It’s nearly one year since Vicki Golden, 22, became the first woman to complete Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross. This accomplishment earned her an endorsement to compete in the 250 class in Monster Energy Supercross. And now, Vicki Golden Supercross debut has arrived. Upon qualifying she’ll race against the men in the 14 February, Arlington Texas race– Valentine’s Day!
Vicki has three X Games gold medals in Women’s Moto X Racing and a bronze in Moto X Best Whip, will ride for the Mississippi-based Hanson Racing Team (HRT) aboard a Suzuki.
The Road to Supercross program began in 2013 and allows any rider, male or female, the chance to qualify for Supercross. Vicki still spent four seasons on the circuit with one goal: earn her license to race Supercross.
The El Cajon’s (California) resident has become the first woman rider to qualify to compete in the national AMA Supercross series in a very long time. Though Vicki doesn’t see herself as a pioneer or an activist on behalf of women motorcycle riders competing in male-dominated sports – she’s actually happy that she isn’t the first female to compete in Supercross. That honor goes to Dorene Payne who attempted to qualify for the 1983 San Diego Supercross at Jack Murphy Stadium. In 2000, Italian Stefy Bau attempted four events in what was then called the 125 class (now 250SX).
“Earning the right to ride through the qualifying process means more to me than just being a girl in the series,” Golden said. “I’ve proved I have the skills. There were girls long ago who entered just to be able to say they were a part of it. “It doesn’t really make a difference that I’m the first woman. I guess it’s more being the only one who qualified. That’s awesome. No one can tell me I can’t race Supercross or that I’m only there because I have an exemption” she adds.
It took her three years to finally quality and she considered retiring from the sport last year when she was unable to find the financial backing to compete in Arenacross. “I almost gave up the dream last year,” Golden said. “I didn’t ride any races and I was ready to call it quits.”
Her ride on team HRT is KTM-supported. Todd Hanson, the team owner, agrees with Vicki continuing to compete with her personal sponsors, which include Suzuki and One Industries. HRT is not paying Golden a salary, but the team is taking care of all expenses including bike transport, mechanic, travel, and lodging and entry fees. These costs alone are between $50,000 and $60,000 per rider. Hanson has been a silent benefactor to Golden’s career since he met her at a Women’s Motocross Championship race four years ago, and he’s happy to finally be able to include her on his team.
Vicki’s first objective is to qualify for what is called the “night show,” and she would be the first female to do so. At each round of Supercross, only 44 spots are available for the racing that spectators see and which appears on television. To earn one of those gate positions, a rider must record a lap time during the practice sessions within the top 44 times. During the night show, the 44 qualified riders then compete to get into the championship-points paying main event, where 22 positions are available.
Vicki was making a run at getting her Supercross credential in 2012 when she was sidelined by a broken collarbone. Then the lack of a sponsor wiped out the 2013 season. Things turned around last summer at the X Games. Golden believes her riding style is better suited to the longer Supercross stadium races than the indoor Arenacross events. She also prefers Supercross over the outdoor National Motocross series.
We’ll be cheering! Go #423 Vicki Golden!