Years after the WMX I knew growing up was downsized from its former glory featuring Ashley Fiolek and Jessica Patterson, the hurt, pain, and wounds within the Women’s Motocross Community still fester as we await for the 2016 schedule to be released. While the realization of the aftermath has set in, the questions have never been answered, and acceptance has yet to sink in.
The decision to make the WMX a three round series and then demoted to Amateur status with the rounds being hosted on either Amateur day on Pro Weekend or at Amateur Nationals, was merely a business decision without acknowledging the human/ ethical side, or taking into consideration the women and work and money they put into it.
For me, college was always in my plans. While I had figured out how to juggle school, work, and racing, having the WMX ripped out from under me and all the rest of us aspiring to race Professional Women’s Motocross was one of the most devastating feelings in the world, over time I took what was left and felt grateful for the opportunities I still had to compete at that level if I decided that was the right step for me. There for, this is not about me. This is about Kylie Fasnacht, Kaitlyn Morrow, Shelby Rolen, and all the other girls either competing or aspiring to compete in the WMX.
With some time to look back at the decisions made, the aftermath of what Women’s Motocross was left with, and the future bright and on the brink, it is important to evaluate these decisions and how we can add the human/ethical aspect into future decisions. When talking about adding extra classes and hosting WMX rounds on Pro-Day, from a business side, we have to look at the bottom line and what money comes in and out, but you cannot just take the human emotion side out of it. For every decision ever made for Women’s Motocross, hundreds and thousands of Women are affected and left either excited or devastated.
What I have found to be even more devastating is the decisions that have been made have caused the majority of Women to be afraid of speaking up for what they want in fear that they will have everything taken away from them instead of encouraging them to continue to push forward in progressing Women’s Motocross.
These decisions have also put a negative light on promoters, and they have been criticized over and over by the actions they take from race to race and event to event. Instead of the racers and their families working with these promoters and vice versus, there seems to be tension and a division between the two.
While, as Chix Mx, I see many amazing improvements and possibilities from the future of Women’s Motocross, it’s hard for an outsider to see the bigger picture from both the promoters and racers.
So here is my open letter to the Women’s Motocross Community. For the promoters and racers in how we go forth in our efforts to progress Women’s Motocross.
What most of the Women want the promoters to know or understand is that when the WMX was downsized, there were many amazing and talented young women who were spending lots of money and time training and racing toward a goal to race WMX. It’s hard to keep a class when it may not be making the money or filling the gates like other classes, but that doesn’t take away from the efforts the Women are putting in. In fact, many Women are putting in the same amount of effort and then some as the men, and therefore should be given the same opportunities, even if that means losing a little bit of money or time here and there. Pulling the WMX and taking away the opportunity for industry to support the Women and allowing the Women the opportunity to race on Pro-Day in front of the big crowds crushed more dreams than were realized. This is about the love of the support and the people that were affected. If the Women are putting forth the same effort as the Men, they should be given the same opportunities.
Though, it is easy to cast off our problems on one another, the problem with Women’s Motocross can equally be blamed between both racers and promoters. While many promoters allow WMX Pros to race at Amateur Nationals in Amateur classes, this is not ethical and does not help progress Women’ Motocross in any shape, form, or fashion. As role models and leaders in Women’s Motocross, when you apply for your WMX License, WMX Pros are deciding to take that step into becoming a Professional Motocross Racer just like the men. A Pro racing Amateur Nationals is wrong and it does not make the WMX Pros look like Pros. In fact, it makes the WMX Pros look like Amateurs. While I understand the arguments for the WMX Pros wanting the publicity and contingency, the Women and Promoters should come to an agreement and understand that an Amateur class is just that, for amateurs, and there should be an Open class for WMX Pros to come race. This also allows for Amateurs to race two classes and gain the experience against the Pros.
My favorite quote is from the movie A Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come… I’m not saying that adding an opening class is going to be a money maker at first, and the Women may not know what to do with it at first. I’m not saying that you are going to fill a 42 bike gate at a Pro National overnight. What I am saying is that over time, these things will allow for the growth of Women’s Motocross. It is ethically right, and one that should be made so that Women’s Motocross can grow and progress.
When we talk about Women’s Motocross and the WMX, we often make it out to be a grey area. In reality, it’s black and white. You are either a WMX Pro or you aren’t. The grey area lies in how we treat are pros and how we allow them to compete in amateur classes.
As we round out the 2015 year, this is where Women’s Motocross stands. This is the state at which we are at, and that state is a cross-roads. We have seen Mxsports make the best and most important decision for Women’s Motocross that anyone may have ever made, and that is with the Women’s All-Star class at Loretta Lynn’s, but so much is left to be done. It is up to the racers to ask for more, to be grateful for what they have but not settle. To know that they deserve everything the men get, but not more. It’s up to all track owners and promoters to add the Women’s Open class and not allow the WMX Pros to race Amateur classes. 2016 holds so many promises and the opportunities are endless. My question is what are we going to do about it?