Vernon rider needs bigger trophy shelf

by Marissa Baecker


B.C.’s Victoria Hett competes in the 2012 ISDE in Germany.

While street riders are slowly making their way back onto the road, the dirt riders have been racing for almost a month and Vernon’s Victoria (Tory) Hett is still setting records.

Tory first appeared on my radar a few years back when she competed in Mexico in her first Six Days Enduro. After contracting Montezuma’s revenge, she vomited her way through the race, spent the evenings getting intravenous fluids and became the first Canadian woman to complete the race after it was called on Day 5 because of drug cartel shootings too close to the event route.

2012 ISDE Canadian Women's Trophy Team, Victoria Hett (l), Almeda Rive (c) and Amber Giroux (r) at the end of Day 1 competition

2012 ISDE Canadian Women’s Trophy Team, Victoria Hett (l), Almeda Rive (c) and Amber Giroux (r) at the end of Day 1 competition

Two years later she would again take on the Six Days in Germany and I would have the opportunity to see for myself what it takes to compete. Hett would be the only member of the Canadian women’s team to finish, ranking in the top ten of women worldwide, and finishing from a start line of 36 counties, 700 riders and 23 ladies with the ladies’ winner being ten years her senior in age and experience.


Last weekend, Hett notched another first while continuing to make racing history.  The Stumpjumpers Desert 100, held in Washington state, has been attracting off-road riders since 1969, including Hett.

“I’ve been going back since I was eight years old riding the poker run on my PW80,” said Hett. “The Desert 100 has an energy about it that draws me back year after year. ”

The event is more than just a race and offers an entire weekend of activity including a family poker that draws about 3000 riders. The main event, the Desert  100, sees about 1500 riders leave the starting gates.

One of the best spectacles of the event is “the mini city that pops up in the middle of the desert” as participants camp out for the weekend. Tents, campers and R.V.’s pop up and civilization for dirt riders is created.

For Hett, returning to the race this year was all about redemption. During the competition last year, Hett’s bike ran out of gas ten miles from the finish line and this year’s competition threw in a few hurdles as well.

Recalling a start of around 800 riders, Hett was confident she was in the top ten as she made her way by pit row.  Due to the high speed of the competition, she made some adjustments to her bike’s suspension the day before competition and “it was working awesome.”

At about the half way mark of the course, feeling confident that she was leading the ladies, her perceived first place position would flash before her eyes as she catapulted over the bars of her bike at full speed after her front tire hit a hidden rock.

“My steering damper was stopping my front end from completely tucking under,” said Hett. “This happened probably closer to 50 km/hr by the time I could no longer control the bike. I hit the ground ahead of my bike  and after I stopped, the bike caught up to me and flopped over me. ”

Much to her surprise, her adrenaline fuelled body was in tact and feeling good so she picked her bike back up, straightened out the bars and continued riding.

“I rode smart but fast for the rest of the lap,” said Hett.
To her surprise, while crossing the finish line, Hett recalled thinking “there is no way it can be over already,” but it was and an even bigger surprise awaited her on stage.

“I received my finishers t-shirt up on stage and was announced as the first lady finisher! It was surreal to have that kind of redemption after last year, and to top it off I felt as fresh as I would have if I had of napped all day”

Those would be famous last words as a few days after the race, Hett said, “my neck is waging war on me.”

Next big race for Hett this season is the Big Kahuna in Kamloops  April 21 followed by a race trip to Las Vegas in May.  While the 2013 ISDE in Italy may not make the agenda this year, Hett did mention the word X-Games.

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