By Michael Antonovich
Photos courtesy of Kate Moses Swope/ESPN
It is no secret that Ashley Fiolek is a media darling when motocross attempts to branch into the mainstream. Her Red Bull commercial has appeared on nearly every television network over the past year, has been featured in Vouge Magazine, has become an actress, and was most recently featured as a guest on Conan this past week. Though her season is hanging in the balance due to a concussion and her career is branching off in many directions, Fiolek is still a racer at her core. We talked with Ashley and her father, Jim, on what the next few weeks hold for her.
How did the opportunity to be on "Conan" come about? It was something that ESPN coordinated?
Jim: ESPN called me and said that there was a possibility of Ashley going on "Conan" and asked if she would be up for it. And of course, we said we would love to be on it. But they kept telling us that it probably wouldn't happen, but if it does they would have gotten her on there. I guess in the past they have had Shaun White and others scheduled, but their schedule gets changed and they can't get on there. But we couldn't be happier.
This isn't the first time that motocross has been put on late-night television, and in the early 2000's McGrath, Pastrana, and Carmichael all were on with Jay Leno. But theirs were different because they focused on riding, and this was more a based on Ashley.
Ashley: Yeah, this was on growing up and going into racing, the X Games, when it is, and the amazing athletes that are there.
What did you think of Conan? He is quick witted…
Ashley: He was really nice to me, really cool. He wanted me to pick on him more than him pick on me, making jokes about how tall he is and how he can't ride a dirt bike. He came into the room after the show and we talked more there.
How does it feel to be the person that is taking Women's motocross into the mainstream?
Ashley: I don't know that it is going into the mainstream, but if I can try to help do that, it would be great.
What is your role on Switched At Birth?
Ashley: My name is Robin and I ride a motocross bike on the show. I'm introduced as a Women's motocross racer and I kind of flirt with the main guy character on the show.
How much filming have you done on the show?
Ashley: The show is in its second year, but the boy that she has to do most of her scenes with became sick, but he is better now. They start filming next Tuesday.
Have you been in California for an extended period of time now?
Ashley: No, because when I got hurt in Colorado I had to go back home to see the doctor. I went back to Tim Ferry's and then back to St. Augustine. I haven't been able to stay out her because of that and because my co-star was sick. We were supposed to have shot the first episode a month ago, but things got postponed. I'm going to go home and then be back next week for the X Games.
What is the status on your injuries and what happened in Colorado?
Ashley: I don't remember 100 percent, but I remember I was going off a jump with a really hard landing. The wind kind of caught me and I ended up cartwheeling and with a concussion. I had to stay an extra day in Colorado and then finally they let me fly home. They had me do the concussion test and I couldn’t pass, so I had to miss racing in Pennsylvania.
This will change your expectations for the season, but if you are able to come back for Red Bud, where do you see yourself being? Will you be at the front of the pack and hoping to capitalize on mistakes from Jessica Patterson for the championship?
Ashley: I am looking forward to coming back, and I think that I can win. I don’t have any concern with points, so I will go out and try to win as many motos I can and see what happens.
Link to Fiolek’s appearance on Conan: http://teamcoco.com/video/ashley-fiolek-beginnings