Kiwi motocross star Rachael Archer is miles away from home and competing in the thick of troubling times in America, but the 18-year-old wouldn’t have it any other way.
Archer is one of the leading riders in the Grand National Cross Country Competition, which is America’s premier off-road series.
She’s bagged three podium finishes this season but last weekend was her closest yet, finishing just one second behind the winner.
“Oh, it would just be so cool. I’m just working my ass off at the moment 'cos I really want that win,” Archer said.
After five rounds, Archer is currently sitting third in the overall WX GNCC standings.
She’s even ahead of some seasoned veterans.
“Some of them have reached their peak and they won't make any more progression now 'cos they're too old. I’ve still got a few years ahead of me,” Archer said.
The teen is aiming to take out her first ever GNCC race this weekend for the fifth round of the competition.
It's no easy task, though. Race conditions are gruelling, with competitors riding for two hours straight in sweltering 35-degree heat.
“You’re just thinking to yourself when you've got your helmet on, 'This sucks!' I just want to drill holes in my helmet so I can get some air flow,” Archer said.
Last month, Archer made a mad dash back to the states for competition amid the current Covid-19 pandemic affecting the world globally.
Now, she’s been caught up with their coronavirus crisis and the recent racism protests erupting. It's a very different world to her home in the back blocks of Waikato.
But the teen is getting away from the chaos in between races by recovering lakeside in South Carolina with some of her teammates.
“I think it's more beneficial for me to have that break and come back refreshed, and you actually want to race better 'cos you want to do it."