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VICKI GOLDEN RETURNS TO AMSOIL ARENACROSS

Metal Mulisha’s Vicki Golden has officially made her return to the Amsoil Arenacross series. Golden made history in AMSOIL Arenacross back in 2011 when she became the first woman in the history of the sport to qualify and race against men in a professional championship. The following season she joined Team Babbitt’s with her sights set on potentially challenging for a title, but injuries prevented her from doing so. Golden took a break from AMSOIL Arenacross competition last season to focus on winning her third consecutive X Games gold medal in Women’s Moto-X and the success there has helped make her an even better technical rider.

“I’m so stoked to be coming back to AMSOIL Arenacross as part of the Ricky Carmichael Road to Supercross,” said Golden. “I had an incredible experience in 2011 and 2012 and I’ve been waiting for the chance to come back and show everyone how much I’ve grown as a rider.”

With a major piece of history already part of her racing résumé, Golden will be looking to add to her legacy as a part of the Road to Supercross. Not only will she become the first woman to join the program, she’ll also have the opportunity to become the first woman to ever earn a license to race Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship.

“It’s always been my dream to one day race in Monster Energy Supercross and the Ricky Carmichael Road to Supercross provides the perfect platform to do that,” added Golden. “The opportunity to fulfill that dream is there for the taking and now it’s up to me to make it happen. I’m excited about the challenge and I can’t wait to race the final five rounds of the series.”

Golden made her return to the series two weekends ago in Nampa, Idaho, where she qualified in the Arenacross Lites Class as well as the Arenacross Class, which helped her earn the first of three points necessary for a 250SX Class endorsement as she hopes to become the first woman in history to have the opportunity to race in Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship.

In the first Heat Race of the evening in the Arenacross Lites Class, Golden got caught up in an incident while battling for position, suffering an injury to her hand. She attempted to compete in her Arenacross Class Heat Race but ultimately decided to call it a night and rest. Despite the misfortune, Golden remained optimistic and excited about her accomplishment and is confident her hand won¹t be much of an issue in the coming weeks as she continues her journey in the Road to Supercross.

AMSOIL Arenacross caught up with Golden after her first night in Nampa to get her thoughts on her first night back in action and the remainder of the 2014 season.

It sounds like you had a bit of a tough outing in your first Heat Race. What exactly happened and are you ok?

Yeah I¹m fine, my hand is just sore and a little swollen but I¹m still able to ride without any discomfort. A couple guys were battling ahead of me in the Arenacross Lites Heat Race and made some contact. I tried to cut under but one of them hit me and sent me to the ground. As I was falling, another guy tried to cut under me and my elbow ended up hitting his swingarm while my hand hit his wheel pretty hard. My hand swelled up and I tried to race the Arenacross Class Heat Race but decided I should rest. I don¹t think it¹s broken because I can ride ok, but it¹s one of those things I think I need to rest. It¹s definitely not going to stop me from getting out there and racing the rest of the races this season.

You originally were planning on returning to AMSOIL Arenacross in Reno. What prompted you to decide to come out a week earlier?

I talked about it with a few people and they all said that it just serves as another chance to get a point towards the Road to Supercross. I just thought it¹d be a good idea. Also, now that Monster Energy Supercross is heading east, a lot of riders from the west coast will probably be racing next weekend in Reno, which will make it even more difficult to qualify for the night show because of how stacked the field will probably be. So, it was just one of those things where I had everything ready to go and [Team Manager Denny Bartz] at Babbitt¹s said it was ok to start a weekend early. Thankfully I did because I qualified and got a point already, which never happens to me. It usually takes me a while to warm up and get everything going, so it was cool.

Now you just need a couple more points and a couple more weekends to secure your 250SX endorsement through the Road to Supercross. What does it do for your confidence moving forward considering everything came together at the last minute this weekend?

I¹d like to think things will only get better from here but like I said, next weekend in Reno is going to be a big challenge. Reno is always a tough one so I expect it to just be a learning process. I¹m only going to get more comfortable and I¹m sure having some top-level guys in Reno next weekend is going to help me for the following rounds, even if I don¹t end up qualifying. I¹m only going to get better at laying down a fast lap in practice and have a lot of room for improvement to do so. I¹d like to improve my times, feel more comfortable, and get a little quicker all around, but everything in AMSOIL Arenacross is different than what I¹m used and I just need to adjust to it.

What are your goals for the rest of the AMSOIL Arenacross season as you continue competing in the Road to Supercross?

Honestly I don¹t really have any expectations. I¹d like to get into some Main Events here and there, but I¹m here trying to focus on the Road to Supercross. Obviously the more riding I¹m able to do the better I¹m going to be, but right now I think my weakness is trying to lay down a fast lap so I¹m here to work on that and everything I need to accomplish to get my Monster Energy Supercross license. That¹s my main focus and it¹s what the team is focused on as well with me. Anything after that is a bonus and being able to get more exposure for my sponsors is good as well.

What does the opportunity with the Road to Supercross and the chance to fulfill your dream of racing in Monster Energy Supercross mean to you?

I think it¹s one of the best ways to do it and the main reason I¹m here in AMSOIL Arenacross, while it¹s not a full-blown supercross track, it¹s as close as it gets and it¹s the best learning process for me to eventually get to that level. I wouldn¹t want to do it any other way.

If you do continue down this path and fulfill all the necessary requirements for the Road to Supercross, is there a chance we might see you at a Monster Energy Supercross race later this season or would you make that your focus next year?

You know I¹m not really sure. I haven¹t tried to think about it too much. I would love to get my points and go to supercross right away, but I don¹t want to get too ahead of myself too quickly. I only have one point right now and you never know what could happen. I definitely do think I¹ll get my points, but I want to take it one step at a time. If the opportunity did come up to race supercross, then there¹s no reason not to do it. So if I can, I will, if not, I won¹t. It¹s pretty far down the road in my mind and I still have a lot of work to do here in AMSOIL Arenacross. I don¹t want to be thinking that far ahead until I get closer.

Even though you don¹t identify yourself in this way, you are a female in a male dominated sport and what you are accomplishing is significant. Even though you position yourself as just another racer, what do you think this opportunity could mean for other women riders who might also want to pursue the dream of one day racing in Monster Energy Supercross?

Honestly I just hope they get out of the mindset that just because there¹s no women¹s class it doesn¹t mean there isn¹t something they can do. It¹s cool to have a women¹s championship, but I hope my counterparts can find a way to separate themselves in their own way. I don¹t want them to think that if there¹s only one series specifically designated for women then that¹s all they can do. There¹s no need to think like that. I don¹t race in any women¹s series solely for that reason, because my sponsors and potential sponsors want something different and someone that can break new ground. That¹s one reason why I¹m doing what I¹m doing in a sense. I want them to also be that way and think outside the box. Just because there isn¹t a class for women doesn¹t mean their career has to stop there. It¹s a lot harder for sure because you have a target on your back since no one wants to get beat by a girl, but you just figure it out. I learned that last night and I¹ll just do everything I can to continue to improve and get used to it.

Following her return to the series in Idaho, Vicki traveled to Reno, NV this past weekend for her second stop on the AMSOIL Arenacross series. Golden hoped to qualify once again in both the Lites and Arenacross classes and earn her second of three points necessary for a Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250SX Class endorsement, but unfortunately the Metal Mulisha rider came up a little short and failed to qualify for the night show on both Friday and Saturday night.

“I struggled in the whoops all weekend and just couldn’t put it together to qualify for the night show,”
 said a very disappointed Golden. “I’m looking forward to getting in some practice this week though and hopefully I’ll be able to put it together this coming weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma.”

Golden will be heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma this weekend for her third round of AMSOIL Arenacross, where she hopes to earn her second point towards obtaining her Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250SX Class endorsement. Check back next week for the complete update!

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