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BREAK THE MOLD

We are recognizing female riders who carve their own path and push past expectations. Break The Mold is about elevating those stories by providing a platform for women to inspire others in the riding community.

Tag @motosportinc and use #BreakTheMold to show us how you, or someone you know, is unequivocally pursuing their passion to ride. We'll be highlighting your unique stories over the next couple months, giving away cool gifts along the way.

Kiana Clay fell in love with riding at the age of 7 and was racing by 11.

Then on Nov. 18, 2006 at Freestone County Raceway, the 12 year old Kiana was landed on by another rider just moments after crossing the finish line resulting in a broken neck that severed the nerves on her right side and paralyzed her right arm. After months of recovery and some promise of returning strength to her once-dominant arm, fate took another ugly turn when a truck she was riding in with her dad flipped several times after a drunk driver clipped the rear wheel.

Everything Kiana worked so hard on was lost and she was told her arm strength would never return. The days of riding a dirt bike were over.

But seven years later, a friend rigged a pit bike on a whim to help her compensate for the loss of arm movement. Kiana threw a leg over and she rolled the throttle again, for the first time. Her childhood love returned and today she competes in Motocross for adaptive athletes.

This is how Kiana Clay broke the mold.

What drew you to riding in the first place?

I always had a need for speed growing up, and my dad noticed it pretty quickly. I was already involved in action sports, so my dad decided to get me my first bike when I was seven. It was a PW80. I absolutely loved it and I was hooked from the moment I sat on the bike and felt the power of the throttle.

What's been the most difficult part of riding, and how did you overcome it?

Learning how to ride adaptively and understanding that I won't always come in first anymore as I did before my accident. I overcame it by being thankful that I even get to ride again, and that this is for pure passion and fun; not just winning. I also learned how powerful our bodies and minds are, how quickly they can adapt to new things and environments. Keeping an open mind while being creative is constantly crucial for me when it comes to riding, and just living life disabled in general.

If you could go back to the first day you ever swung a leg over a bike, what advice would you give yourself?

Keep it fun. Don't beat yourself up over second places or not winning. Be thankful that you even get to ride at all.

What are some ways motorcycles help you outside of riding?

Motorcycles taught me that when you fall, get back up. When you're in pain, push through it. When you fail, learn from it. Always finish the race strong. That's relatable in so many aspects of life. Work, relationships, injuries, etc. Keep fighting in life until your race is over.

Where are your favorite places to ride?

I love Cahuilla, Cycle Ranch, and Swan MX. Those tracks are so fun!

Describe your dream ride trip

I have heard so many good things about the Florida tracks, so I've always wanted to go there! I think it would be pretty rad to go to Europe too.

Who or what inspires you as a rider?

To be the best rider I can be, push my limits of what I think I am capable of, and learn from my mistakes. I truly love motocross, so its just pure passion that keeps me going.

What are some of your proudest moments or best achievements?

Qualifying for the Loretta regional as an adaptive rider, being the first woman to compete in Motorsport Adaptive and taking the podium, and just getting back to riding after my accident.

What does breaking the mold mean to you?

Breaking the mold to me means doing something out of the norm that either works the same or works better than before. Being or doing something unique. I know with my riding, I break the mold because I came up with something that no one has ever seen or even considered. It opens up other people's minds to possibilities that they didn't even think was possible simply because I got creative and thought outside of the box to do what I wanted to.
photo credit to Kristin Kohl @ketchupkohlphoto