FAB 12 is a series that features 12 inspirational women from Brunei that has contributed towards the society across different fields that help make a difference. For our first ever issue for our FAB12, we have Liyana Zakaria, one of the badass women out there in Brunei who is into motocross, an exhilarating and glorious motorsport. Liyana found passion in motorcycling and is now active in the motocross scene, a sport that is always perceived as one that is for the men. She has proven that women just like her are more than capable of this adrenaline and heart-pumping sport.
Read further and be sure to watch our video at the very bottom!
1. How did you start becoming interested in motocross?
I started off racing when I was 19. I got influenced by my cousin Hapidz, but it was the Cub Prix motorcycle race, then the race was discontinued after that. Two years later, I found out about motocross race in a local newspaper, and here I am.
2. What is your proudest moment and why?
July 2016, my first race outside Borneo and at the same time, I managed to grab the first spot!
3. What is the best moment during motor cross?
I think the best moment would be racing motocross. The moment when the race starts, you just have to be in the zone and your automatic focus 101%. Whatever the other things, just ‘pause’.
4. How many motorbikes do you have?
Just one. But most of my races outside I don’t have to use mine. It is usually provided by my friends or rented by my sponsor.
5. Downfall: have you ever had a bad injury, how did you feel and how did you recover?
Alhamdulillah, in motocross no major injury, just a hairline fracture on my metatarsal bone of my right leg. Other than that, it was from my mountain biking race where I dislocated my right shoulder. The first week after the injury, I was feeling a bit down, but after that, I got back my motivation again and I guess if your mind is stronger, your body just follows back through it.
6. Any unforgettable moments during motocross?
I remember my first race in Labuan. I only did half a lap then I stopped because the whole one loop kind of seemed impossible for me to ride through. So I thought that was funny.
7. If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
The power of healing – because to me, health is priceless and to have that power to heal myself and others is a blessing. I mean, imagine if I crash or injure myself during a race of training, I can instantly heal.
8. Diet and fitness tips: how do you keep yourself fit?
If I’m lazy, I will just exercise at least twice a week: cardio or strength and if I have a race to look forward I will do at least 4 times a week then my diet is not really strict: I only avoid oily food and drink soya bean for pre-race, but other than that, I can just eat whatever I feel like.
9. Where do you see the future of this sport heading?
Well actually two years ago I already had this kind of question thrown at me and I think I have achieved what I want at the end of last year so I think I’m slowing down on racing, but I am more to co-organizing local motocross here and hopefully, more youth will try this sport too.
10. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Hmm… does slow internet count?
11. Who is your inspiration and why?
There is a lot and one maybe like Jessica Alba, I mean she’s not a pro athlete but she seems like she has a balanced life, get through enough of being an awesome actress, then she has her own company with a mission to live a happy and healthy life while at the same time having a beautiful family.
12. What are your quick beauty tips?
Just a quick foundation and eyeliner, that’s it. Oh yea, in the morning I take one Vitamin C. They say if you take in Vitamin C you have good skin, so you judge.
13. How do you balance your career with your hobby?
I have a normal 8-5 weekday job in the financial sector and I often spend my weekend for my hobby. In a nutshell, we have 24 hours a day, so I divide it into three blocks – one block is eight hours. One block is for sleeping, one block for working and one block for learning or improving ourselves.
14. How do you mentally prepare before a big event?
I usually double my workout plan so automatically, I will be more mentally ready for a big event. Other than that, I watch a lot of racing videos on youtube for motivation.
15. What would be a good theme song for your life?
Honestly, I don’t know… because I think my life at some point has this super fast pace where everything just goes the way it is and sometimes there are days where one hour feels like a year.
16. How would you describe your fashion style?
I like to wear t-shirt and jeans, but I do like to dress up especially if we have events, dinner, but most of the time t-shirt and jeans.
17. What do you consider to be your career highlight?
The highlight would be when people start to recognize what I do and five them indirect motivation. For example, I have some messages from people that what I am currently doing inspire them to live a more active lifestyle and be more positive. Also, last year, YB Iswandy invited me to be one of the Brunei Young Leader Conference as a mentor. I noticed there are always fresh opportunities from one thing to another.
18. What motivates you to keep going?
It is always a challenge that motivates me, especially racing, and especially in international races. The feeling when I finished the race and starting over to a new one, there’s always something new to learn, new skill and new experience.
19. What is your favourite dessert?
Chocolate ice cream and Nutella cheesecake!
20. If you could swap your life with someone else, who would it be and why?
I honestly don’t want to swap my life with someone else because I know that even though some people may look like they have achieved and have everything, but deep down they have some struggles and issues of their own. So I’d like to just stay and be myself, focusing on being the very best version I can be.
21. What do you think women should do to pursue their dreams?
They should always dream big and put it to work. One step at a time and surround themselves with people can lift them higher.
22. What is one message you would give to all the women reading?
Stop comparing yourself to others, stop waiting for prince charming to rescue and start creating your own opportunity because the world needs more women who can embrace their differences and bold enough to make that big step.
Special thanks to Boat Noodle Brunei, Rai Raine Official and MuKaKu Cosmetics for your support!