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Mari Alvarez: You won’t know if you love motocross until you try it

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MARI Alvarez has always been a fan of motocross and continues to show her love for the sport as the only female rider of the newly reorganized Marianas Racing Association or MRA.

In the past, she said, there were more female riders.  In the early 2000, she added, there was a “Power Puff” division just for women and it had up to 10 members, but most of them have relocated to Guam or the states since then. 

“There’s a couple who are still here,” Alvarez said. “It’s really just a matter of funding and right timing to bring them back. Although bikes are a little costly, there are always cheap deals for used ones out there.”

As a rider,  Alvarez had raced at Cow Town, the previous location for races on Saipan, and had also seen action on Tinian, Rota and Guam. She topped the Saipan race in 2005.

Her love of the sport was hugely influenced by her husband, Cuki Alvarez, who is also the founder of the mixed martial arts gym, Trench Tech. “I was always a big fan since dating Cuki back in the day. I’d known him as a racer, both in motocross and jet skiing. Then, once we had our sons, they started riding, too so eventually it encouraged me to join the fun and adventure. I got tired of just washing their dirty gear and prepping their meals. Like the saying goes, ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, join 'em!’ Then it became even more of a family thing for us!"

 

Mari Alvarez smiles next to her bike during a break from the practice runs in Marpi. Contributed photo

 

 

Mari Alvarez is ready to go. Contributed photo

 

She is the only female rider on the island at the moment, but Mari does not mind. “I had raced back then so I am used to numerous bikes on the track and as long as we are just ‘practicing,’ it’s not too scary to ride with the guys.”

She added, “I believe that as long as you are interested to learn and ride, anyone can do it. It boils down to a good running bike and lots of practice.”

So far, Mari's granddaughter, her sons' girlfriends and some of the other MRA members’ daughters have started practicing at a baseball field track, which is the beginner track at the moment.

“Once they are confident enough with their skills and handling the bike, then they’ll definitely be riding on the regular track sometime soon,”  Mari said. “Motocross is an awesome workout and definitely a fun sport. I say to the ladies out there, you won’t know if you love it until you try it. And remember God made dirt, so dirt won’t hurt!”

Mari encourages all interested women to join the motocross club.

“I am blessed to have a family of racers. My husband and son made it that much faster and easier for me to learn. They continue to give me tips here and there on how I can improve my skills. My KLX140 is a great trail bike and that’s one other thing I’ve really enjoyed back in the day — trail riding and going through rough terrains. I can’t wait to go out and test it on the trails.”

MRA club adviser Cuki Alvarez said women are allowed to race with men if necessary. In Mari's case, she has a smaller bike than the men's. She owns a KLX140, which Cuki said will allow her to race with the teenage boys in the 85cc class.

“Motocross is fun!” Cuki said. “My wife is 49 years old and really enjoys the freedom and adrenaline rush she gets from riding her motorcycle. I know there are a lot of women out there who may be interested, too. We just need to get the word out and encourage them to give it a try. There are lots of easy-to-ride, less powerful motocross bikes that they can choose from, and they can easily learn to ride it and get good at. I invite all women to come down every Sunday to the Kan Pac track, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and see just how fun and cool it is riding on a nice safe course.”

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