1995 was a year that changed my life forever. In that year I had been introduced to my first motorcycling experience. I am not like most of the riders you hear about today that have been riding since they were in diapers. I was well into my awkward preteen years and it took seeing a supercross on TV and making the connection to a couple of old rust buckets in the garage to capture my interest.
You see motorcycles were a huge part of my family on my paternal side and these old rust buckets would be an important connection point to many of the males in my family. My grandfather had been an owner of a motorcycle shop in Norwalk, California in the 50s and 60s and sponsored many racers in all facets of motorcycle racing – from flat track to hare scrambles and anything in-between. He himself also raced, and at a young age (maybe too young) had my dad and uncle racing. My aunt also rode, and even my grandma threw a leg over sometimes!
1995 would mark the return of the iconic Lake Elsinore Grand Prix and my dad would rebuild one of those cobweb collectors to race in the vintage and legends classes. It was a 1972 Husqvarna 450 and was adorned with a metal fuel tank, which is iconic to that era of Husqvarna Motorcycles. My dad spent almost 11 months working with a vintage motorcycle shop in San Marcos, California rebuilding the machine and restoring it to its former glory. I remember the very first time that I ever rode on a motorcycle. My dad finally got one of the bikes home and started it up. I hopped on with him and we ripped around the properties and through a hole in the back fence
which opened into some rugged, hilly, rocky, terrain. It was loud as hell and vibrated like a jack hammer. All the neighborhood boys had the newest Kawasakis and Yamahas, and laughed at my dad’s old Husky. But I really didn’t care. I didn’t have an understanding of what “cool” was yet and to me this was it. It was also the first time I ever thought my dad was cool (and he was a rodeo cowboy, military veteran, fire fighter!). Plus, the Husky was foreign to me and everyone else, somehow making it cool in its own right. It was also the first time I ever felt connected to a place outside of the US – Sweden. I knew I was part Swedish myself, but a Swedish dirtbike really made me feel cultured and unique.
Shortly after my dad alongside my grandfather returned to racing at that Lake Elsinore Grand Prix and our interest in watching Supercross and Motocross on TV grew, my dad got my brother and I our first dirtbike (which we had to share). It was a 1990 Yamaha PeeWee 80 and it was ugly as sin. My dad tried to modernize it for us by adding some modern blue plastics to the pink, purple and white colorway – but it just got uglier. Plus, I might have been already a bit too tall for it at 10 years old, but we rode it into the ground (and once into a tree). Not too many years later, I graduated to a shiny new TTR125 which was the best bike for me as a young teenager with the skill level I had. I enjoyed pinning it through the wash but wasn’t too fond if taking it off jumps yet. We enjoyed growing up with enough space to have an off-road loop and our own mini moto track which was built by an industry track building professional. We also enjoyed trips to the desert and local moto tracks. I, however, feel my skill level on a bike is still somewhere between where I was at during my time on the PW80 and the TTR125.
As time went on I got more interested in other things besides riding dirtbikes (like dirtbike riders) and stopped riding. I went off to college and upon graduating found myself working as a personal banker (completely unrelated to any career path I had ever wanted to pursue in life). In 2011, after a very unusual twist of fate, a random stranger reconnected me to an old friend who had told me that there was a job opening at his company for a marketing coordinator – that company was Husqvarna Motorcycles. “HUSQVARNA STILL MAKES MOTORCYCLES?!” I exclaimed. Having been submerged into dirtbikes and motocross my whole life, I surprisingly had never wanted work in the industry. But Husqvarna Motorcycles?! This was the coolest brand, with such a rich heritage and provided a deep connection to the men in my family. I couldn’t believe they were still in existence and seeking to remerge in the scene. I took the job with Husqvarna (then owned by BMW), became a rockstar in my family and learned from some of the industries coolest people (including current colleague, Andy Jefferson). After a couple of years, the brand was sold to Pierer Industries and was realigned under the KTM Group umbrella. Through the transition I took on a role in KTM sales department but it wasn’t long before the Husqvarna brand was ready to take off again and I found myself heading up the marketing efforts, with the support of industry legend, Mark Blackwell.
Now the marketing manager for North America, I have a small but solid team that absolutely lives and breathes all things Husqvarna and together
we look after all aspects of marketing including PR, advertising, social media, motorsports, events and other marketing communications activities. We cover all segments of the brand from off-road to street, racing to lifestyle. I also serve on the executive board of a not-for-profit corporation known as the U.S. Motorcycle Coaching Association aimed at growing the sport of motorcycling. This is our fourth year being a part of Babes in the Dirt, and my third year attending. It is our favorite event of the year because the people are rad and the experience is priceless.