2008 AMA/WMA Women’s National Motocross – Thunder Valley

Round three of the AMA/WMA National MX Championship Series visited Thunder Valley Raceway in Lakewood, Colorado, and the results yielded a first-time moto winner and also saw series points leader Ashley Fiolek extend her win streak to three. Zip Ty Racing’s Sheri Cruse was second overall with 4-1 moto scores, ahead of defending champ Jessica Patterson, who went 3-2 for third. For Cruse, it was the diminutive 19-year-old’s first ever pro class moto win, and she earned ut in style, leading from start to finish.

When the gate dropped on the first WMA moto, Ashley Fiolek grabbed the holeshot on the steep uphill start from the outside gate abaord her DRD Honda. Jessica Patterson followed closely from the far inside, and next came Tarah Gieger and Sarah Whitmore. Gieger and Patterson came together on lap on and the multi-time Women’s champ hit the ground. JP remounted in eighth but began to make up ground quickly.
With Patterson out of the way, Gieger made a run at Fiolek, while Whitmore, Elizabeth Bash and Mariana Balbi trailed. For Gieger, Colorado has always marked a turning point in her season, and this year was no different as she looked much better than she did at the opening two rounds. Gieger stayed right on Fiolek’s rear fender, and the lead duo opened up an eight-second lead over Whitmore by the halfway point. At the crossed flags, Patterson found herself in fourth, right on Whitmore’s tail. Looking to have a power advantage, Patterson foubd her way past by clearing a double that Whitmore was unable to navigate. Once past and into third, Patterson was joined by off-roader Sheri Cruse, who also worked past Whitmore.
As the race wound down, Gieger picked up the pace and closed with two seconds of the Deaf racer. When the two-lap board came out, it was Fiolek and Gieger, Patterson some seven seconds back, then Cruse all alone with Whitmore, Balbi and Bash in tow. At the checkered flag, Fiolek opened up a little more breathing room, and led the top six home in the same running order.
“I knew that because I am light and my bike is fast, I could get the holeshot from the outside,” said Fiolek. “I tried to stay consistent and smart, and didn’t worry about who was behind me or how close they were. The track was smoother than I would have liked it, but it was still fun.”

1. Ashley Fiolek (Hon)
2. Tarah Gieger (Yam)
3. Jessica Patterson (Hon)
4. Sheri Cruse (Suz)
5. Sarah Whitmore (Suz)
6. Mariana Balbi (Kaw)
7. Elizabeth Bash (Kaw)
8. Alisa Nix (Yam)
9. Penni Cyrus (Kaw)
10. Tatum Sik (Kaw)

Moto two of the WMA race started under cloudy skies and bright lights. Cruse grabbed the holeshot aboard her super fast Suzuki and led Geiger, Fiolek, Tatum Sik and Patterson through the opening laps. Patterson was the first rider in the top five to make a move, jumping past Sik over a small double and into fourth.
Cruse held a three-second lead over Gieger by lap three, while Fiolek did everything she could to get past her Yamaha-mounted rival. Patterson closed in on second and third and was on Fiolek’s rear fender with two laps to go. Patterson wowed the crowd by sweeping wide before the Red Bull step down and sailed not past only Fiolek, but Gieger as well to take control of second. Fiolek forced the issue and made her way past Gieger on the white flag lap.
Cruse held on for the first WMA moto win of her career, leading Patterson, Fiolek and Gieger home.
Fiolek’s 1-3 bested Cruse’s 4-1 rfor the overall and extended her win streak to three. Patterson was third overall with her 3-2.

1. Sheri Cruse
2. Jessica Patterson
3. Ashley Fiolek
4. Tarah Gieger
5. Tatum Sik
6. Penni Cyrus
7. Vanessa Florentini (Hon)
8. Elizabeth Bash
99. Sarah Whitmore
10. Mariana Balbi