In her first full season of WMX racing, California’s Vicki Golden landed in fourth place for the 2010 championship. With a top-three result tantalizingly close, the Murrieta-based rider changed her program during the off-season and is entering the 2011 series with a fresh look. With backing from MotoUSA.com, Langston Racing, Kawasaki, Parts Unlimited and others, the 18-year-old assaults the eight-round season against defending champion, Jessica Patterson, and the rest of the female field.
A top-five result in her first year shows Golden has the speed to run up front, but that isn’t good enough for the KX250F rider. Unsatisfied with her individual moto results, Golden switched bikes and put together a season of Arenacross racing experience to add to her resume. The indoor racing was no joke – Golden became the first woman to qualify for a professional AX main event and banged bars with the men. To top it off, she has former multi-time champion Grant Langston as her personal riding coach. We caught up with the ambitious lady as she prepares for the season opener at Hangtown.
WHAT WAS YOUR DEAL FOR 2010?
Last year I was with the MotoConcepts Yamaha team. We did the same rounds that we’re doing this year but got to go to a few new tracks so that was exciting. I did alright. I got fourth for the year but my moto results just weren’t where I wanted them to be. We struggled that year but we’re trying to bounce back and I’m totally ready for this year.
HAVING FUN IN THE OFF-SEASON
During the off-season I went and raced Arenacross. I did that and had a blast. It was everything I expected and more. In the first round I was just expecting to do my own thing and be pushed aside and have to earn my respect. But everyone welcomed me with open arms. I wasn’t expecting that but that’s exactly what happened. I got blended into a family that I didn’t expect to be a part of. It was a lot of fun. I got to ride with tons of new riders, meet a bunch of new riders and mechanics. It’s just a big family and so for every round that I got to go to it was fun to be there.
Vicki gained experience racing with the men in the hyper-aggressive Arenacross series.
I’m already looking forward to the next season of Arenacross coming up. In the perfect economy I’d love to do all of them. We’ll see what I can do. If I do well in the Outdoors and make lots of money then I can go race Arenacross again and hopefully do the full season. But if not then I’ll do the West Coast at least.
ABOUT THE NEW TEAM – MOTOUSA.COM/LANGSTON RACING/KAWASAKI
MotoUSA stepped up with Langston and Kawi and they all kind of teamed up to help me get to the races. It’s really cool because it’s like a team but it’s our own little deal. Not to sound super-selfish, but it is all for me to get the best equipment that we can get and get the best results as well.
I think we’re pitting with Suzuki City for the eight rounds. They’ll be able to take my bike to all of them and I’ll have a little E-Z Up alongside
GETTING BIKES AND EQUIPMENT
It’s pretty much all through Langston’s. That’s where our race shop is and he has a setup that’s really nice. He has a dyno and everything. We’re getting help from Kawi with promotion and I’m testing stuff for them. It’s pretty cool, I got to do the International Female Ride Day and do the promo video for that – fun PR stuff like that.
SWITCHING TO KAWASAKI
Golden is riding green in 2011.
The switch has been pretty easy. Toward the end of Arenacross there were no Supercross tracks to ride. It was just going and riding outdoors during the off-weeks and then go race Arenacross, so the switch (in racing) was pretty easy and for me (physically) it was easy as well. At an outdoors, after you start riding Supercross, everything comes at you so fast, but you get back in the swing of things and you’re good to go. The bike has been really easy to switch over because it’s truly a good bike. That made it a lot easier to switch.
I’m really impressed with the Kawi. I’ve ridden Hondas my whole life and then made the switch to Yamaha and then went back to Honda for racing Arenacross. Now on the Kawi, I rode it bone stock for a week or so and I’m really impressed. Straight out of the box it was really good. We’re just making it better and better and fitting it more for me every day, so it’s been really good.
Grant will help me whenever he can. He’ll go riding with me and he has his moto school so I just kind of hop in after he’s done with those. He helps me out a lot and it’s really cool to get help from such a successful rider. I do get some help from local pros out at the track and I always get little tips here and there from them.
Grant Langston not only helps prepare the bike, but he also acts as a riding coach and mentor to the young racer.
We try to keep it kind of open so we don’t get stuck at one track, obviously. When the tracks change that kind of helps out so you don’t get stuck on one layout. We just keep it in Southern California, thankfully we have a lot of them (tracks).
ARE YOU READY FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON?
Yeah, obviously we could use a little more time, but it’s better than how it was last year. I could get burned out pretty quickly just riding outdoors. That’s kind of how it was last year, I didn’t get a whole lot of Supercross before making the switch to outdoors so I was riding outdoors in February. I was just straight outdoors and I got burned out. We went late into it this time but Arenacross didn’t end until a few weeks before Supercross did. It kind of put us late in the game but I think for me it’s better to be a little late and almost 100% prepared than overly prepared and just over it. I’m happy where everything is at. The bike’s good and I think we’re ready.
BEATING JESSICA PATTERSON AND ASHLEY FIOLEK
It’s all in my head to do it. For me I just gotta keep a good mental state. I know I have full potential to be able to beat those other women. I know I can do it. I have the speed, I have all the skills to do it, I just need to make sure I apply them in the right way. I feel like I’m totally prepared and ready to start racing and see how it goes. Keeping a good mental state, that’s big.
PREDICTIONS FOR 2012 SEASON
All of the sponsors, like Langston Motorsports,
pictured above, are critical to Golden's
program. Miki Keller acts as a manager for
Hopefully we’ll all be pretty close and keep things exciting for us and the fans as well. I’d love to say that I’m going to blow them all out of the water but I’m not that good yet. Hopefully we’ll all be right there and I’d love to be the one on top. We’ll see how it goes.
ANYONE TO THANK?
Without Miki Keller it definitely wouldn’t be where it is right now. She put in a lot of time and hard work in getting me what I need and getting (my mechanic) Charles (Marchant) what he needs for the bike. Everyone at MotorcycleUSA, Langston’s, Kawasaki and all the other sponsors, my trainer at X Factory, he goes out of his way to help me out during the week. It’s a bunch of great people putting in for me so it’s really awesome to see.