While the 2011 AMA Arenacross Series Championship continues to be dominated early by TUF Honda’s Jeff Gibson, a new storyline is developing as the Arenacross Lites Western Regional Championship returns to action this weekend in Denver.
In recent years, the female contingent of the sport of motocross has grown considerably to the point that women have the opportunity to be professionals in their own series. However, on Friday and Saturday night, a new chapter will be written in the growth of females in the sport when Vicki Golden makes her debut alongside the men in the Arenacross Lites class.Golden is a Southern California native still in the early stages of her career. She has proven to be one of the fastest women in the country and is looking for a new challenge. What better way than to go toe-to-toe with the rising stars of the AMA Arenacross Series in the Arenacross Lites class?We caught up with Vicki to see how this opportunity came about, how’s she’s adapted to the very technical discipline of arenacross, and how her training is going for this weekend’s race.Vicki, what made you decide that you wanted to compete in the AMA Arenacross Series?
"Supercross and arenacross is just something I like riding. I enjoy it a lot (actually). Plus, I’m going to be riding anyways since it’s the offseason right now (for motocross). The women’s class has a really long offseason so this is a great chance to keep me racing all year. Really, it’s just something I love doing so I figured I might as well go for it."How do you feel about the opportunity to compete alongside the men? Do you have any awareness of the significance of it?
"I’m really excited to be racing, especially in arenacross because there are a lot of good riders in (the series). I’m excited to do something new. It’s still just riding my bike, but it’s a chance to learn different skills. It’s great to be riding as a woman in arenacross and show that we can do it (too)."How has the transition from motocross to arenacross been? What did you do to acclimate yourself?
"My style fits arenacross and I think that’s why I enjoy it so much. I have a lot of riders that compete giving me tips and helping me out any time I need it. Guys like Ben Evans and Bryce Vallee, they are more than willing to help me out while we’re riding together. It took a lot to get started, but I’ve adapted really quickly and I just love riding it."What do you think the biggest challenge will be?
"Probably just getting through everything and doing so consistently. I’d really just be happy to get the first race out of the way and all the butterflies. Hopefully I’m able to make it into the night show and then the main event and try to get some points going."Who will you be riding for?
"It’s myself racing technically, but I have a lot of people helping me out – Resner Builders Hardware, Factory Connection, Vortex, Fox Racing, Works Connection, Yoshimura, Donn Maeda at Transworld, K&N Filters, Throttle Jockey Graphics, X-Factor Goggles, Leatt Brace and Miki Keller. There are just so many people that I don’t want to forget anyone because I can’t thank them enough for the support."
How does it feel to have so much support from the community?
"It’s awesome. To have all of the support I’ve received is amazing. We were thinking about running just a stock bike and see what I can do with what I have, but everyone has been really supportive and is hopping on board with me. It’s just been awesome to have so many people behind me"
What kind of expectations have you set for yourself not just for this weekend, but for the remainder of the Western Regional Championship?
"I just hope to be competitive, really. I know I can be, so I just want to get in there. I think it’ll help me be more aggressive for racing next season than simply riding alone, so I think that’ll be a big plus as well. Ultimately I just want to get as many points as I can."What are you hoping comes from your participation in the AMA Arenacross Series and what do you think your participation in the series means for women’s motocross as a whole?
"I just hope it inspires them. I’m inspired to do it just because I love it. If other (female) riders see me do it than maybe they’ll want to try it too. Or maybe if it just makes someone want to even hop on a motorcycle (for the first time). Whatever it is, I hope that it’ll be inspiring for other women to ride."Round 4 of the 2011 AMA Arenacross Series kicks off in just a few days from the Denver Coliseum in Denver, Colo., on Friday, Jan. 28, and Saturday, Jan. 29 starting at 7 p.m. (mt)New for 2011! Live timing and scoring from each round of the AMA Arenacross Series. To follow the intense racing action live, log onto Arenacross.com.