PWCOffshore.com racing team #58 pit crew member Lauren Theroux of Orange County, CA has become a fixture on the PWCOffshore.com racing pit crew for years. Ms. Theroux was selected for inclusion into the #58 pit crew team by KC Heidler and Mark Gerner. Lauren’s laser focus and attention to detail regarding every facet of the team’s efficiency in the pits was no surprise to pit team leader Mike Arnold and the rest of the team. What’s more, Lauren is the first known woman pit crew team member on a formal PWC pit crew team.
Fastidious in her approach and always flanked by Steve Rasmussen of Mobile Motorcycle Mechanics Inc., Lauren is setting the standard for women in the crews. PWCOffshore.com founder Mark Gerner said, “Lauren meets our standards in every way and we are proud to call her a member of our team. She is an invaluable member of our team and we have grown to rely on her eye for detail and passion for doing everything right.” We had the opportunity to spend some time speaking with Lauren regarding her experiences with the PWCOffshore.com racing pit crew team.
PWCOffshore: So how did you connect with the PWCOffshore.com racing pit crew?
Lauren Theroux: I was invited to join PWCOffshore.com by Aaron Cress, at first i thought he was kidding or that they needed me for score keeping or something along the lines of what most would consider a good female job. Aaron assured me they just really needed someone who could float duties. Uncapping jugs, runway up keep, basically helping where needed. I was excited and nervous – how would a team of men take a girl joining their team? I didn’t want to be seen has someone they would have to watch over and pick up the slack.
PWCOffshore: What if any challenges did you experience as a member of the pit crew?
LT: The first year was a bit nerve wracking, I really wanted to make a difference for the team and step up to the plate of what was expected. I must have because the Mark Hahn 2015 will be my third Hahn. I wanted to be considered a part of the team so I really wanted to make sure I was pulling my weight and go above and beyond for the team. Everyone was super supportive of my presence. But a main challenge I had to maneuver the first year was getting “the guys” to believe I really knew what I was talking about, whether it was what tool was needed, where someone should be at the time of the pit instead of somewhere else, or just trying something I had suggested.
Mostly they listened to my concerns and suggestions but definitely with some reserves. The huge ice breaker was when we needed to do an emergency pump swap mid-race and between Aaron Cress and Steve Rasmussen working on two skis I knew the tool box best, lying on their backs on the ground they need the correct tools in their hands and quickly to get it done efficiently I think everyone watching was quite impressed to see me manage the situation, it was probably the fastest pump swap ever with only three people.
PWCOffshore: You are the first known female member of a professional PWC pit crew team and PWCOffshore.com’s pit crew, how did it happen and how was the transition into the team?
LT: I was shocked to learn I was the first female in an official pit crew. Women are determined, focused and organized, not that men aren’t but I would think more teams would have utilized a woman’s resources on teams like this. I was fortunate and feel privilege to be invited to join PWCOffshore team, it is something I look forward to all year to be apart of these offshore and endurance races. I have Aaron Cress to thank for suggesting me to the team and making it all happen.
PWCOffshore: What role do you play within the pit crew and how do you train?
LT: My job on the pit crew is diverse, my primary roles are to set up our pit and runway, also to support our main fueler and secondary fueler, I uncap their quick fill system fuel jugs and take over our primary fuelers quick fill so he can return to the rear of the boat for the procedure of returning our boat and racer to the water. While taking over primary fuel jug I also spot for our secondary fueler, watching his back and assisting in safely and properly getting him and his jug out of the way. Oftentimes he has remaining fuel in his jug, so the risk of spills and his safety are high it’s my job to make sure he can return to fuel safely. Between pit stops I maintain our runway, this is a key to a successful race as many who have raced the Hahn know, your runway can make or break the race. It is vital to have a very specific and well maintained runway.
PWCOffshore: What do you see in your future with pit crewing and PWCOffshore?
LT: I consider PWCOffshore a family – for years to come we will be supporting each other and continuing the tradition of PWC endurance racing together. Every year our team looks forward to the Hahn and every offshore race for year. In 2015, I was invited to help keep times on the score boat for the Dana Point to Oceanside race, I hope to do more of that, as well as the Hahn.
PWCOffshore: Are you and the PWCOffshore pit crew ready for the Hahn?
LT: We are ready, we are prepared. We take numerous steps to be at the top of our game and our focus to be mutual and set in stone.
PWCOffshore: You have quite a history with racing and race related vehicles, how did you get so involved in racing and so knowledgeable on the technical component of race vehicles?
LT: Growing up my father was very involved in the car industry. That brought many races into our lives. He is also an avid off-road motorcycle rider, my dad having been blessed with two daughters, wanted to share his passion so he got me involved.
When Stephen and I met in 2010, of course he’s a motorcycle mechanic, it all came together from there. I was soon wrenching on bikes and running the paperwork end of his business and that is how I came to meet Aaron. Being a woman in a man’s business you either stare blankly during conversations or you become involved and get your hands dirty. The mechanics of motorcycles, ATVs and PWC fascinates me, so I forced the boys to teach me and involve me in the industry.