Sara Price is the freshest face in the Women’s Class of the Lucas Oil Motocross Championship for 2009. The rookie Kawasaki rider achieved tremendous success as an amateur and decided to take the next step this season. While she hasn’t had the results to show for it, Price has run at the front of the pack for the majority of the season and currently sits fourth in the season standings with just one round to go. Fresh off her 17th birthday two days ago, Sara took the time to talk with Thor on the way to this Saturday’s season finale at Steel City to discuss her rookie year, how she got involved in motocross and what kind of role her family and Thor have played in the pursuit of her dream.
How did you get your start in motocross?
Well when I was younger, we were neighbors with Josh Grant. He and my brother were best friends and they used to mow our lawn together and stuff. At the time, Josh was on 80s and his dad was grooming him to be on big bikes and make it into the pro ranks. And since my brother was always hanging out with him, he started racing and they made a track in Josh’s front yard. I was into horses at the time and then we moved. (My parents) got me my first bike for Christmas. It was an XR50. I would get on it and go to practice every Tuesday with my brother at Perris Raceway and just ride. Then one day my brother told my dad, “You should come see Sara. She’s doing really good.” And from there it just started and I kept racing. Then I got onto 80s when I believe I was 13 and headed to Lake Whitney for the Spring Classic and I ended up winning the Girls 9-13 Class.
You have been one of the most successful amateur females in the sport. What do you think has helped you adapt so well to racing a motorcycle?
I believe growing up I was always kind of the aggressor. I’ve always been the one to throw an attitude and I’ve always acted full of energy. I want to do my best and be the best no matter what. And coming from (riding) a horse competitively, I guess its kind of the same technique and I kind of brought that right over to motocross. My mindset stayed the same and ended up carrying over a little bit better than I thought.
When did Thor become a part of your career?
Actually it’s an interesting story. It happened to be the same year Ricky James got hurt and they were having an auction (for him). I wore Thor gear occasionally then, but I bought it myself. But my dad made a deal with Ian Runyon when he was working for Thor saying that for the auction, he would pay for this helmet if they looked at his daughter and if his daughter won tomorrow, would they sponsor her. I ended up winning the championship the next day and Ian Runyon was right there waiting off the track with a card saying, “Call, you’ve got sponsorship.” It was actually a pretty cool deal how its worked out.
So how many years have you been with Thor now?
It has been… oh my… 2005 I believe when I raced. So I think about five years.
How has Thor’s involvement in your career meant to you?
Thor has by far been my most loyal sponsor. They are always there through thick and thin. And with Dave Gowland, I can call and if I have a problem he’s always there to help me. If I’m ever down in any way or going through a rough spot in my career he will call me and ask me what’s up and help me through it. It’s just nice to know that they’re always there to support. I hope I stay with them for the rest of my life.
Making the commitment to pursue motocross as a career takes sacrifice. What kind of sacrifices has your family had to make?
My parents have had to go through a lot because they own their own business for car paint and collision work. We’ve always had to have someone at the shop because we have 50 employees and my mom has to be there to make sure everything is in order or my dad has to be there. It was always my dad that went with me to the races in the amateur ranks, going with me when we went out of state while my mom stayed back for the business. Ever since I moved to the pro ranks my mom wanted to start watching me race and it became a whole family deal. It’s been really cool. Even my brother makes it out every once in a while. Before, in my amateur career, my mom was a little bit nervous because I would just go out there and do what I did even if I crashed. Its been a good journey, but we always make a family vacation out of what we can when we are all together.
How has your rookie year gone based on your expectations and how you’ve done this season?
I came into my first pro year with a lot of confidence since I had a lot of wins as an amateur. I expected a lot more than what I’ve gotten. I was hoping for a podium for sure out of this and just learning, getting down what I need for the next year to win it. I’m coming in with a solid fifth (in the points) and we’ve had a lot of bike failures and I had a couple crashes. But we’re working it out. I feel like we’re on our way and its been a great season.
You just got back from Loretta’s. How was that?
Loretta’s was great. I got back to the breeding grounds of motocross. It’s where I grew up racing. The first moto was a muddy moto, I was last off the gate and came all the way to second and ready to pass for first when I had a little stumble again in the mud and ended up 11th. Then in the second moto I got the holeshot and won by over 40 seconds and basically did the same thing for moto three. I missed out on the championship by one point because of my 11th the first moto.
Now that you have a taste of what it takes to run at the top level of the sport, what are your goals for next season?
Coming out of this year I know 100% what I need to do and what it takes to win. And now that I got a feel of the speed and the whole industry and how it works on a professional level, I’ll be grooming myself well in the downtime. With everything I’ve learned I hope to take it to a win next year. I also want to take this sport to a different level, have a bunch of girls go up (on the podium). Pretty young ladies that serve as role models for little girls growing up.
About Parts Unlimited
Parts Unlimited is the world's largest distributor of aftermarket accessories in the powersports industry and is owned by LeMans Corporation headquartered in Janesville, Wisconsin. Parts Unlimited sells to over 12,000 dealerships world wide and continues to expand its market penetration with its sister companies, Parts Canada, Parts Europe and Drag Specialties.
Parts Unlimited continues to promote racing through its campaign WE SUPPORT THE SPORT®, helping to drive consumers to dealerships, while entertaining its dealers through hospitalities at the events it sponsors.
About Thor Motocross
Thor is one of the originators of motocross apparel. When Torsten Hallman made his first U.S trip to race and promote motocross in 1966, he inadvertently started to develop Thor riding gear. Thor is a hardcore, grass roots company that understands what it takes to reach the top and more importantly, how to stay there. It is one of a few companies with over 40 years experience in the motocross marketplace.