On December 23rd, Mxsports released the Tentative Rules for 2017; which, included changes to the Women’s Class once again.
Women (12+) Amateur (99-250cc): Riders must be minimum 14 years of age in order to compete on a 250cc machine. Past WMX champions and the top 5 overall finishing positions from the previous two years WMX Championships are not eligible for the Women Amateur class.
In the previous two years, Women’s Motocross made a large step forward by having two classes: The Women’s +14 and the Women’s All-Star. This allowed the Women to participate and qualify in two separate classes. The previous class structure gave the WMX rider the opportunity to compete on a larger scale than the majority of their own Professional Series without compromising the amateurs. For the first time, there was a distinction in what was a Women’s Pro and what a Women’s Amateur is classified as.
Together, the Women’s Motocross Community strives to work toward something greater for ourselves now and for the younger girls growing up. The two separate classes gave hope for a change in the direction of Women’s Motocross and the possibilities of having two full gates for the Women and Loretta Lynn’s.
Unfortunately, instead of working toward two separate classes, we have taken a step back. With the current state of the WMX, this change does not benefit Women’s Motocross. In 2016, the majority of the WMX Nationals were on Amateur Nationals. In the past, when the rules were as they now state, the WMX had their rounds on Pro Day with the men; where they had the industry support and publicity that they do not gain now. Today, the majority of the publicity and recognition the Women gain is from Loretta Lynn’s themselves.
So why is this new class structure detrimental to the future for Women’s Motocross? For one, it does not make sense. Logically, if you are going to exclude the top 5 WMX Pros, you should exclude all the WMX Pros. When you sign up to race the WMX you make that decision to turn pro. Though, that does not benefit Women’s Motocross either. As of now, we need to allow the WMX to compete in front of the industry without compromising the amateur’s opportunity to compete in a true amateur class. Having a Women’s All-Star class and Women’s Amateur class is a win, win for everyone.
What needs to happen is for the class structure to go back to the way they had it in the past two years with the Women’s All-Star and Women’s +14. Instead of calling the Women’s All-Star as it originally named, they should rename it to the Women’s Open. If you can fill the gate with the Women’s Amateur as they would like to see with the new class structure, then you can fill a gate with the Women’s Open, because you are filling it with the WMX Pros and the Amateurs. The Women’s +12 class is exclusive whereas the Women Amateur and Women’s Open is inclusive.
Some will say that having two separate gates will never happen and even asking for such would be outlandish. Other will say that the split gate is awful and that is not the way as well. And then you will have those that make the decision that instead of listening, will take this blog and emails as something personal. This isn’t about that. This is about having two classes that will benefit Women’s Motocross.
I challenge each and every one of you reading this to think about the future for Women’s Motocross and how we can make this greater for ourselves and for the younger girls growing up. I have no dog in this fight, because I made the decision to sit out Loretta Lynn’s this year; though I care enough about this enough to see past right now. I feel for the 5 WMX riders that will be excluded from this event, and I encourage you all to email and inquire about this decision and push to go back to two classes. Instead of adding another Women’s class, they added the 7th C class to the a-ray of C classes they already offer.