WMA Pro Championship Title Contenders Previewed

Bend, OR (April 28, 2004) ¿ The 2004 AMA-WMA National Motocross Championship will commence May 8th at Glen Helen Raceway and the competition for the Title will be thriving.

Last year¿s Women¿s Pro Champion, Steffi Laier (KTM), went undefeated all season, but will be sitting the 04¿ series out due to school and racing obligations in her home country of Germany. She will be returning in 2005. With the absence of Laier, the next sound bet for the 04¿ Championship is Sarah Whitmore, from Cheboygan, Michigan. Whitmore finished on the podium at all but one of the Women¿s Pro Nationals last year concluding the season 2nd in points. In addition, she won the women¿s senior class at Loretta Lynn¿s after a few years of playing runner-up to Jessica Patterson. Whitmore recently made the switch from two-stroke to four-stroke and has re-signed with AGP Racing.com/Yamaha/Thor women¿s team. If she rides the four-stroke as well as her 125cc, she¿ll have a great shot at the title.


The rivalry from Loretta Lynn¿s between Whitmore and Patterson is likely to carry over to the Nationals this year as Jessica Patterson, from Tallahassee, FL, has proven herself a threat again already winning both the women¿s A class at Lake Whitney and at the Women¿s A class at the GNC Finals. Patterson has several Loretta Lynn¿s Championships and a WML Championship (2000) under her belt. In addition, she finished second in the WML series in 2002. However, she had an injury-plagued year in 2003 (think the replay of her at Hangtown on Espn2). At the Altex/WML Cup this past November, Patterson led the first moto for several laps before surrendering the lead to Laier. Laier later commented that the first moto was the best race of the year.  After years with Team Green, Patterson has switched to Honda, riding a CRF 250 for Honda Houston, Pro Circuit and Fox Racing.

Up and comer, Tarah Gieger, from Puerto Rico, shows signs that she will be in the running as well. She finished 4th in the 03¿ WML Pro Championship, 3rd at the WML/Altex Cup and won the Loretta Lynn¿s qualifier at Lake Whitney this past March (where both Patterson and Whitmore were racing). At each race she seems to show up faster than the one before. Tarah will be riding a CR125 R for Honda of Houston/HRCA and Alpinestars.

Never to be underestimated is Stefy Bau, Italian native now living in Tallahassee, FL. She is a former two-time WML Pro Champion (1999 and 2002). Although she had a lack-luster year in 03¿ and couldn¿t complete the series due to an injury, she was back in strong form at the Altex/WML Cup finishing 2nd overall. She is strategic about winning a championship and historically has remained consistent throughout the season. Bau will race the 250 four-stroke with the help of American Honda, TOC, and Answer.

Also, 2001 WML Pro Champion, Tania Satchwell, originally from Taupo, New Zealand now living in Denver, CO, may have not been able to race two of the six races last season, but still managed to finish 7th in points by making it on the podium at Glen Helen and Spring Creek. She is now fully recovered from breaking both wrists prior to Steel City and back on an YZ 250F for AGPRacing.com/Yamaha/Thor. If Tania shows up with her game on she could be a powerful competitor.

Among the best wagers for who will make the podium are: Alex Haupt (Team Green) of Triptis, Germany who finished 3rd in points in the 03¿ series; Leah Cantrell (Suz) Marietta, GA, Jessye Davis (HON) Sykesville, MD; Marisa Hampshire (YAM) Hudson, FL, Saya Suzuki (SUZ) of Japan, Jessica Snyder (Suz), of Elburn, IL and the FireandPoliceMX.com Team, as well as Elin Mann (KTM) of Sweden.

This year¿s WMA Pro rookies include 2003 WML Amateur Champion April Hodges (Team Green/KAW), FL: Tanya Elbers (SUZ), CA; Cheryl McCullough (KAW), MD; Philo Petricig (HON) IL;; Danni Russell (KTM), MI; Shiri Howell (KAW), WA; Sharlin Humphreys (SUZ), CA; and Jenny Krick (HON), WA. In addition, Elizabeth Bash (Team Green/KAW), CA will have her first full pro season this year.

The 2004 AMA/WMA National Motocross Championship is certain to provide great racing. More rider¿s from around the globe will compete throughout the summer including Haupt, Mann, Suzuki, Alyssa Culley from Australia, Jessica Gebhardt from Germany, June Skyette from Denmark, Olga Podhvatilina from Russia, as well as Canadian¿s Jolene Van Vugt, Jessica Foster, Malarie Prochnavy, and Kristina Sundal.

To follow WMA Pro Racing check www.womensmxassociation.com for updates, results, points standings, and schedule for televised coverage the Monday following the race. Full racer bios are also available on the WMA site.

The WMA Championship is sponsored by Honda, Dunlop Tires, Scott USA Thor Racing, Alpinestars, Rite Tie, KTM, Kawasaki, Sick Racing, Racer X Illustrated, VP Racing Fuels, Universal, Pro Clean, I Precision and AMP Research.

WMA National Numbers
* 2003 Top 10 in brackets

4     Sarah Whitmore (2), MI
6     Sheena Patterson (6), CA
7     Jacki Short (10), CA
12    Jessica Snyder, IL
14    Kaide Garrett, CA
16    Jessica Gebhardt, GER
17    Elizabeth Bash, CA
18    Alyssa Culley, AUS
19    Kirsten Raemisch , WI
20    Ashley Boham, CO
21    Tamara Fern, AUS
24    Maleria Prochnavy , CAN
25    Katie Wakely, ENG
26    Bonnie Warch, CA
27    Jennifer Caputo, CA
28    Jessica Foster, CAN
30    Jolene Van Vugt, CAN
32    Mickey Gonzalez, CO
33    Tamra Madden, AZ
34    Camille Baker, CAN
41    Elin Mann, SWE
54    Emily Norton, WA
67    Shelly Harens, MN
68    Tarah Gieger (4), PR
76    Saya Suzuki, JAP
87    Tanya Elbers, CA
88    Olga Podhvatilina , RUS
91    Dorene Payne, CA
99    Alex Haupt (3), GER
100   Dee Wood, TX
105   Tania Satchwell, NZ (7)
109   Ashley Wheat, MS
110   Steffi Laier (1), GER
115   Sharlin Humphreys, CA
117   April Hodges, FL
139   Danni Russell, MI
144   Nikki Harris, WA
157   Philo Petricig, IL
189   Shiri Howell, WA
190   Kristina Sundal, CAN
198   Cheryl McCullough, MD
195   Jenny Krick, WA
199   June Skyette, DEN
211   Stefy Bau, ITA
245   Jessye Davis (8), MD
250   Jessica Patterson, (9), FL
321   Marisa Hampshire (5), FL
322   Leah Cantrell, FL
413   Heather Williams, GA
527   Jamie Pamintuan, CA
627   Lindsey Jelitto, CO
913   Tracy Fleming, WA

Past Women¿s Pro National Champions

2003 – Steffi Laier
2002 – Stefy Bau
2001 – Tania Satchwell
2000 – Jessica Patterson
1999 – Stefy Bau
1998 – Dee Wood
1997 – Traci Fleming
1996 – Shelly Harens