Although you’re forgiven if you’ve never heard of the Women’s Motocross Association (WMA), Southern California MX fans may have seen some seriously fast ladies ripping up the incredibly rough Glen Helen track on Saturday (in between men’s Pro motos at the annual outdoors ‘Prequel’). Founded just a bit more than two years ago, the WMA appears to have already taken the role of the world’s premier sanctioning body for women’s professional motocross racing.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with a few WMA racers on the Friday morning prior to the Glen Helen race, courtesy of new series sponsor Kawasaki. Seeing these girls in action around the track at Glen Helen, besides reminding me how slow I am on an MX bike, was a revelation about the current level of Pro competition in the WMA series. Of course, none of the WMA racers are going to be out dicing with James Stewart and Ricky Carmichael, but there are some talented MX riders in this series, and the fact that a few of them are physically very small only makes it that much more entertaining to watch them throw a full-size MX bike around on a rough track.
As I said, the WMA has quickly become the premier sanctioning body in the world for women’s MX. Besides the fact that the WMA has an AMA charter (the WMA pro class champion is recognized at the AMA Sport Award Banquet), take as evidence the participation of female racers from as far away as New Zealand (it doesn’t get much farther away than that, does it?) who have come to the US to pursue their dream of success in professional MX racing.
Doesn’t sound too much different from the men’s AMA Supercross and Motocross, does it? It’s hard not to be impressed by the worldwide prestige the WMA series has attained in the short time since it was started in 2004.
Partly due to the influx of fast females from overseas, the 2006 WMA pro field is the strongest that women’s MX has ever seen. In fact, the opening race at Glen Helen on Saturday was won by one of those New Zealand imports, 17-year old phenom Katherine Prumm. In between contesting the Women’s World MX Championship in Europe (where she is in contention for the title), the Kawasaki rider has made time to come to the US for two rounds of the WMA series, hoping to earn a contract to race the series full-time next year.
In 2006, WMA races will run in conjunction with four AMA Outdoor Nationals – Hangtown, Washougal, Broome-Tioga, and Steel City. So check out the WMA web site, and if you find yourself in the pits at one of the aforementioned nationals, take the time to walk away from the long autograph lines at the factory semis and go talk to one of the WMA racers. I’m certain that the WMA series will end up with a new fan.