As we age we all remember the days when we were young and fearless. For 14 year old Williams Lake resident, Danielle Schultz, she is living it.
At the 26th annual vintage flat track races held at O’Keefe Ranch in Vernon, B.C. July 5, 2014, Danielle wanted to pay tribute to her late daredevil father, Dan Schultz. Dan had been a stunt performer and vintage flat track racer for several years before he died when Danielle was a mere 9 years old. Since his passing the event has held a memorial ride in his honour but this year, Danielle wanted to do something more personal to pay tribute to her father – perform one of his stunts – ride through a wall of fire on her vintage Kawasaki 125cc motorcycle.
Even though she had practiced riding through flames in the grass at home, this would be the first time she would attempt an entire wall of flames and the first time she would do it publicly.
At the peak of the afternoon heat, 30 degrees, Danielle stepped into her fire retardant suit, warmed up with three laps around the track before taking a run for the wall. Crowds cheered her on (and held their breath) as Danielle approached the wall of flames. The track was eerily silent as the boards cracked but immediately burst into cheers after she successfully came out the other side.
After her success, I asked her what was going through her mind as she approached the wall, “I was nervous about the timing,” she said. “Timing is everything. I had to get my head down and I was worried that the wall had been lit too soon. After I broke through, I had a board stuck to my bike and I almost hit the fence.”
When asked if she would do it again, there was no hesitation, “Yes! I want more flames next time though!”
Proud of her success, Danielle autographed remaining charred pieces of the wall for fans and then went on to win the first heat of the open 125cc class vintage flat track race.