It’s been a long old journey for women’s motocross, and it has overcome many obstacles during its time to be where it is today. Originally dating back to the 1940s, women began riding motorbikes competitively in the wilderness. As the decades progressed into the 1960s, independence and gender equality made way for women to compete in sports arenas and racetracks.
As that particular decade grew old, women were showing an increasing interest in the field of motorbike racing, with more and more events being organised with them involved. Around this time, certain women would ride for the first time in races such as Baja 500 which really put them on the map. The two women in question, Mary McGee and Lynn Wilson, would go on to become legends in the women’s motorbiking world. Cherry Stockton was soon added to the list of acclaimed females when she completed the Mint 400 in Las Vegas as part of a team with McGee. Other women made telling contributions at the time as well, furthering the interest.
As motocross was introduced to the US in the early 1970s, women began to claim certain bikes as their own and won a factory sponsorship, with a “Powder Puff National Champion” prize awarded to one out of 300 female racers. In 1975, the title of this championship was changed to the more appropriate “Women’s Motocross Nationals” and has been an annual event ever since, except in 1982 and 1986.
Canada was also given the green light to hold female motocross events in 1972 when a group of women from California were invited to form a team to compete at the CanAm series. Furthermore, a Scottish event had a US woman compete in it, while Nancy Payne, the first champion of the Women’s Motocross Nationals, raced in Europe. Certain women even made it the Evil Knievel Australian event in 1979, exemplifying the true reach that women’s motocross was having across the globe.
As women’s motocross was often covered in the media, this ensured that plenty of females became interested in it. It featured on ABC’s Wide World of Sports in 1979, and the top 10 racers in the US performed in front of 70,000 people at the LA Coliseum, earning an almighty cheer. The women’s Supercross Invitational took place in San Diego in 1983, covered by NBC, and the Women’s Motocross Nationals were drawing attention from broadcasters too.
This has continued into the subsequent decades until the present day, with the 40-year anniversary of the Women’s Motocross Nationals coming and going, but celebrated fiercely. Plenty of organisations and pioneering people have made women’s motocross the spectacle that it is today, and these people/groups will never be forgotten by anyway who follows the sport. The sport has also begun to use social media efficiently to appeal to the masses even more, furthering the sport towards people who otherwise wouldn’t have considered it.
With so much to look forward to, all of us here at DMSports-WSMX.com are eagerly anticipating the future, as women’s motocross is in no mood to slow down any time soon!