With all of the talk of James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto, many are overlooking Ashley Fiolek. Just like Stewart and Villopoto, Fiolek has made an immediate impact on professional racing – just in the WMA, rather than the AMA. She raced one WMA race last year, at Steel City, and this year is her first full-on assault on the WMA National Championship. Two rounds in, she now has two wins, the second of which was a 1-1 effort this past weekend in Texas, where she held off defending champ Jessica Patterson to win the first moto on Saturday, then won the second moto going away after Patterson fell on Sunday.
Ashley Fiolek: It was a really crazy race yesterday. I just hoped I could stay up in front, and I did it. I thought, “Okay, I can do this.” There was a lot of pressure from start to finish, and JP was riding really well. I just hoped I could stay up on the start and have a good race again today.
Today obviously went better than that, with Patterson falling down again (just like she did in the opening moto at Hangtown). Do you think maybe you’re in her head a little bit now?
Yeah, today, I was really nervous. I really wanted to win. I wanted to go 1-1. I got the holeshot, and then it was really hard for me to check out. JP was right there, and then in the whoops, she kept catching me, and she was really fast through there. I just tried to stay strong up front, but I didn’t realize that she went down. I’m not sure if I’m in her head or not, but it was a good weekend for me, and everything went really well.
She’s the champ now four or five times, and she’s really confident. I just thought that if I could stay with her and do my best, I’d have a chance, and I’m really pumped that I was right there and I was able to take the pressure and do well.
Were you expecting to be this successful this early?
No, no, not really. I’m really pumped, and I wanted to be on the podium so bad. This was my goal, and it’s a long series, but I just hope I can stay clean, ride good and do my best.
Of course, I would like to win the championship. It’s my first year doing this, and it’s going to be really hard. I’ve been working really hard and training hard, and I’ve also been racing in Europe, too, so it’s been going back and forth. I’m third in points there now. Here, I’m first, but it’s only been two rounds. This weekend, I go over there again, so I kind of have a lot of goals, along with X Games and everything.