Breaking Into Motocross: Tips for Women
In 1971, Kerri Kleid became the first woman to hold a professional motocross rider license. However, she was barred from racing when officials discovered she was a woman, and her license was revoked. Determined to compete, she won her license back in court. Her courageous move paved the way for other female motocross racers.
As an aspiring woman motocross racer today, you don't face quite as many barriers as Kerri Kleid did. But getting into motocross as a woman can seem more difficult than it would be for a man. You may struggle to find appropriate motocross equipment, and you might not know where to turn for help to progress in the motocross field.
Here are a few tips for female motocross racers who are just getting started.
- Choose the Right Bike
In order to feel comfortable while you ride, you need to choose the right bike. On average, female racers are shorter and weigh less than male racers. However, that doesn't mean you need to rule out the larger bikes.
You do need to make sure that you can touch the ground with at least one foot while sitting on the bike. This ensures that you can keep the bike upright even when it stalls. You also need to make sure the bike isn't too heavy—you should be able to pick up the bike on your own.
Connect with other women motocross racers to get their bike recommendations. Popular choices for beginners include Kawasaki KLX 140, Yamaha TTR 125 LE, Suzuki DRZ 125L, and Honda 125f.
- Get Women's Motocross Equipment
Motocross racing requires a wide variety of gear for safety and protection. Some of the basic gear you'll need includes:
- Neck braces and knee braces
Much of the motocross gear on the market is built for men's bodies without women's needs in mind. Since a correct fit is crucial, you'll want to look specifically for women's motocross gear.
There's no need to hide the fact that you're a woman with the gear you choose. For example, if you want to highlight your femininity, you can find motocross gear with fun patterns or colors. In any case, you should be able to find a wide variety of gear to fit your taste and style.
- Practice and Train
Your best bet is to enroll in a motocross course. An experienced instructor can teach you all the ins and outs of motocross racing. Look for a female instructor if you want a mentor who can help you navigate the motocross world as a woman.
It's also important to practice riding as much as possible. On days when you don't have time to ride, you can stay fit and strong by lifting weights.
As you prepare to compete, do some research on the most well-known female motocross racers: Jessica Patterson and Ashley Fiolek are two of the top female racers from recent years. You can watch videos of their racing to pick up tips.
- Register with the AMA and Choose a Race
Although the Women's National Championship has taken place annually since 1974, the Women's Motocross League (WML) wasn't founded until 1996. In 2004, the WML became the Women's Motocross Association (WMA). Its goal was to draw women racers from around the world to compete.
In 2009, the WMA was integrated into the AMA Pro Motocross Championship. This move made women's races and ranking a key part of the motocross industry. The WMA was renamed the WMX.
If you want to start racing, you should register with the American Motorcycle Association (AMA); you'll need a membership if you want to race in an AMA-sanctioned race. You can become a member by going to AmericanMotorcyclist.com.
Once you've registered with the AMA, find a race you want to compete in. There are many different types of motocross events. There are short races built for speed and long races that test endurance. There are cross-country, off-road races called hare scrambles. Some competitions involve several types of races and then crown an ultimate champion.
Find a race that best fits your skills and interests, and register as a beginner (level D). Some races offer women's racing classes while other races put men and women together. Look for women's races if possible—your support allows these races to continue and attracts more women to the sport.
As you gain experience, you can register in a higher skill level. You can even participate in the WMX Women's Motocross Championships. In 2017, the championship included eight rounds at different locations throughout the year.
Some people assume that motocross is a man's sport, but that is far from the truth. Follow these tips to take up the sport of motocross as a woman.
And if you're looking for top-notch, affordable women's motocross gear, count on Bob's Cycle & Snowmobile Supply.