In 2008, French motocross rider Livia Lancelot won the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championshipand became the first ever women’s world champion in the history of motocross. This victory came right in the middle of a shifting conversation within the world of action sports: rather than talking about the best champions, people were increasingly talking about why more women weren’t becoming the best champions. Gender imbalance and action sports have traditionally gone hand in hand, and motocross is no exception. However, things are tangibly improving on that front: since the Powder Puff National in 1974 – the first big female motocross race in the U.S. – we’ve seen an influx of competitions pop up specifically giving props to female athletes. There’s the WMX championship series, the X Games, the Endurocross series, just to name a few; and in the 2000s, women’s motocross became an official part of the AMA Pro National series, one of the world’s most prestigious motocross championships. And it’s not just about organisations moving to include women, too. Traditional motocross audiences want to see more women excelling in the sport, as exemplified by Vicki Golden: despite being the first woman in the Freestyle Motocross competition at LA’s X Games 2013 and despite competing against prominent male riders, she earned a bronze medal based off of real-time voting from people tuning into the competition on Twitter.
The impact of including women in motocross culture has been so tangible that women are increasingly participating in the sport even in countries like Iran, where women are banned from riding motorcycles in public. On the wave of this momentum, Girls are Awesome caught up with Livia about what it’s like being the only girl at the start line and what the women’s scene in motocross is like today.