Young, younger, but Ellsa Karlsson is the youngest in EDRS Pro Stock Motorcycle
Motorcycle racing is in the Karlsson family’s blood. So it was no surprise that after father Robert, the stunning first seasons of sister Elvira in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Ellsa was the next one to join the family tradition. Only 16 years old Ellsa Karlsson made her Pro Stock Motorcycle debut last season and although it was tough, the now 17-year-old student is back for more.
“When I had to do my licence runs, I was really nervous, I had never driven such a fast bike. I had seen others and thought ‘it looks easy’. But it really was NOT, it was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But then it went better and better. The hardest thing for me is to control the bike when something goes wrong. The bike should go straight, but it does not always do, or I could better say, it almost never did for me. I’m so short and have hardly any weight to control the bike; that makes it even more difficult. And I had some trouble with shifting”, Ellsa says about her first runs with the Pro Stock Suzuki last year.
Like her now 19-year-old sister Elvira, Ellsa started drag racing in Junior Drag Bike. “When my dad drove, I was always with him at the races, so I almost grew up at the track. Then Elvira started to run Junior Drag Bike. I was inspired and wanted to test drive. And so I also started racing in Junior Drag Bike. I stayed in the class for two years, 2008 and 2009 and then I stopped. But when Elvira stepped up to Pro Stock Motorcycle and I got involved, I had flashbacks of how much fun it was when I ran Junior Drag Bike. I wanted to start again, but because I was only 16 years old, I was too young and not allowed to race Pro Stock Motorcycle. But then I knew for sure, I wanted to start at 16, and so I did. And no, it’s no problem to race together and against family in the same class, it’s fun.”
Here still with one ‘l’, but since last summer Ellsa spells her name with double ‘l’
The high school student (education make up, hair and clothing stylist) didn’t make it any easier for herself last year, as she put a lot of pressure on herself. “I did that myself. I thought a lot about ‘that I wanted to get better and run faster than Elvira’. My team said, ‘do not feel pressured Ellsa, nobody is telling you to run fast, you have to get used to the bike first’. I pushed myself too hard last year.”
To get more familiar with the bike, Ellsa tries to repeat a run step by step. “When I am alone, I think about what I have to do in a run, step by step. So I get it into my head and know exactly what I have to do during a run. Then I have more control and don’t have to think about it before and during a run. And when I do something wrong, I can learn from it and improve myself.”
Her personal bests are 7.71 seconds and 270 km/h. “My first 7-second-run still is the thing I’m most proud of so far in my career. But for this season my goal is at least a 7.50 seconds and I hope to do even better. I look forward to the season, I learned a lot last season, but when I look back, I’m sure I can improve myself even more this season. I will be happy whether it’s good or bad, I learn from both.” And long term goals? “I don’t think so far ahead, I want to be the best in Europe first and then, if I can afford it, maybe the USA. But that’s still so far away.”
The only thing that changed over the winter so far, is the paintjob of the Pro Stock Suzuki. But there is another big change for Ellsa. “I want to thank Roger Lyrén and Veidec Racing, because they have welcomed me into their team. I’m very grateful that they want to help me.” Except her dad, Ellsa has no sponsors at the moment. “But all big and small sponsors who are willing to help me, are more than welcome.” So a great opportunity to support the youngest rider in the EDRS Pro Nordic Pro Stock Motorcycle Championship; publicity guaranteed.