One of this year’s rising women’s motocross stars is Tarah Geiger. Expect to see Tarah on the podium a lot this year.
While most of the WMX spot light has been centered on Jessica Patterson and Ashley Fiolek, there are several other riders who have been performing exceptionally well this year. One of these riders is Troy Lee Designs sponsored rider Tarah Geiger. Tarah is currently holding the third position in the provisional point standings for the WMX. At round one in Hangtown Tarah finished (2 – 6) for third overall and at round two in Freestone she finished (3 – 3) for third overall. She left Freestone with 77 total points, just nine points behind Ashley Fiolek. MotoUSA had a chance to catch up with Tarah for a little one-on-one.
MotoUSA: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. You had an amazing first Moto at Hangtown. Talk about the Hangtown race from your perspective.
TG: I guess you could say the first Moto at Hangtown was good because I finished second which is not a bad place to finish, especially for the first race of the season; but in my eyes it wasn’t a good Moto. I had a decent start but I got hung up behind Price for too long and Patterson and Fiolek got away from me. When I did finally make the pass I started to close in on them just a bit and Fiolek ended up sliding out in a corner allowing me to get by. After that I just rode the rest of the race with Fiolek behind me. I just could never get comfortable on my bike or with the track the whole day and that’s why I was disappointed with the race. I know the Hangtown race didn’t show what I have for this year.
MotoUSA: Well from our perspective you rode awesome. Let’s talk about the Freestone race. Freestone is always a very hot race and many riders struggle with hydration and exhaustion. I understand that some riders train for the heat by practicing in sweatshirts and warmer clothes in order to build up their endurance. How did you prepare for the heat?
TG: The Last month or so has already been really hot in Florida so I had been riding in the heat a few weeks before freestone. I also made sure to start hydrating on Tuesday instead of on Friday like a lot of guys did. That made a big difference for me I think.
MotoUSA: Moto 2 was an exact repeat of Moto 1 for the top five riders. Can you talk about the race and how you felt you performed?
TG: I did the best I could, unfortunately it was only good enough for third. Which is a good finish but I won’t be happy unless I am winning. It was much better for me then the last time I raced there in 2008 where I crashed in the start of one Moto 1 and DNF’d another moto. So in that sense I think the race went pretty good.
MotoUSA: Now that we have two rounds underway and Patterson clearly is dominating the field, will you change your racing strategy to response to her podium sweeps?
TG: Patterson is really on top of her game right now and I just need to keep plugging away every week to close that gap. It won’t take much and I have three weeks until Thunder Valley so I hope to have it figured out by then.
MotoUSA: Who is your biggest adversary in the WMX? Fiolek, Patterson, Price?
TG: I think whoever gets a good start will be the competition for that race. Everyone seems to be pretty evenly matched right now so you end up racing with whoever you start near. I just need to make sure I’m the one getting good starts every weekend and racing at the front for the win.
MotoUSA: Jessica Patterson has been training with Ryan Hughes during the off-season and Sherri Cruse entered a “Supercross Training Camp”. How did you prepare for the 2010 WMX season?
TG: I took what I know I have struggled with in past seasons and worked really hard on improving those areas. I came into the year with a goal of where I wanted to be at round one in Hangtown and I believe I reached that goal. Now it’s just a matter of putting all that together when the gate drops for the other races.
MotoUSA: I know the team is an important factor in racing. What’s it like riding for the Troy Lee Design Team?
TG: The TLD team is amazing. I think it is a perfect team for me because I am here to get the job done but I also have to be able to have fun doing it. I think this team is really good at that. TLD is the team that’s business up front but it’s a party in the back.
MotoUSA: That sounds fun! I’m crashing the party next time! I hear you gave your Troy Lee teammates a good razing about you being on the only podium finisher for the team. Can you elaborate?
TG: I think that was maybe some of the other guys from Troy Lee designs. I don’t think I ever did that. I actually didn’t even know I finished third overall until 45 minutes after my Moto at Hangtown. I missed the podium celebration and everything.
After a mixed finish at the season opener at Hangtown, Geiger picked up a pair of thir place finishes at Freestone.
MotoUSA: Yes I recall, that there were only two girls on the podium at Hangtown and the AMA stalled at announcing the third place overall winner. It wasn’t until the post-race press conference that you were announced the third place finisher. What was the best racing moment of your career?
TG: The best moment might be winning the Loretta Lynn title back in 2006. It was exactly one year after I broke my neck and everyone thought I was done. They had been writing me off all year in the WMA series and I came out there and dominated them.
MotoUSA: I know several riders have a preference for certain tracks. What is your favorite track in the WMX series?
TG: I think Freestone might be my favorite track right now because it’s a good layout and it’s pretty similar to what I ride on back in Florida.
MotoUSA: That’s interesting because I would say a good many riders dislike Freestone due the heat and track terrain. So if Freestone is your favorite, which is your least favorite track in the WMX series?
TG: Hangtown is definitely my least favorite track. It is nothing like I ever ride or practice on and it’s really tight and slow.
MotoUSA: I think what’s really fascinating is how each rider got her start in racing. I know many young girls are looking to possibly start racing. How did you get your start in racing?
TG: It was back in Puerto Rico. I was racing the national series there. I was just hooked and came up to the United States and did pretty well against the top girls. From that race on I knew I had a shot at doing well in US women’s racing.
MotoUSA: Who inspires you?
TG: I think I draw inspiration from different people for different reasons. But I really like it when people overcome adversity and accomplish something great. I have had to overcome some things and it really is great to see others do it too.
After suffering some pretty serious (and potentially career ending) injuries over the past few years Tarah Geiger has made significant strides to become one of the top riders in the MotoUSA WMX series.
MotoUSA: Can you explain more on what adversity you have had to overcome?
TG: For me it has really been injuries and deciding in myself if I wanted to do this anymore. In 2005 I shattered my pelvis in January. That was a really bad one for me and I was in a wheelchair for two months and crutches for another two months. So it was really tough but I came back and was doing well in the wma series only to break my neck in July at Washougal. It was a really tough year for me, and it really made me think if I wanted to do this anymore. I chose to stay with it and I haven’t regretted it, thankfully.
MotoUSA: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Is there anyone you would like to thank?
TG: I want to thank all the guys at Troy Lee Designs. They have given me an awesome opportunity and I want to do right by them and win the title this year.
MotoUSA: Thanks Tarah. We’ll be cheering for you at Thunder Valley.