A FEW ACCOLADES — Julia Krzemien of East Concord poses with a few of her awards, of which she has won several hundred. Photos by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — The word “faster” is common word in the vocabulary of soon-to-be freshman at Springville-Griffith Institute Julia Krzemien. Krzemien has been a motocross rider since she was four years old. At a young age, while sitting in a car seat on the expressway with her family, she wouldn’t tolerate another car passing her family.
“Go faster daddy! Someone just passed us,” Her mom recollected Krzemien’s saying during her days as a toddler. “Like you could never let a car pass you on the highway. That kind of attitude has been inside of her, her entire life.”
Not only does she race, she wins. In the last three years alone, Krzemien has won 90 races. In an upstairs bedroom at the Krzemien house, there are more than 100 trophies. The rider has won races against boys and girls, during her career.
When she was 10 years old, she took first place overall in the fall series, competing in the Schoolgirl class, riding against some female riders that were five years older than her. During the same fall series, she competed in two other classes, the Junior Mini and the Super Mini Open 9-15. In both of those classes, she competed against not only older riders, but boys, too.
AROUND SHE GOES — Krzemien has been racing for her entire life, since she was old enough to take after her dad and sister, before her.
She took second place in the Junior Mini, out of 60 riders. Krzemien was the only girl among the 60 competitors in the class and she finished 4 points behind the series winner. She also plays basketball, but said that motocross is her first love.
“I’ve been doing it my whole life. I just love that feeling, before you go on the line and when you’re out there [racing],” Krzemien said, about why she loves motocross. “Just those butterflies that you get; there’s nothing else like it. It’s a lot more daring than all the other sports.”
Krzemien is a part of the Western New York Motocross Association, where she competes from April 1 – Oct. 31. The season is separated into three sections; a spring series, summer series and a fall series. There are four – 10 races in each series; the number of races in each series changes, from season to season and year to year. Krzemien and her family attend a race every weekend from April 1 until the season ends in October. Her mom said that it is a big commitment but their whole family is on board.
“Her dad (Jerome) is the mechanic. I’m the head cook and camper cleaner,” said Julia’s mom Kathy Krzemien, about the commitment every weekend. “If the family doesn’t support the racer, it won’t work. It takes a whole family to be a motocross racer, because it really is a whole family effort. Everyone knows that every Sunday, there’s a race. It’s not a question of ‘What are we doing this weekend?’ it’s ‘Where’s the race this weekend?’ Some people do it without complete family support, but this makes it more fun. It’s a picnic, every weekend.”
While she has won more than 90 races, over just the last three years alone; she has also won a number of series titles, as well. In 2010, Julia Krzemien took all three titles; winning the spring series, summer series and fall series, in the Schoolgirl class. Her performance also gave her the Overall Series Championship, which adds up the points from the entire year. When she moved up from the Schoolgirl class, she won the Super Mini and Senior Mini summer series championship, competing against mostly boys in 2011.
Those are just a few of the number of series championships she owns. Since 2010, she has won two overall titles and 10 series titles. The SGI freshman is in position to win the overall title in the Woman 12 and up class, for the second year in a row. Currently, Krzemien is competing in two classes; the Schoolboy and Woman 12 and up. She said that her top goal is to qualify for the Loretta Lynn Amateur Motocross Championships in Tennessee. To qualify for Loretta’s; she would have to go through the area qualifier and then finish well enough in the regional qualifier to advance to the largest amateur race in the country.
“I just need to keep riding, and racing,” said Julia about getting progressing in the sport.” she said. “I’ve been trying different things lately, like standing up more and letting off the clutch more. Just little things, that make you go faster.”
Krzemien said that other elite motocross riders in country have a number of factors, that help them advance to Loretta’s. The majority of the riders that make it to that mecca of amateur motocross come from the southern states. Those riders can ride all year long, while riders up in the north can only ride when Mother Nature cooperates. A number of riders also are homeschooled, so that education can be tied around motocross.
When Krzemien isn’t on a dirt bike, she can be found on a basketball court. She was one of the leading scorers on the junior varsity basketball team. Krzemien has been playing on the team since seventh grade.
Along with motocross, the East Concord resident has competed in a number of different racing disciplines, including snowcross and flat track racing. The rider has not yet branched out to supercross, a different type of racing.
“I’m happy with motocross right now,” said Krzemien. “Supercross is a lot different. It’s a lot different of a feel and its different setup, for the bike. It’s a lot harder than motocross, I think. Everything is just tighter and more compressed.”
Racing has brought her to a number of different areas for races. The Krzemien family has packed their RV to travel to Canada, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and just about every inch of New York. Her success on the bike has garnered notice, by many businesses that have sponsored the racer, in hope to assist her in the costs that come with racing. She officially rides for Spring Valley Landscaping, which is the Krzemien’s family business. Other local benefactors include North East Cycle Service, which is partially owned by Mike Krzemien, Julia’s uncle, and Bill Miller, Pioneer Motorsport, Williamsville Competition, a KTM dealer located in Holland. FMF pipe, a national company, aids the costs of the pipes that she buys. PR2 Racing Technology takes care of the suspension on her bike. Scott USA, a national sports apparel and sportswear company, sponsors her, as well.
Krzemien practices in Lockport, with another rider at a track in his backyard, as well as a track that the she has behind her house. She said that she found the love for the sport through her dad and sister. Her father Jerome, raced when he was younger and her sister Jessica has been racing, for a number of years.
“We took Julia to her first race when she was 4 months old, to watch her older sister Jessica,” said Kathy Krzemien. “Her whole life, she’s been on the sideline saying ‘Go, go, go!’ cheering either Jessica on, or other riders that we knew racing.
“It’s just that competitiveness that she has,” she continued. “When we go for a bike ride, she has to lead. When we go running, she has to be first.”
Krzemien said that she owes thanks to some of her coaches, John and Craig Mullet, Jeremy and Tiffany Fake, Ed Abdo and Donnie Schmidt, for their help making her a better rider.
Krzemien will be riding locally at Kissing Bridge on Sept. 15. She is the daughter of Jerome and Kathy Krzemien of East Concord.