Kawasaki motocross increasingly emphasize its quality,Rick Johnson and Mercedes Gonzales, both legends of the sport in their own right, teamed up in creating a riding school out of Irvine, California called the Motocross School of Champions. While their schools are usually men by a vast majority, both Rick and Mercedes agreed that they thought there was a special need for women. Kawasaki also felt the need to give more attention and support to female riders, so the Kawasaki Women's Motocross School of Champions was born.
Heather Lewis (Jimmy's wife) and I both received invitations to the event which took place at Lake Elsinore Motocross Park. Also on the guest list were some of the most recognizable females in the industry: Miki Keller of the WMA, Pro motocrossers Elizabeth Bash and Kadie Garrett, Former Host of Dirt Rider Adventures Molly Culver, and veteran woman motocross racer Gale Webb (a.k.a. America's Sports Mom).
At the end of the day, we had all picked up a lot. Plus, we all had a great time. Rick and Mercedes really hit it on the head when it comes to teaching girls. We learn differently; we respond to encouragement. After riding with almost entirely guys for years, even I had forgotten how important that can be. I've learned to take not getting run off the track as a sign of encouragement, and a lack of criticism as a compliment. All the "great job!" comments and high fives really made for a fun, relaxing environment (a pleasant change of pace)! Many guys don't understand a girl's constant need for comfort and encouragement, but just know that we're hard-wired that way.
"Being a woman, I understand the fears and the hesitation that women have where men don't," said Mercedes Gonzales, "Because men have the tendency to give you the tools, tell you what to do, and they're like, 'Just do it!' With women, you have to build up their confidence, and assure them that nothing's going to go wrong."