Vicki Golden’s absence from the WMA circuit this season has been noticeable, as it is one less fulltime rider in a relatively slim field. While some may consider this to be a detriment to her career, Golden has instead changed the focus of her goals from chasing the WMA title to earning an AMA men’s professional license and is doing so by racing the National Arenacross tour. Her time in the tight confines of arenas was apparent as she ran away to her second straight X Games gold medal in Women’s Moto-X last weekend.
You are a few days out after winning your second X Games gold medal. How does it feel?
It feels great. I knew what I had coming in, all my training during the winter was Arenacross, so I knew I had the intensity and everything. I spent the last few weeks with Sean Hamblin doing basic bike skills and putting in laps at Ronnie Faisst’s house. I felt confident coming in and when we were there and I knew the layout. I was happy with the outcome.
You have had an unorthodox schedule this year where you have skipped doing the Nationals but did the Arenacross tour instead. Do you think that has paid off?
Yeah, I think it was a really smart decision to not race the Women’s outdoors. It costs a lot of money and I am no millionaire or anything, so I thought it would be best to skip it and put what little bit I had into X Games and get money in return, which would be questionable in the outdoors because there is not money in Women’s racing. I thought it was smarter to focus on Arenacross, because that is what I am passionate about, and the goal I have is to earn a men’s pro license. I picked what I wanted to do and place my money into something I really wanted to do. The outdoors, of course I would do them in a heartbeat if there were money in it, but I have to choose what I spend my money on. It wasn’t a priority to go racing Outdoors.
How did you adapt to the Arenacross tour? It is competitive, tight, and there are always new people at every round. Do you feel you faired well?
My first race was in 2011 on a Honda, and I was definitely nervous. I was able to roll around the track on press day on the first day on my own, and I jumped everything fine. They were on 450’s, so I didn’t have anyone to follow or check up on. I adapted to the track easily on my own, so I was happy with that. At every single round I got better and better, and I made a main event and then started getting good results in the main event. That first year was great and the second year was even more competitive than the first. Being on the best team out there, with Babbits, was a huge step to make. But the guys are intense and it is intense just rolling around the track because it is so tight. Staying off to the edge doesn’t work; you have to be on it. You can’t leave the door open, because those guys will take the whole thing if you give them an inch.
And your riding style reflects that. Has racing against men rubbed off on you or is it something you have always had?
I think I have always had it. I grew up in San Diego and all the tracks being in Temecula, it is about an hour away. My family didn’t have millions of dollars to go racing, so we chose to just ride out in the hills. And the tracks built in the hills weren’t easy to get to, so I always had to be hill climbing or hopping over logs and rocks to get to the tracks we made. I think all of my bike skills came from riding out there, because you can’t ride like a girl out in the hills (Laughs). I think that is where I got it from and it intensified once I started racing. I grew up racing boys all the way to 60’s and 80’s, and then finally there was a girl’s class to race and I started racing that. I kind of grew up racing guys, so I knew it from the start.
How important is the X Games to your program? You tailor your entire year around it, but does it get you a lot of support and recognition from your sponsors?
Hopefully. That is the whole idea of it and getting a paycheck is always nice. Getting a paycheck from riding your dirt bike and having fun is the best part of it, and hopefully people step up and realize that I wasn’t a one hit wonder, and that this is for real. I hope that it will pick up. After last year, it was like luck of the draw for me and they still ignored what I did, and they used others for the hype-up instead of me. I hope this proved that I can win no matter who is on the line.
Is it frustrating to be in a sport, be as competitive as you are, and have the focus be on one rider and not give the rest the chance for publicity?
Yeah, for sure. Not to bash, but I am going to say that Fiolek gets a lot of the attention. Which she should, she has done a lot for our sport, but there are a lot of women coming up that are doing things that are just as amazing as what she is doing. And it’s not just me. I race men here in America, but Meghan Rutledge does the same thing in Australia. The things that we are doing deserve just as much attention. Nothing against Fiolek, but she does get a lot of attention around our sport and it overshadows us. She is a great person and I am friends with her, but it is definitely frustrating.
After last year you said people felt you were a “one hit wonder,” but did you get any new support for this year?
I did. I got huge amount of support from Poynt.com and Rick Ware Racing. They do a lot in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, so for them to carry over is a huge step. That’s a NASCAR team and that is huge. To work with Rick and have a bike that reflects on NASCAR is huge for me and for the sport, too. For all of what they are doing in NASCAR and to carry it over into the moto industry, and the female moto industry, is huge and I am glad to be working with them.
You’ve stated that your ultimate goal is to get a men’s pro license. How much longer will it be until you achieve that, and from there will you try to qualify for Supercross races?
That is the plan. I want to be able to earn my license; I don’t want an exception or do one race to see if I can do it. I want to earn a license and do it racing Arenacross, because I don’t want to go to every race in advance to get a license. I want to do it where it takes Supercross and Arenacross skill to earn it to go race Supercross. It is the first step to being allowed to race Supercross. But, for right now and after winning X Games, hopefully it will get me