Laura Klock and daughters Erika and Karlee are the first mother-daughter-daughter trio in the history of land speed motorcycle racing to hold simultaneous records, but the road to success has not been easy
Just before setting her first 'bagger' motorcycle land speed record in 2006, Laura remembers waiting on the starting line of the Bonneville Salt Flats and reflecting on "the crazy, twisted, windy roads that lead me to this point".
"Here I was doing something that no one had ever done before. No one had raced the kind of bike I was riding, and my daughters were with me, watching," Laura recalls proudly in an interview for iamsecond.com.
Yet it was only after being released from the burdens of her past that Laura could take to the road without anything holding her back.
"When people say 'time heals all wounds' it's not true. You might be able to [suppress] it for a while but it doesn't go away, it's just in there festering until you face it, forgive, and choose to move forward," she explains.
Knowing her birth to very young parents was unplanned, Laura grew up believing she was "just a mistake" and that she was also the cause for her dad's alcoholism and her parents constant fighting before their divorce.
She escaped from her problems by riding her motorcycle in the Wisconsin countryside, but then turned to alcohol in high school.
On the surface Laura was excelling in schoolwork, cheerleading and basketball but she says she was just "very good at wearing masks" – hiding the pain she felt inside.
A pregnancy at age 16 led to an abortion. "Ultimately, as I got older I realised that decision was at the core of a lot of the guilt, shame and the low self-worth that I was carrying. I had made an uneducated decision without understanding the emotional and spiritual consequences, and it's a decision I will carry with me for the rest of my life."
"I continued through high school never feeling good enough, never quite pretty enough and never smart enough because nothing I did seemed to change my situation."
In college, Laura turned to experimenting with drugs and more to alcohol to "ease" the pain but it was never enough.
She dropped out of university when she became pregnant again, determined to be a great mum and vowing to never make the abortion decision again.
Even though she felt ill-equipped to have a healthy relationship with her baby's father, they were married, and a second daughter followed.
A divorce when her daughters were aged three and six led Laura to spend her weekends partying when her girls were away visiting their dad. She felt like a failure.
"It became more difficult to lead a double life as the girls grew older," she confesses. "I was starting to lose control of hiding the extent of the partying from my daughters and realized I really wasn't hiding anything from anyone."
Laura met her current husband through what they now call "divine intervention".
Brian was a church-goer, and invited her to go with him. Despite her previous poor experiences with church, she attended and was in tears by the end of the service.
"Certain parts of that sermon just spoke to my heart about a heavenly Father that cares about you and loves you no matter what you've done or where you've been. The pastor spoke about forgiveness and all that we have to do is accept God's love. I thought, what a concept! He could love me and there's a reason for all this," she recalls of that day.
She also remembers a distinct sense of peace settle over her when she gave everything over to Jesus – all her insecurities, past sins and mistakes – realising that God was in control, not her.
"I learned right away that God has a plan and a purpose for my life and that I wasn't a mistake. I can't even describe the relief, it was just like the weight of the world being lifted off my shoulders! And along the way, with God's help, I was able to face the reality of the decision I made at the age of 16, work through forgiveness, and heal some of the pain from that choice."
Soon after, Laura and Brian were offered the chance to create a bike for the Discovery Channel's Biker Build Off TV series in 2006 and, after installing a fast motor, they decided it would be a smart move to race it, with a woman as the pilot.
At that point Laura had never been a racer but she was not about to let the opportunity pass her by.
"The first time I was on the starting line of the Bonneville Salt Flats I sat there for a moment and I prayed 'okay, God, this is where you have me today, let me do your will'," she recalls.
"This was something new, something I had never done before. So I just turned it over to God, and took off."
She set her first world record that day, and never looked back. She went on to set new 'bagger' motorcycle records in 2007 and 2008 as well with her daughters following in her footsteps. Recently, the girls have topped off other achievements as the first such trio to all ride a 'bagger' past 314kph. Their goal is to exceed 320kph before 2016.
"I don't have to have all the strength or all the answers. I can lean on God when I feel like I'm facing something that I just can't do," she concludes. "I don't have to feel alone anymore. He is always there." •