In our continuing and now final installment of “Getting to know” is Caroline Olsen. Let me start off with Caroline is so down to earth and bubbly you wouldn’t know she is this fierce and badass competitor in a sport dominated by testosterone. One thing that strikes me about the truly talented and dedicated individuals in this sport is that those that have accomplished so much are the most humble and kind individuals I’ve met, which in my opinion is surprising. It reminds me of what I’ve always told my sons, if you work hard, practice and give your 100% you needn’t speak of your accomplishments, they speak for you. Caroline is indeed one of these individuals and with her coach and friend, Jason Pridmore by her side we will be seeing a lot of this incredible woman racer in the future. Hailing from Sande, Norway Caroline rides for Team Hammer contending in the 2016 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North America Supersport 600 Championship competing under the M4 LOXY Suzuki Banner.
CC: For many new to riding, they might not know who you are can you give us some background and a summary of your accomplishments?
CO: I’m the typical Norwegian chick. I was into handball and horse riding when I was younger. During the winter I would go skiing or snowboarding with my friends and when we were lucky enough to have a couple of good & warm summer days you would find me surrounded by family at my grandfathers cabin by the ocean. Nothing in my life indicated that I could potentially be a future roadracer, but I have always loved speed and adrenaline.
CC: When did you get into riding and why?
CO: When I turned 16 I was old enough to get my 125cc motorcycle drivers license. I didn’t have any previous experience with motorcycles before then and I guess you could say that I kind of fell into this sport by accident. I got my license mainly to get back and forth to the stable quicker, but I was reckless and stupid. I got in trouble for speeding and I ended up crashing a lot. The last time I crashed was with my little brother on the back on our way to school, not cool! We were ok, but my mum was furious. She said that I could not ride any more motorcycles before I learned how, and that’s when she thought she sent me to a traffic course, but it was actually a license course for roadracing. That was in 2008 and I’ve been in love with the sport ever since!
CC: What do you feel is your greatest moment or accomplishment while you were racing and why?
CO: I started racing in Norway back in 2008. In 2009 I won the Rookie 600 cup and in 2011 I won the Norwegian Superstock 600 Championship. I placed 2nd in the Swedish championship in 2012 and got a 3rd place in the Nordic championship that same year. I got the chance to come and race in the US in 2013, so I packed my things & sold most of my stuff to follow my dream of becoming a professional roadracer. I’ve lived a great life with so many good memories already, but my greatest accomplishment has to be when I won the finale race of the Norwegian championship back in 2011 and secured the gold medal with only a couple of points margin to the runner up. What a great day!
CC: What challenges do you face as a woman racer?
CO: I’ve had my fair share of challenges. It’s hard to find people & teams that believe in me like they would believe in any other male racer. I’ve experienced sabotage on my bike causing me to crash and I’ve seen male racers take stupid risks trying to pass me just because they have too much of a ego to have a girl beat them. With that said, there is a “woman improvement” movement out there and girls like Danica Patrick’s in Nascar, Marit Strømøy in F1 boat and Elena Myers in MotoAmerica have most defiantly made it easier for girls to come up through male dominated sports to make a name for themselves.
CC: Do you have any pre-riding routines and/or superstitions? For example, Aaron Yates used to wear the same socks until he crashed, do you have a list of things you do on and off your bike?
CO: No I don’t, but maybe I should find something? Whatever I can do to go faster, I’ll do it!
CC: Who do you admire, consider a hero or a mentor?
CO: I’m so lucky to have a lot of great people around me, but I owe everything to Jason Pridmore. He helped me get a ride here in the US back in 2013 even though he didn’t know me. He opened up his home and has been a great coach and mentor ever since. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for him.
CC: What is something about you that people might not know?
CO: I crashed 28 times my first year of racing.
CC: What is your favorite bike of all time you’ve ever ridden? (Who is your current sponsor?)
CO: I fell in love with the Suzuki gsx-r 600 I was riding back in Norway last season. The bike was amazing!
CC: Why do you feel rider education is so important?
CO: It’s all about safety. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re a street rider or a professional roadracer. When you’re on a motorcycle you’re exposed, and it’s all about minimizing the risks. My whole life with motorcycles started because I was reckless. I wasn’t only a danger to myself but to people around me. That’s why it’s important for me to share my experience, tell my story and make motorcycle racers aware of the dangers out there so they don’t make the same mistakes I did and only hope of being one of the lucky ones.
CC: What are your hobbies away from riding?
CO: I love horses, being outdoors and spending time with my family. Norway is an amazing country and If/when I get more time I want to see more of what this country has to offer.
CC: What keeps you grounded and focused?
CO: My family. Racing is my life and passion, but It’s important to know that there is more to life as well. I’m not sure I could be over here in America chasing my dreams if It wasn’t for the support from my family. I’ve worked so hard for my accomplishments and to get where I am today, I don’t ever want to take this life for granted.
CC: What do you want to do after racing?
CO: I could see myself staying in this sport when my career is over. I’ve learned so much from working with my sponsors, marketing, logistics & media, and I believe that my experience one day might be helpful to others. I’m not sure where I would be if I had never discovered racing though, I can’t picture myself with a better life then the one I’m living right now.