WMA Race Report: Steel City
2007 AMA/WMA Pro National MX Championship Presented by Kawasaki

The weather at this year’s running of the Steel City National was strikingly similar to the wet and muddy conditions in ’06, and just like last year Sarah Whitmore demonstrated her mud-riding prowess with a 1-2 performance that gave her the overall win. But while Whitmore took the Steel City victory, it was Jessica Patterson that clinched her fifth WMA Championship title after the first moto on Sunday. In addition to being the final round of the 2007 WMA season, this weekend also marked the pro debut of young Ashley Fiolek, who turned in a solid rookie-debut.

MOTO ONE

When the women lined up for their first moto at 9:30 am, the track was very wet and quickly formed numerous deep ruts. As the ladies came to the line, Jessica Patterson had the lead over Tarah Gieger in the championship standings, and unfortunately for Gieger, things didn’t go her way in the opening moto; she went down in turn one, and despite clawing her way to within one position of Patterson by about lap four, she went down a few times and ended up with a DNF. This clinched the season title for Patterson, who finished the moto in third despite a fall or two of her own.

Ashley Fiolek started her pro career off with a bang in moto one, battling Sarah Whitmore for the holeshot aboard her CR125 to start the race. Fiolek and Whitmore were neck and neck through turn one, but from our vantage point it looked like Fiolek just edged her out for the holeshot. Whitmore, however, quickly jumped out to the lead. Behind Sarah was Vanessa Florentino in second, and Fiolek in third. By lap number two Whitmore had a commanding lead, and from there rode away with the first moto win.

Although she was a ways back in second, Vanessa Florentino rode an impressive race as well. The young New Mexican finished the moto in second place, holding off a charging Jessica Patterson for several laps as the race wore on. Fiolek, meanwhile, ended up sixth after a couple of falls in the deep mud.

RESULTS:

  1. Sarah Whitmore
  2. Vanessa Florentino
  3. Jessica Patterson
  4. Tania Satchwell
  5. Heidi Cooke
  6. Ashley Fiolek
  7. Mariana Balbi
  8. Jolene Van Vugt
  9. Elizabeth Bash
  10. April Zastrow

MOTO TWO

After a long day of AMA National racing, the women finally lined up for the last moto of their ’07 campaign. And once again it was young Ashley Fiolek leading the pack through turn one as she grabbed her second holeshot of the day. But with better track conditions than they had in their early morning first moto, Ashley looked more comfortable as she charged around the track in first place for the first several laps of the moto. What was even more impressive about Ashley’s run out front was that she was holding off none other than Jessica Patterson in second. Eventually, however, Patterson made it by Fiolek in the double-double section at the top of the track.

Once in second place, Fiolek started to feel some pressure from Sarah Whitmore, and a bobble in another rhythm section allowed Whitmore to get by and finish in second place and secure the overall win on the day. Fiolek ended the second moto in third place. A holeshot award and a third place moto finish — not bad for her first day as a pro.

RESULTS:

  1. Jessica Patterson
  2. Sarah Whitmore
  3. Ashley Fiolek
  4. Tania Satchwell
  5. Vanessa Florentino
  6. Tarah Gieger
  7. Elizabeth Bash
  8. Mariana Balbi
  9. Meika Cornelius
  10. Ashley Boham

OVERALL RESULTS:

  1. Sarah Whitmore 1-2
  2. Jessica Patterson 3-1
  3. Vanessa Florentino 2-5
  4. Tania Satchwell 4-4
  5. Ashley Fiolek 6-3
  6. Mariana Balbi 7-8
  7. Elizabeth Bash 9-7
  8. Heidi Cooke 5-11
  9. Tarah Gieger 13-6
  10. Ashley Boham 11-10

FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

  1. Jessica Patterson (268 points)
  2. Tarah Gieger (230)
  3. Tania Satchwell (201)
  4. Elizabeth Bash (194)
  5. Mariana Balbi (193)
  6. Sarah Whitmore (172)
  7. Vanessa Florentino (164)
  8. Alisa Nix (135)
  9. Ashley Boham (108)
  10. Meika Cornelius (92)