"Hello my name is Ashley Fiolek, I'm 16 years old, I am profoundly deaf and I race Motocross. I have been riding since I was 7 years old, and it is what I love to do..."
Ashley is a force to be reckoning with. Since her young start, she has been collecting top podium finishes from key amateur races including the recent World Mini Grand Prix. In 2008, Ashley will be joining her pro peers in the Women's Motocross Association National Championships, taking her one step closer to being the first girl to qualify for a men's pro national.
GLTR caught up with Ashley to ask her a few questions, some given to us by our readers.
Your Name: Ashley Fiolek
Hometown: St. Augustine, Florida
Type and make of bike: Honda CR125
Sponsors: American Honda, Cernics, Alpinestars, Red Bull, Leatt Brace, EVS Sports, FMF, PR2, Factory Connection, Kicker, Braking, Ride Engineering, Dunlop, Tag Metals, Thule Trailers, Engine Ice, Pro Clean 1000, True Blue Deodorizer, Wiseco, Big Air Graphics, Carbon Fiber Works, SDG, Sponsorhouse.com, Topar Racing, Twin Air, PitPosse.com, RTMX, Pro Wheels Racing, RoadandDirt.com, OGIO, and Honda Chemicals and Oils.
How did you get into riding dirt bikes?
My dad used to race...he brought me to a Supercross race and I was really interested in the racing. Right after the races I asked my parents for a Pee Wee 50, and they bought me one and I started to ride and race.
What's the hardest thing about motocross?
The hardest thing about motocross is going through the corners fast.
Why do you race motocross, and what is it that drives you to go so far in the sport?
I love this sport in my whole heart; I have always loved it. And, I always set goals for myself and then I just try my best to reach all of those goals.
What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
When I won Loretta Lynn's in 2004 -- it is the biggest amateur motocross event -- and also when I got 11th in 14-15 Boys 85cc class in Loretta Lynn's last year. That is pretty hard to do.
Besides you, there are a number of other female riders who have really made some headway in pushing the sport for the girls. What do you think about the women's scene as a whole?
I think it has been improving a lot, and the WMA (Women's Motocross Association) is trying very hard to help out women in this sport and to help them reach their goals.
What women riders come to mind and what are your thoughts on your competitive opponents?
All of the WMA riders are my competition. We are all working towards the same thing, and we all want to do our best at a sport that we love.
If you could change one thing about women's motocross, what would it be?
More classes just like boys. Right now women are limited to only one or two classes, and it would be a lot more fun if there were more classes for us when we show up to a big race.
Where do you see the future of women's motocross going?
I think it is continuing to grow, and I see a lot more support for the girl's class. More young girls are interested in the sport and are learning to ride and enjoy it the same as the boys do.
Is it competitive among the girls, or is it more of a friendship?
Ha, very competitive, the same as the boys. Of course off the track we are friends, but the minute that gate drops we all want to win.
Do you have more fun racing the girls or the guys?
Guys. They are a lot more aggressive, and I love to beat those boys, ha.
What would your dream race be? Which riders, which track, what conditions?
Loretta Lynn's track on a dry, hot, beautiful day. I would like to race with James Stewart, Travis Pastrana, Ryan Villapoto, Kevin Windham (because my mom thinks he is hot), Jeff Alessi, Donn Meada, Malcom Mcassey, Davy Coombs, Jeremy Mallot and Trey Canard.
What's the difference between the WMA Championship and Loretta Lynn's Championship?
Well Loretta Lynn's is for the top amateurs in the country and the WMA championships are for the women that have become pros.
Is it difficult for women/girls to get sponsored or paid to race?
Yes, I think it is more difficult for women to get sponsored/paid to race than boys. With the guys you know that their next step is becoming a pro and racing all of the pro races and being on TV, ads, magazines, etc. With the women it is done differently, and the progression is not as clear as boys, so I think sponsors don't look at it the same way. I think this is changing though, and I do think this whole process will continue to change and evolve with the girls, hopefully for the better.
How did you go about getting sponsors in the beginning?
First I started off with Sponsorhouse.com. This is a good place to start off in the beginning, and that whole site is really taking off now -- it has really improved and changed a lot. Then, it just helps if a known rider can introduce you to potential sponsors and maybe ask them to watch you on the track. Sending out resumes and pictures to companies that you are really interested in is another good way to get sponsors.
What are some of your obligations to your sponsors?
Sometimes sponsors want you to be at specific races, so you need to make sure everyone knows which races you will be going to. Photo shoots are always fun, like for catalogs or for magazine ads. One time I got to go to Las Vegas when Honda was introducing the new 150 -- that was a cool thing to do.
Do other female athletes from other sports inspire you? If so, who?
I have pretty much just followed motocross, not a lot of other sports, so I don't really know any of the other female athletes.
What other sports do you enjoy doing?
I like to cycle. I do that everyday to keep in shape -- it is part of my training program. I also like to ride my unicycle. Sometimes if I am hanging out with my friends we play basketball or something like that.
What else do you do besides ride dirt bikes -- hobbies, activities, travels?
I ride my pit bike, unicycle, make movies, hang out with my friends. I love to travel to different states and countries. My favorite place to go is Disney World.
Do you have any words for all the girls out there reading this?
Girls can do anything, no matter what.
Shout outs and thank yous?
My parents, my little brother, my grandpa, all of my great sponsors, Subject Media, all my friends and thanks to GLTR for asking me to do this interview.
To find out more about Ashley, go to her website at www.ashleyfiolek.com.
See Ashley in action in this video, click here.
Check out Girlslearntoride.com for the latest in female boarding and biking, and to connect with the female action sports community.