Toni Sharpless is the last member to join our Judging Panel for the 2017 Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival. She brings not only a vast and illustrious motorcycle racing experience and industry experience, but a much needed female perspective to our Panel. Over her career, Toni has accumulated countless championships, victories and podium finishes in road racing, flat track and ice racing, and in 2011 was inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
This is our final instalment of our Q&A interviews with our Judging Panel members and what better way to end it than with Toni.
TMFF: Tell me how you first got involved with motorcycles and your first memory of it.
Toni: Sharing a mini bike found under the Christmas tree with my brothers when I was 6.
TMFF: You’ve broken a lot of firsts in your career. E.g. first woman who win a Canadian Motorcycle Association championship, or the first of two women to finish Daytona 200 (the list goes on and on). What does this mean to you?
Toni: More like broken a lot of bones not firsts...hahaha!. But seriously if you work at something long enough some one is going to notice and recognize your efforts.
TMFF: The name Sharpless is pretty synonymous with motorcycle racing in Canada. Did you ever feel the pressure that comes with that?
Toni: I never felt pressure really, I was just doing what was our family activity, it was just our normal to ride and race motorcycles. The only pressure I feel is from myself as I always push to be the best I can be in what ever I do.
TMFF: What was the best and worst experience you’ve had during your racing career?
Toni: The best was racing for Yamaha Motor Japan on Team Nescafe, and the worst was blowing up my bike at Daytona and not finishing.
TMFF: What are some of your favourite movies and what do you like about them?
Toni: My favourite movies are those that transport you to another world where the lead character overcomes struggles in an emotional roller coaster with a triumphant ending or a twist. Rambo is one of my all time faves.
TMFF: What are you hoping to see in the films shown at the Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival?
Toni: Hoping to see some great stories, thought provoking or just fun, artfully put together with continuity and flow that grabs you from the beginning, sweeps you up for the duration then lets you down softly in the end with a surprise ending.
TMFF: What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?
Toni: That I enjoy art, creating it and looking at art created by others.
TMFF: What motorcycle do you currently ride?
Toni: 2014 Ducati Multi-Strada 1200, 2015 Husqvarna TE125, and 1989 Yamaha FZR600.
TMFF: That's a great collection Toni. Thanks for sharing some of your background Toni.