Triple Supermoto Junior Champion Kim Adlhart talks to us about dealing with setbacks, the importance of letting your body heal – and having fun.
WHEEL SISTERS: Kim, please introduce yourself.
Kim: My name is Kim Adlhart, I am 22 years old and I am from Mattighofen in Upper Austria. I have been riding Supermoto since 2006 – I focus mostly on the Austrian Supermoto Championship, but I also participate in the German Championship and sometimes in Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, …
WHEEL SISTERS: The media call you Supermoto Gladiator. And to be honest, that is no understatement. You are 22 and you can call yourself a triple Supermoto Junior Champion. Kim, can you tell us a little bit about your way to these titles? How did you get into racing?
Kim: It all started in my hometown of Mattighofen – I watched a race with my dad because some of his friends were riding Supermoto. I still don’t know why, but when I saw these guys racing I already knew that I wanted to start too 😊 In the beginning it was a big fight with my mum to convince her, but somehow I managed it 😉 I took all the steps from the beginning, always moving on to a new class with a new bike: 50 ccm – 65 ccm – 85 ccm – 250 ccm – 350 ccm and now the “big” 450ccm. I was always strong in the trainings, but it took me a very long time to show my potential in the races, too. In 2012 I had my first big victory on the 85ccm bike – I participated in the European Championship and managed to win one race and get a 3rd place in the second race. From then on I was very determined and never stopped working on getting better and better. It was a very hard time with a lot of ups and downs and in 2016 I FINALLY got my first “Austrian Supermoto Junior Champion” title. 😊 All the hard work paid off with the Championship wins in 2016/2017/2018.
Kim about her start into motorsport: “There was never an extra class for girls, so I had no other choice than to race with the boys, and you don’t get “special treatment” there – all the kids are ambitious and everybody wants to win.”
WHEEL SISTERS: In 2019 you had a bad accident. Can you tell us a bit about the crash, your injuries and feelings? Furthermore: How was your way back to strength?
Kim: 2019 was a very difficult year. It was not one particular crash – several things came together. In the previous few years I had had a lot of hard crashes – some broken bones, a lot of bruises, some concussions, broken bones in my back, and so on… my mistake was that I never really waited for these injuries to heal. That’s why I felt very bad: I was not able to concentrate 100% during the races because my body was already so weak. So I had another two hard crashes. Then I had a lot of problems with my head/neck and back – dizziness, headache and numbness in my arms. It was just too risky to go on with racing. I made the decision to let all my injuries heal, to get fit 100% again, so I could fully concentrate on racing again. I think I really needed that time – I also learned how important it is to give your body enough rest 😊
WHEEL SISTERS: Your main discipline is Supermoto. But you participate in Motocross races too, right? In an interview you said, “the off-road parts of a Supermoto race are not my strengths”. Do you use the MX races as a training session?
Kim: For 2 years now I have been training motocross regularly, to work on my weaknesses and to get faster. I bought an own mx bike (YZ250F) because my 450ccm Supermoto has too much power for that. Currently I am not participating in MX races, but it is my plan for the future to test my skills and my speed in this category as well😊 I wanted to participate in some MX races this year but Covid19 cancelled my plans – so maybe next year.
WHEEL SISTERS: Your height is a huge topic in the motorbike scene. How do you compensate your height of 1.50 m on the bike? Or is it your secret power? 😊
Kim: We always have to make a lot of changes to my bike (suspension, seat…) so that I can at least nearly touch the ground – with the standard height it would be very difficult for me, especially at the race starts. Of course, it would be very nice to be 10 or 20 cm taller because that would make things easier, but at some point I created my own styles… and you can’t change it so I had to accept that I am that small. Everything has its benefits: in my case it’s my weight. On the asphalt section I don’t think it’s a problem if you are small. But sometimes in the off-road section I fall in the corners, when its slippery and my legs are not long enough 😊
WHEEL SISTERS: What has had the biggest impact on improving your riding skills?
Kim: Looking back, I am really thankful that I grew up with very fast boys in this sport. Even if it was tough back then. There was never an extra class for girls, so I had no other choice than to race with the boys, and you don’t get “special treatment” there – all the kids are ambitious and everybody wants to win. As a girl you get used to it and you can really learn a lot. It’s very important to have people who believe in you and also tell you that – because from time to time there are moments when you don’t believe in yourself or when you don’t know what to do. To have somebody who helps you and cares for your mental health and makes you feel good is very important!
With a height of 1.50 m Kim and her team have to make a lot of changes to the bike so that she can at least nearly touch the ground.
WHEEL SISTERS: What does motorsport give you personally? What aspects of it do you love the most?
Kim: When I put on my helmet and go on the track, nothing exists anymore except me and my bike. It doesn’t matter what else is happening in my life or how difficult times are – I can forget everything else and enjoy the moment.
It doesn’t matter which kind of sport you do, it just makes you ambitious and you are always setting goals and you never stop working on yourself – that’s something you can also use in your private life.
WHEEL SISTERS: In your opinion, what does a Supermoto rider need to have in order to become successful?
Kim: The most important thing is that you love and enjoy what you do, “fun is the key”. You can’t force yourself to be successful.
And also: a lot of training is important, and not only on the bike – don’t underestimate your fitness level or mental strength. Never give up, it doesn’t matter what happens. Everybody has their own setbacks – you just have to accept yours and make the best out of it.
WHEEL SISTERS: Have you experienced any sexism when racing, if so, how do you deal with it? Does it bother you?
Kim: I think the problem with girls or women in motorsport is that they are always underestimated. We have to earn our respect way more than a boy or a man. If a girl tries to race with men or tries to get faster than men, they are often laughed at. There were boys who couldn’t deal with it when I was faster, so they blockpassed me hard in the races and I crashed.
That’s sometimes really frustrating. But when somebody laughs at me or doesn’t think I can ride it doesn’t bother me – it motivates me even more 😊
WHEEL SISTERS: How do you spend your free time? Do you also ride a bike in conventional traffic?
Kim: In my free time I like cycling, hiking in the mountains or riding my bikes – I always try to stay fit and in shape and these are the things that I love😊 Sometimes I also like to watch series or read a good book and just enjoy life.
I always get asked if I have a motorbike driving license – I haven’t had enough time for it yet but it is definitely on my to-do list! 😊
WHEEL SISTERS: What advice would you give girls or women wanting to get into motorsport?
Kim: To all girls and women who would like to get into motorsport: JUST DO IT!!!!!!
I always see that girls don’t believe that they can do it because everybody from the outside tells them that it is not a sport for them.
This is really a pity because I think that a lot of women have the potential to be fast!
At first you just have to dare to start and believe in yourself – why shouldn’t you do it if it is your dream and you’re having fun? 😊
Please write to me on social media if you have any questions or if you need some tips 😊
WHEEL SISTERS: What are your sporting goals in the coming months?
Kim: 2020 was a really strange year. At the beginning of the season I was top fit, really motivated and prepared for the coming race season. Then I had a serious lung infection – I’m still struggling with that now. I don’t have any big goals for the next couple of months: I just want to work on getting 100% fit again – I want to improve my fitness to be ready for the next race season in 2021!