At nineteen, Ashley Fiolek is already the top female competitor in a tough men’s sport: motocross, a form of off-road motorcycle racing that is one of the most competitive and dangerous extreme sports in the world. Since going pro in late 2007, Fiolek has taken gold at the X Games, won the American Women’s Motocross Championship twice, and become the first woman in American motocross history to be signed to a factory team—the highest echelon of industry backing.
But Fiolek’s rise has not come without obstacles. Fiolek was born profoundly deaf, a handicap that makes everyday life difficult—and competition on the track downright dangerous. Originally misdiagnosed as “mildly retarded,” she was a painfully shy and introverted child—until her parents introduced her to the world of dirt bikes, which helped her escape the silence in her head and connect with others who shared her passion. She began racing at seven, and as her successes grew through hard work and no small number of broken bones, so did her confidence.
Fiolek has never believed her disability should stand in the way of her dreams. Nor has she allowed her gender to limit her career—motocross historically has been a men’s sport, but with the love and support of her dirt-obsessed family, including her “Grandpa Motorcycle,” her little brother, Kicker, and her dogs, Turbo and Rocco, Ashley has emerged as one of the sport’s most talked-about stars, changing the way the entire industry views women. Armed with her extraordinary talent, contagious grin, and deep faith in God, Fiolek continues to venture into unknown territory, relentlessly pushing herself—and women’s motocross—to ever-greater heights.
Kicking Up Dirt is a remarkable, inspiring tale of a young woman’s courage and determination to succeed in the face of truly challenging obstacles.
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