes?
I like watching professional motorcycle road racing like Moto GP. I’ve always dreamed of being a motorcycle road racer. My goal is to be able to enter at least one novice race. Even if I don’t win the race, I want to push myself and prove my ability. Depending on how that goes, maybe I’ll even enter more races.
What are you looking forward to this season?
I’m looking forward to doing more track days to improve my skills. I want to find a good, cheap track bike to practice with because I want to get more serious about riding on the track.
Which women (not necessarily riders) inspire you the most and why?
All women who ride inspire me and have inspired me since before I started riding. I’ve always appreciated how brave and confident women riders are. I would like to give credit to Rachael Westfall, who inspired me the most when it came to riding and doing track days. She is the first woman rider I talked to and felt comfortable with. She gave me a lot of tips that have helped my riding skills and she has even helped me to get to the track by transporting me and my bike to two track day events. Thank you Rachael!! You are a great person with skills!!
I love to ride with no particular destination in mind. I just like to go as far as I can, and then try to find my way back. The speed is addicting! I also sometimes indulge in junk food, but am trying to avoid it! lol
Any hobbies/interests outside of riding?
I love shooting at the L.A. gun club, playing sports such as basketball, soccer, biking, hiking, snowboarding, skiing and etc. I love dancing to hip-hop and even do some b-girl or break dancing. I’m not a pro or anything, but I have fun!
Do you have any pre-track day/race day routines?
I usually take my bike to the shop to get it inspected. Then I make sure I have all my gear, tools, foods and drinks ready.
Any advice for women looking to start riding or going to track days?
Do not be afraid to start and don’t think you’re too old to do it. Fear gets old, but age doesn’t matter! I do recommend, though, that anyone who wants to start riding should take the MSF class. It’s a great way to learn how to survive and be safe when riding on the street. You gain useful skills and be more confident afterward. Always “be careful” and please, never drink and ride or ride without all your gear. I think that riders who wear all the proper gear look better and are more protected than someone wearing only a riding vest and jeans. Lastly, please always ride within your limits. If you want to do track days, you’ll need a good leather suit, gauntlet gloves and over-the-ankle boots. Find organizations to do the track day with, then rock and roll!! Go for it!