Let’s hear it for the girls with 90 Racing MXC!
Everyone knows just how challenging motocross is but how much harder is it for the girl racers? Well, at 90 Racing
MXC every season we get some really good quality girl riders who mix it up in the dirt with the boys. Every year we award those girl racers at our Presentation night with little extras like flowers because we think it takes a special girl to ride in such a masculine industry and the girls need celebrating! Some of the girl riders we have had a quick chat with, just to see what they think. Lucy Hamer, riding a Big Wheel 85cc bike commented, “It is hard, when you are racing boys. They are usually stronger and faster, and it’s difficult to be taken seriously as a girl. It’s got harder as I move up the groups. But it’s good because I do feel special as one of the only girls on the line, and I also like to beat the boys because they always complain more.”
Report by Lynsey Hamer – Images Courtesy of Gavin Ithell Photography
Rolling around the dirt and playing with engines may not be every girls dream but at 90 Racing MXC we have always had girls, many who started racing in the Autos like Katy Hamer. When asked why she loves the sport so much Katy said she like to defy a stereotype, while Libby Chatburn in the 65s says she wants to show girls can do anything boys can. Vickie Hornsby, now an adult rider, says some of the attitudes she has faced have been difficult. She has heard comments
such as “She’s alright for a girl, Have you seen that girl rider? I won’t get beaten by a girl.” She defies those critics, saying the competitiveness, desire and passion to win is just the same being a girl in a male-dominated sport.
Leah Sherriff, who rode from being an Auto also had something to say. We had a quick chat with her about how she feels about racing and she stated, “Well, I just wanted to beat the boys because they laughed at me off-track“. Grace Richards is a high flyer in her group, right at the frontline of girl’s motocross after a sterling performance at the 2017 Girls National said this, “Because I’ve always raced with boys it’s just the norm for me. I’m more nervous
when I’m doing the girls races as I’ve got more to prove. I’ve found the 85 Small Wheel group a lot more aggressive because the boys don’t like getting beat by a girl.”
One good question is how the men feel about the ladies in with them? Alex Hornsby regularly posts how proud he is of his wife Vickie for her riding, while most motocross dads get very protective of their girls on track. One male rider (who asked not to be named!) said it changes how he rides when he knows it’s a girl in front as he is automatically is more considerate, whereas Adam Marsden said some of the girls are better than the boys, and they should just go for it! Alex Hamer agrees with Adam that some of the girls are miles better than the lads and they should get treated with the same respect on the track.
Most people are in agreement that it is still unusual for girls to ride motocross, and that when they do ride they are challenged by the perception of motocross as a boys sport. However slowly but surely the motocross industry is catching on. Over recent years innovations such as the Girl’s National has gotten bigger and bigger. The accessories have got pinker (more gender segregation right there!) and there is a bigger variety of ladies clothing, cut to fit women, available from a wide range of outlets. However, when you look at the marketing of motocross, the perception of the public, even the naming of clubs the image of schoolboy motocross is hard to get away from. Around 7 years ago at 90 Racing we changed the name of the 125/250 group from the Schoolboys to the Rookies in an effort to neutralise some of the stereotyping. There is a huge opportunity for motocross to expand and get fresh riders into the sport, but it needs a sport-wide approach to encouraging more ladies in. Reducing the barriers girls face getting into the sport, and getting support behind them once they are riding is absolutely key to transforming the face of the sport. The sport is ready for change – this should be one of them.