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Women of Speed | Vicki Golden
Woman of Speed Vicki Golden is a badass you’ll never forget. Known for being the first woman to race Supercross and for shattering Evel Knievel’s record by driving through 13 wooden walls of fire, the four-time X-Game medalist isn’t finished crushing records or gender norms.
Vicki's latest venture is creating space for women to excel and compete in motocross. After a morning ride, we spoke with Vicki about how she’s breaking barriers in the motocross industry but this time, through business.
Being a female in a male-dominated industry sounds intimidating, but to Vicki: “It's something I’ve always been used to, and it pushes me harder to hit my personal goals. I'm surrounded by the best of the best on a dirt bike, I use that to push myself to not see any differences and to be at that level.” Her focus and grit have driven her to incredible success in both Supercross and FMX.
Due to an exhaustive battle with Epstein Barr, Vicki decided to leave Supercross and allow herself to heal. The intensity of her schedule, training, and the races were taking a toll on her health. “I basically realized, if I can't do this at the level that I have expected for myself, then I shouldn't do it. And that's where I turned to FMX. It's definitely more dangerous to race, but the intensity is a little bit lower.” Her transition from Supercross to FMX gave her the creative freedom to try new things on a bike and explore more possibilities. Whether that’s more races or making new videos, she definitely feels “in the best of both worlds.”
Now that she’s made her mark in Supercross and FMX, she’s making an impact off the bike by mentoring young female riders on how to reach their own goals and achieve what they’ve dreamed of. Recognizing the financial impact of motocross, Vicki is stepping in to help in any way she can. But here’s the twist, she’s not looking for the best of the best. She’s looking for kids who have a passion for racing and can’t get enough. “For me, it's not about finding kids that are at top of the sport and winning every race. It's seeing the kids that are stoked on their bikes, that want to keep racing and keep riding and making sure that I can help. Some families are working their butts off trying to get these kids the right equipment and to the races. That really hits home for me because I remember my parents slaving away at their jobs trying to get me to the races and pay for all the equipment. It's an expensive sport.”
She’s there to cheer the kids on, teach them new tricks, and encourage them to do their best. To Vicki, there is no point in adding pressure and extra intensity. “If the kid doesn't do well, that's not the end of the world. They don't have to be the best to have a good time and have fun. That's what I try and mentor these kids on. Results aren't a huge thing. Yeah, you want to win of course, but there are personal goals to be met and there is fun to be had and that is what’s going to keep the longevity of the sport.”
This mentality is rare in such a high-intensity sport and will be seen as the future model for what creates the best athletes. “Just watching them get stoked on racing and seeing that rider camaraderie with teammates and things like that, it's cool to see the sport growing in the right way.”
In addition to mentoring, Vicki is pioneering a movement of women-focused gear. On Instagram, she has female riders asking her what size pants she wears because they can’t find any that truly fit. “No women's gear has ever fit me and that's why I never wear it. Men's gear fits okay, but it doesn't fit how it should. And then, if there is women's gear, it's always pink or brightly colored.” It’s an amazing way to advance the sport by solving a problem using her personal experience. “Normally I'm on the side of things where I do something gnarly on a dirt bike for the first time. Obviously, that's cool, but it's so cool to start pioneering in a business sense, where I am able to solve a problem.” And just like a world record, after countless hours of work and determination, Vicki Golden has completed her signature line with Fast House. “It's pretty mind-blowing to me to see and wear it. We did a lot of R&D to make the gear unique and special. We're making a statement and setting the bar for what women's gear should be worn like, should fit like, and should look like. I'm really stoked with what we were able to come up with and make sure that we weren't just psyching out a set of men's gear that was pink.”
The moto environment has been set in its ways for far too long, and Vicki is here to shake things up and address areas that have never been touched. Another venture she’s developing is Women’s Motocross Camps. After growing up surrounded by male competitors, she recognizes that “I was at the level where I can do whatever the men are doing, but it's not the case for everyone.” When first arriving at the camp, she “was able to experience what it's like for women at all different skill levels.” That experience lit a fire under Vicki to create a space where women can learn with whatever level of skill they have and be taught correctly. “I realized that no one has taught them the right way. Because they have been taught wrong, they never would have progressed, how could they? There were so many women in those three days that progressed, night and day.”
Vicki is building a judgment-free space where women can openly learn without intimidation. “I didn't realize because I'm so used to it, but women see it as a safe place to be able to learn. If they drop their bike trying to start or stop it, it's okay. Another woman will come and pick it up and say, ‘I did that yesterday’. They’re all in the same boat. It’s cool that they can have a safe environment where they can learn judgment-free and know there's not going to be some dude laughing because they know how to do it without thinking.”
Vicki is working to create more camps around the US that improve women’s skills, prevents injuries, and creates a community of like-minded female riders. Keep an eye out for “Over and Out Motocross Camp” which will be expanding in the coming year.
Vicki Golden is dominating every aspect of motocross both on and off the bike. By mentoring and creating modern ways to steer motocross in a new direction, she’s breaking barriers and once again, making history. And she said it best: “I don't know how many more ‘world’s first’ I have left in the tank. So, I'd like to make sure that I'm still making an impact on and off the bike, where I can help kids and help women.”
Women of Speed | Brittany Force