Without further ado, your top ten Canadian female riders!
#10: Amber Giroux
Amber might not be as fast on the moto track as her little sister any more, but she's as feisty as ever, and adept at turning what many might see as a negative into a positive. "I couldn't race moto last year, so I tried my hand at enduros," says the Saskatchewan native turned Alberta resident. "It was awesome. I met some really cool people and learned how to ride some pretty gnarly trails." Amber is a renaissance woman, having turned in her moto roots for some enduro techniques.
Arguably, she is one of the highest profile female riders in the country. She is outspoken, voicing her opinions and standing up for her strong beliefs. Her and her sister, along with several other talented and successful riders, had picked up in the tradition of Prochnavy, van Vugt and Foster, fighting for the right to their own national series.
#9: Shelby Turner
One of the youngest on this list, Miss Turner took home a Western Women’s Motocross title and a National Enduro Championship in the same year, which might I add, was her rookie year in the national circuit? Not bad for being 14 and not even being able to drive yourself to the races. The shy Alberta native keeps to herself in the pits, but when it comes to racing, she lights it up like no one’s business, ripping it up on her KTM SX 150. She had to sit 2011 out because of a nasty injury, but she will be returning to contest the western women's class in both off road and motocross.
#8: Christy Williams (Richards)
The lone trials rider on this list, Christy Williams has earned her place on this list competing in the trials class at the AMA EnduroX as well as participating in the Trials des Nation on several occasions. Arguably she is one of the best female trials riders in Canada, and has loads of personality and skill. Not many young brides would take their trials bike out for wedding photos, but the newly named Mrs. Richards would. Congratulations on your success in racing, and in romance!
#7: Denaye Giroux
The other half of the Giroux duo, Denaye kept her focus on motocross this year and got the western women’s title for the honour. Denaye is a sweet, well spoken girl with a drive equal to her sister’s. The younger of the two, she is focussed on expanding her skills and has raced a few WMA races in the States.
Denaye currently holds the #1W plate, and will be looking forward to defending it from tough competition, including the return of 2010 champion Shelby Turner.
#6: Malerie Prochnavy
2006 also witnessed Malerie Prochnavy win both Naniamo and Calgary. These were the early days of the series when the second generation, as embodied by girls like Jocelyn Facciotti (who raced under her maiden name, Killough) and Missy Hacket were still working their way into the top five. Combined with Foster and Van Vugt, Prochnavy made the trinity of early Canadian women's nationals and finished in a solid second place behind Jolene.
#5: Jessica Foster
One of the Godmother's of the Canadian National Women's series, along with Malerie Prochnavy and Jolene Van Vugt. This Sault Ste Marie, ON native finished 3rd overall in the very first women's national series, and fought out tough competition back in 2006 for the right. By the end of the first season, Foster had 108 points, enough to give her a big game against fourth place finisher Camille Baker.
#4: Toni Sharpless
Sharpless has recently inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame for her extensive career as a super bike racer, and I’d be remiss to ignore her contribution to women riding off road, or motorcycles in general; she joins two other members of her family, brother Blair and father Bill.
In a time when the sport was dominated by men (even more than it is now) Toni was lining up against them, either on her enduro or her superbike, and showing them how a girl does it. Women who have never met Sharpless have expressed a great gratitude for what she has done for the sport, and for women in the sport. A cancer survivor, Toni never lost her drive or her competitive edge. She continues to race against the boys in the Vet class of the Off Road Ontario cross country series.
#3: Victoria Hett
Tori Hett is one tough chick! She races in the A Class at the CECs, she rocked it at Xtinction in 2011 and was the first Canadian woman to earn a medal at the International Six Days Enduro at the 2010 event in Mexico. She’s the favourite for Captain of the 2012 ISDE team heading to Germany, with her experience, leadership skills and indomitable prowess on a bike she’s got her heart set on another medal and won’t be satisfied coming home with anything less.
“It’d be awesome to bring home another gold for Canada; we haven’t had one in a while,” she says with a quiet laugh. She’d be the first female to win a Gold medal at the ISDE, and the first rider to bring home gold in quite some time.
#2: Heidi Cooke
New mother, Cooke is no slouch and is planning to return to a full riding career in 2012. Whenever this fearless female pulls into the MX gate, she becomes the one to beat. Like many of the women on this list, she is have of a sibling duo; brother Mitch raced competitively in the MX1 class for several years, but it appears Heidi has the staying power and tenacity to continue soldiering on.
#1: Jolene Van Vugt
Two words: Rock. Star.
With four Guinness world records to her name, a television and a 3D movie coming out, Jolene is one tough cookie. She was one of the driving forces behind the women's national series, and the first woman to perform a back flip on a dirt bike. She has pretty much left racing, and racing in Canada, behind, but she will always be remembered as one of the pioneers of the women's national series and one of the most successful graduates.