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Heidi Cooke lands factory ride with Kawasaki


PLEASANT VALLEY Heidi Cooke has been breaking down barriers ever since she jumped onto a dirt bike.

But her latest one is perhaps her biggest yet.

The 26-year-old Brookfield resident recently inked a factory sponsorship deal with Kawasaki for the coming season as she attempts to win an unprecedented sixth Canadian womens motocross title.

The deal is a rarity as manufacturers dont have a strong tradition of fully backing female riders.

Its nice to finally not have to fund it and not have the money come out of my pocket; to know the work is paid off, she said. You work hard to get to this point and to have it happen is everybodys dream.

Kawasaki will cover the cost of maintaining her race and practice bikes, as well as the cost of sending her and a mechanic to the five CMRC (Canadian Motosport Racing Club) Womens National Series events, and the several WMA (AMA womens division) events shell attend this season.

Cooke, the most successful female motocross racer ever in Canada, said the deal should go a long way in helping her reach that sixth title.

When you have good people backing you the only thing left to do is ride, which is what I love to do, she said. This will take all the other stresses out and just let me focus on riding.

Funding and parts will be supplied through Freedom Cycle in Halifax, who are equally as happy to have Cooke riding a green machine as she is to be on one.

Freedom Cycle owner Randy MacLeod said he has been wanting to do a deal with Cooke for several years, especially after what she did for his daughter at a motocross race several years ago.

Cooke had just finished a race and was sweaty, dirty and tired. Still she didnt hesitate to sign a shirt for MacLeods daughter when she asked for an autograph.

She is just exellent for the sport, especially here in Atlantic Canada, he said. To have someone of her calibre and with her attitude is excellent. She will do anything for anybody.

MacLeod said though the deal is only for this season (most manufacturers only sign one-year deals) it could lead to more in the following seasons should each side be satisfied with the other.

Kawasaki was facing plenty of competition in trying to get Cooke on their side.

All the manufacturers know who she is and everyone holds her in high regard, MacLeod said.

Cooke said she hopes the deal will also help her to better finishes at the four of the six WMA races she plans to compete in, helping increase her exposure in the United States.

I love Canada but personally (the US) is where Id like to be because they just have a little more there, like everything.

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