Lakehead Student Hadenko Crosses Borders on Back of a Motorcycle
13 December 2003 - Thunder Bay
Lakehead Student Hadenko crosses borders on back of a motorcycle By David Trifunov - The Chronicle-Journal (republished with permission) December 15, 2003 Mandy Hadenko struggles to make ends meet like many students. She works part-time -- harder over the summer -- studies during the day and lives modestly. Well, except for that gigantic red, white, blue and gold trophy.
The Lakehead University history student is also a champion motocross racer who claimed the monstrosity (she admits it's a little tacky) at the Women's Motocross League Championship Cup last month near San Antonio, Texas. "I had an incredible trip and I'm still enjoying my six-foot high trophy," she said with a hint of irony. "It's taller than me. . . . I worked hard for that trophy and I'm quite proud of it. It's in a corner of my living room. You can't miss it." The master's student started racing competitively at 17 after riding her first dirt bike at eight. Now 26, she's a veteran of the Canadian championships who won both of her amateur class races in Texas and finished 15th overall. But it didn't begin as she would've hoped. Hadenko crashed the Thursday before racing was to start and went into the weekend wasn't sure how she would rebound. Her worries proved unnecessary as she crossed the line first in the first race. "I couldn't believe I'd just won," she said from her Toronto home yesterday, "and it just sort of snowballed from there."
Having such success was ultimately gratifying for Hadenko, who is researching cancer screening methods in post-war Ontario for her master's degree. Already a certified teacher who is supplying in Toronto, Hadenko worked all summer promoting the sport across Canada for Inside Motocross magazine. "This year was the hardest," she admitted. "I bought a brand-new motorcycle in the spring and I didn't ride it until the fall." But there is no way she's going to stop. There was $20,000 US prize money for the professionals in Texas. Racers ranged from age four to 40, amateur and professional, during the largest women-only racing event in the world. "I've never seen that many women racing in one event," she said. "It was really quite amazing. "It's an amazing facility and the people there are very supportive of women," she added. "I will go again, for sure." Speed Vision produced a one-hour broadcast featuring highlights of the championship weekend. It is scheduled to air on Tuesday.