“She Races” is a weekly online feature brought to you by Blustarr.com
It is important for the women of this sport to stick together and work towards a better future that will continue to grow. The racers of today need to support the generation of tomorrow, because these are the rider that are will make the next series of changes in the sport. We asked a few of the most influential women racers in the world what advice they would give to future riders interested in coming through the ranks…
Sarah Whitmore: “It’s won’t be easy. Riding a bike in general takes a certain degree of toughness that most people don’t possess. Add being a female in a male-dominated sport and it’s going to require not just physical toughness, but inner strength as well. But, if it is what you love, then don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do it!”
Amanda Brown: “As individuals, we have accomplished a great deal, both on and off the track. However, I feel that if all of us would stick together, we could make a great difference. It is one of the difficult things about being part of a male-dominated sport. The only way things will change is if we all work together.”
Jessica Patterson: “Take it day by day with lots of practice and never give up. You may have the worst days but you have to push through them, and usually they end up being the best. And always have fun!”
Maria Franke: “Every girl should try to ride! It’s the best sport ever!”
Rachel Gutish: “Just go for it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you are fast enough or good enough, just give it your best shot. Everybody has to start somewhere, and any girl who has the guts to get out there and race is automatically awesome in my book. It’s an adventure and you won’t regret it.”
Sara Pettersson: “Just go for it and don’t listen to the people who say that girls can’t ride. If anyone tells you that you can’t, go out there and prove they are wrong. The guys who say you can’t are probably scared that you are going to beat them.”
Name: Gracie Van Horne
Hometown: Sundance, Wyoming
Sponsors: FMF, Fly Racing, EBR Performance, SCOTT Sports , Hinson Clutch Components
Special Thanks: Mom and Dad, Jerry Masterpool and the Masterpool family.
Gracie Van Horne started riding at seven years old, when her father bought a bike from eBay for her brother. As soon as she saw the bike, she was determined to ride and after less than a year of riding, she lined up for her first race. By being inspired by her father and older brother, Van Horne developed an incomparable love for the sport and has gone on to place highly at various amateur events, including taking second overall at Loretta’s in the Girl’s (12-16) and eighth overall in the Womens’s (14+) divisions. She looks to continue rising through the ranks and achieving the dream of winning at Loretta’s, medaling at the X Games, and qualifying for the outdoor Nationals.
What experiences you have had, both good and bad, from being part of a male-dominated sport?
Some good experiences I have had was getting more recognition when you beat the boys. It’s always a good feeling to know that you can compete with them, especially when you beat them. But, with it being a male-dominated sport, there are not so good experiences too. You can work so hard, just as hard as the boys, and yet you don’t get near the support that they do.
Did you know you wanted to dedicate yourself to racing immediately, or were you into other sports when you were younger?
In the first couple years of racing, I also played basketball competitively. But as I got older and started racing and traveling more, I realized this is what I wanted to do with my life, so I quit basketball and focused only on moto.
Did you ever think you would make it as far as you have?
Yes, I think so. I have a love for the sport and I will push myself as hard as I can to achieve all that I can. I am in this sport for the long haul and do not plan to stop any time soon.
Is there anything you would like let the reader out know about you or your thoughts?
I would just like for the readers to know that I am 100-percent committed to this sport and even though I’m a girl, I am willing to make the best of a man’s sport and prove that women can do and be anything they chose to be.
What’s it like to go to high school and still try to find the time to race and train?
It was hard being in school and trying to find the time to race, workout, and have good weather to practice in. We live in northern Wyoming and only have about five good months out of the year that we can ride, so finding time to commit to my racing was definitely a challenge.
What makes you love motocross?
There is just something that makes me have an unconditional love for it. I love that when you ride, everything bad in the world seems to disappear. As soon as you throw you leg over the bike, that is all that matters. You have no worries in the world.
What would you say to any girl that wants to ride?
Definitely don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t, because you can! And just have fun every time you ride; that’s the most important thing, just to have fun. If your not having fun, why do it?