Pretty much anyone involved in last year’s Queensland Women’s Motocross Championships met or spoke to the Emerald Junior Motor Cycle Club’s energetic, upbeat, can-do Secretary Sharon Pease.
Like so many of the unsung heroes of the sport, Shaz (“don’t call me Sharon or people will think you’re angry with me”) was drawn behind the scenes of motocross because of her devotion and desire to facilitate the sport for her kids.
But once there though, her enthusiasm, positivity and people skills proved to be exactly the kind of positive force needed, and with that event a resounding success she’s looked at other women taking on greater challenges and bigger responsibilities in the sport, and is keen to challenge herself further.
By – MQ’s Media Guy
Shaz, you’re a bit unusual. We both know it. Who are you, and why are you the way you are?
I’m a Mum, and I’m a teacher’s aide at the local school, so my approach probably comes a lot with my job – I’ve got to be positive and keep children inspired and wanting to learn.
It’s also a trait that I picked up from my Mum. I’m pretty much a mirror image of her. My family, when I was growing up, was always heavily involved in our sport, and Dad always helped out when he could. It’ something I picked up as a parent – it’s really important to be involved, and to inspire your kids – I want my kids to seek positivity and excitement and happiness and passion in things that they do.
Who’s responsible for you being in this game? How’d you get involved in this behind-the-scenes motocross stuff?
Probably my husband Scott (Vice President of the Emerald MCC). He’s very much like me, he just lives and breathes motocross and he loves it and always has. He’s always there doing track prep, or being starter or scrutineer at club days. He’s always being really active or out there at the track, or helping someone fix a problem in the pits.
I was always out there watching the boys ride and parents have to step up. That’s what we’re all there for, to help out so that it’s something good for our kids and so that everyone can do it.
Why do volunteers give their time to clubs, and what advice do you have for clubs who want to keep volunteers?
For me I’m driven because I want my kids to be able to do what they love, and I love being able to see the little 5-year-old kids getting out the on their motorbikes, and the smiles on their faces. Then there are the men and women who go to work all week and motocross is their release. I want to be able to help them to do that. I can’t go and fix their motorbike, but I can Race Secretary the meeting or cook the hamburgers, or do whatever I need to do so that people can actually do what they love.
I think that what clubs need to do to keep their volunteers happy is to appreciate what they do. That’s probably the big one. I help out wherever and whenever I can, when it’s appreciated. When it’s expected, it’s like… “well… I’m still gonna do it, but…”
You need to show your volunteers that you appreciate what they do.
So, you’ve got to maintain that line between appreciating the help and expecting the help, and make sure you don’t cross it?
When you help out and you know you’re appreciated it makes you want to help out and do it again. Because you know it’s making a difference to people.
You really kicked some big goals with the Women's Queensland Champs at Emerald last year and gained a lot of experience with dealing with sponsors, media and riders. How do you look back on that experience and what were the biggest lessons for you?
I loved it. I love talking as you know, and I thrived on that sort of stuff. I would have put in exactly the same effort if it was a males’ event, but I love being able to promote the women because they just don’t have that exposure. So to be able to get out there in the wider MX community and really push for the women was great. The highlight for me was seeing how much everybody enjoyed it, and seeing them with their special shirts, and just the little extras that we did to make it special for them, like the singer on the Saturday night. The racing was awesome of course, but I liked being able to make it that extra bit special for the girls because they so deserved it.
The band was one of those little embellishments that show you’ve gone the extra mile beyond what was needed – and normally we’re all buried just doing what’s needed – to value-add to your event and make it even better. And that’s a sign isn’t it, that shows that there’s a lot of care behind it? Which is cool.
And not just me either, Mel Stewart, and everybody who was behind it just had such passion, because we just wanted to make it special. Like, we know we have a great track, and all that side of it we’ve got down pat - well, I like to think we have, anyway - but it was really important to everyone involved that we did make it special for the women. And we did.
What goals do you have for your ongoing involvement in racing?
I did a Race Secretary course end of last year, so I would love to step up and take on Race Secretary. I was Assistant Race Secretary and Assistant Time Keeper at the CQ series, so that’s probably something that does interest me – and learning off Kellie Baxter was just amazing because she is an amazing woman. So maybe stepping up to that next level. I already help out with the club days and the Central Highland rounds, so maybe helping out with the CQ series is my next goal that I’d like to get to.
What would you like to say to your cuzzies in the north and south about the way you’d like to see the whole NQ, CQ, SEQ relationship change between the three regions?
I think we think about our respective zones so much, when all of us could work together more. That’s something that I did really find with the women’s champs. Like I was on the phone to Brisbane going, “hey, can you come up?”, or on the phone with Cairns going, “hey can you come down?” I would love to see motocross grow, but the only way that is going to happen is if we all work together to make it grow across our state.
The other incentive is that, if we manage to sew the three regions together, then we actually stand to make all of our riders stronger, because the cream will rise to the top in each region, and then the cream takes on the cream from the other regions and then we end up with even better depth of talent than we already have.
Absolutely. I’ll use the 85s as an example because my son is in the 85s. The riders we’ve got here in CQ are amazing. We’ve got 4 or 5 who went down to the Aussies and are competitive in the top ten. We’ve got a 65 rider who got 4th in Australia. There’s a huge talent base here in CQ, and it would be fantastic if the zones worked together so we could get more riders from Brisbane to race our CQs. To push these boys, and for these boys to push them.
I think it’s easy for each of the zones to not appreciate what the other zones have to offer, and I’ve heard that as feedback. Like, when I walk around the pits at a CQ round on a Saturday afternoon – you know what I’m like I’ll talk to anyone – and sitting in people’s camps saying, “what can we do to make it better, how can we grow it?”
And that is a common thread, and how nice it would be if all the zones could work together work out ways for our calendars to complement each other. I know just on a local level, we are really starting work a lot with Blackwater on exactly that. Where we have massive water issues here, they have plenty of water, but they don’t have the people. So we’ve been sitting down with Jake, who’s now the President of Blackwater, and if need be, we can relocate our club days over to Blackwater, and we’ll provide the people, and they’ll provide the track. A perfect example of working together for the benefit of our members, so they still get to ride.
That’s brilliant, thanks very much for your time Shaz.
Head shots - Shaz (left) with regular partner-in-grime Mel Stewart.
Bike shot - Shaz chews the fat with Queensland Champion Nicole Kenny.