BEND, Ore. (June 28, 2007) – Two rounds into its 2008 season, the AMA/WMA Women’s Motocross National Championship Presented by Kawasaki has experienced tremendous growth and more exposure than ever before. Thanks to a stellar lineup of talented riders and tremendous support from its sponsors and affiliates, the WMA is taking the next step towards the national spotlight.
Arguably the biggest news to come out of the series this season is the addition of Women’s MotoX to the ESPN Summer X Games this August. The largest extreme sports event in the world, the X Games will help boost the sport of women’s motocross onto the front pages of the newspapers and television screens all over the world.
Another factor in the WMA’s recent rise is the story of the series’ current points leader and only overall winner, 17-year old Ashley Fiolek. In addition to being one of the fastest riders on the track and receiving outstanding support from her bike manufacturer Honda, Fiolek possesses a quality that separates her from not only her competitors, but the majority of individuals to ever ride a motorcycle. She is deaf.
Picking up the sport 10 years ago at the age of seven, this St. Augustine, Fla. native followed her father into one of the world’s toughest disciplines. When she began, she aspired to be the first woman to race in a men’s national event. Now, she is working towards a women’s national championship in her first year as a professional.
Without the ability to hear the revs of the engine as a notification, Fiolek learned how to shift by feeling the vibrations through the bike. A technique taught to her by her father.
“Because I am profoundly deaf since birth I had to learn how to shift by ‘feeling’ the vibrations of my bike,” said Fiolek. “Most kids learn by hearing when it is time to shift so my dad had to sit with me and the bike and help me learn how to sense things.”
She quickly moved up through the amateur ranks, garnering nine championships from 2004 to 2006, including the 2004 Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National Championship, her favorite track. In 2007 she began her professional career, making her debut at the WMA season finale at Steel City where she finished fifth overall. Prior to the start of the AMA/WMA Women’s Motocross National Championship this season, she entered the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship. Boasting a best overall finish of third, she currently sits third in the points and will continue to pull double duty throughout the summer.
While her dream to compete with the men is still a very real possibility, considering she has been as close as 1.5 seconds away from a qualifying spot, Fiolek is content where she stands and is proud to be a part, if not the face of the evolutionary period of women’s motocross.
“This is my first full year racing the WMA Nationals, it is a big change from the amateur scene and I am really enjoying it. I have been riding dirt bikes for over 10 years now and it has given me so much confidence and it is definitely what I love and my passion in life.”
The AMA/WMA Women’s Motocross National Championship Presented by Kawasaki continues its season today at Thunder Valley, in Lakewood, Colo., before moving on to races in Washougal, Wash., Southwick, Mass., and Delmont, Pa. The ESPN Summer X Games debut August 1-2 from Los Angeles.
Interview opportunities are available to the media by contacting AMA Toyota Motocross Championship media coordinator Brandon Short via email at Media@MXNationals.com or by phone at 951-203-2605.
For more information on the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship, presented by FMF, log on to www.amamotocross.com for live timing and scoring at @theWireLIVE!. Racer X Illustrated will host a new and improved webcast on www.motocross.com, with live racing action hosted by Jason Weigandt. The Racer X Motocross Show on Motocross.com has also been added on Saturday night of each race weekend, featuring practice footage and interviews taken earlier in the day.
Credential requests for each round of the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF must be submitted via email to Media@MXNationals.com three weeks prior to the race. Media members interested in interviews with the riders of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF should contact Brandon at 951-203-2605 or email Media@MXNationals.com.
The Women's Motocross Association (WMA) owns and operates the women's professional motocross series, known as the AMA/WMA Women's National Motocross Championship, the WMA Cup event which is the worlds largest women's motocross event - and also promotes women's amateur-class racing, through the WMA membership organization at its events. The WMA has an American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) charter and the AMA sanctions all WMA events. The WMA is committed to the promotion of women's racing, providing the highest quality women's motocross events and creating opportunities for women in all areas of the sport. For more about WMA visit www.wmaracing.com.