Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Sara Price
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Monster Energy Kawasaki's Women's MX factory rider Sara Price on the starting line at Freestone MX in Texas during Round 2 of the 2010 AMA championship series.
Round 2 of the 2010 Women’s Motocross series was a barn burner to say the least. We had champions on I-V and we had more champions on parade as Ashley Fiolek and Jessica Patterson battled for class supremacy under the hot and humid conditions at Freestone MX. While the reemergence of JP has been a hot topic of late there is another subject in Women’s MX that I want to point out. After years of supporting female riders at the amateur level, Kawasaki has finally put a fast female under their tent and her name is Sara Price.
Part of the allure of racing is its appeal to youngsters and in the case of the WMX the impressionable youths are the girls of the world. As a parent of no less than three young ladies it makes me particularly happy to be a part of the emergence of this sport these days. For this round of racing I was invited, along with my oldest daughter Aerial, to be part of the Sara Price entourage during her second race with the Monster Kawasaki team. We spent the day sharing the motor home with the first female factory motocross rider in Kawasaki history and had the opportunity to see what makes this teenage sensation such a big hit with our friends at Team Green.
We cooled off in the coach while she received treatment for her damaged right shoulder, we joked with her while she was subjected to endless camera time by PR folks, media and such. We snacked on her food, got in her way, invaded her space and all the while she was cool and calm with her million dollar smile country charm. She answered her questions with words like ‘we’ and ‘us’ instead of ‘I’ and ‘me’ and she shared tales of the old days when it was just her family and her on the road, chasing the dream. It really is a fairy tale come-true of sorts. Dad drove her from race to race while mom held down the fort. She jumped to the pro ranks last year and turned some heads along the way to earning her big break.
All in all hanging with her and the Kawi crew was a great experience for me but the best part was watching my own daughter get drawn into the experience. As a young girls growing up in a family where bikes play such a huge roles it was awesome to see my kid really get into it. She listened (and you parents know that’s hard to get a kid to do any time) and engaged in the conversation. She sat in the stands and cheered Price on as she put in a pair of top five finishes on a day when most mortals would have tossed in the towel rather than fight through pain and brutal heat. But, Ms. Price is a factory pro now and while that means more perks it also comes with the added responsibility of giving all you got for a bigger cause. There’s a team and a brand name on your bike now and they would like to see some results.
The women have fought long and hard to get to this point and now that they have arrived there are thousands, hopefully millions of impressionable girls out there looking up to them. These young female racers are part of a new era in the motorcycle industry – they are ambassadors for a segment overlooked for far too long. That’s where my daughter’s new favorite rider comes into play. Now, not every girl will get the chance to hang out all day with Sara and the WMX racers like my kid did but they still get the same racing experience from the pits and the grandstands. They can still meet her, get an autograph, take a picture and hang her poster on the wall of their room. In the end, maybe it gives them something to strive for. Hopefully it shows them that anything is possible.
On the way to dinner Aerial was texting her friends, posting on Facebook and letting her own entourage back home know what she’d been up to all day. Merely chilling out with the Monster Kawasaki Team in Texas all day, don’t you know? Of course it’s no big deal, really, right? Well, actually it is. You see this part of the plan worked perfectly. There are at least a dozen girls in Oregon who know who Sara Price is now. There’s a dozen girls excited about racing that might have never heard of motocross before and who knows, maybe some of them already ride – maybe one is destined to find herself on the starting grid of an AMA MX race someday. In the end though, they know about Monster Kawasaki and it’s these new riders that are queued up and ready to swing a leg over a bike. These rough and tumble girls who might think it’s cool to kick up some dirt. They just need a little push, a little inspiration and some role models who can show them there’s more to life than instant messenger and iPhones.
I’m going to climb off my soap box now but before I go I want to say thanks to the Price family. You’re hard work and sacrifice over the years has culminated with a factory ride for your kid. But the part I think is cool is that your effort has brought a class act to the pits and paddock of motocross tracks across the USA. She’s real easy to spot too, just look for the corn fed country girl under the Monster Kawasaki rig awning at a MX race somewhere near you. She’ll be signing autographs at the end of a long line of kids with a few grown ups in between.