Rookie Sensation Fiolek Brings Attention to AMA/WMA Women's Motocross National Championship BEND, Ore. (June 28, 2007) -- Two rounds into its 2008 season, the AMA/WMA Women's Motocross National Championship Presented by Kawasaki has...
Rookie Sensation Fiolek Brings Attention to AMA/WMA Women's Motocross National Championship
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.
Coverage of the AMA/WMA Women's Motocross National Championship can be found online on the Racer X Motocross Show on www.motocross.com as well as www.wmaracing.com.