With two of the sports’ top competitors out, Vicki Golden cruised to her first-ever X-Games medal, leading the Women’s Moto X Racing Final from start to finish for the gold.
Two-time defending champion Ashley Fiolek was held out of Saturday night’s competition with a concussion after crashing during practice earlier in the day, and 2009 silver medalist Jessica Patterson crashed in an elimination round and failed to qualify for the final.
“It would have been nice to have everyone out there,” Golden said afterward. “It sucks to see someone like that get hurt, for both of them.”
But by no means was Golden’s victory a fluke. Earlier this year, she became the first female rider to qualify for a professional AMA Arenacross main event. The Staples Center track is smaller than last summer, and with the exception of a giant ramp, most riders said the track more closely resembled arenacross than supercross, which played to Golden’s advantage.
The Menifee, California, resident was simply dominant Saturday, winning her heat by more than nine seconds and the final by more than four. In the medal race, she utilized her inside starting position to charge ahead from the gate, and she never trailed after that.
“That last lap I’m just like, ‘don’t do anything stupid, keep it on two wheels and it’ll be good,’ ” Golden said.
Golden said that the $30,000 she’ll take home from ESPN isn’t even comparable to relatively meager money she’d make from a women’s motocross event. When asked how this win rates in terms of “notches on your wall”, she answered without hesitation.
“It’s at the top,” she said. “It’s sitting on my roof.”
Tarah Gieger, who won her heat, chased Golden the whole race from a few seconds back to finish second. Livia Lancelot, who had arrived from France for her first ever indoor race, took home bronze.