Sixteen Questions with Ashley Fiolek
Presented by Fox Racing
Ashley Fiolek earned four WMX National Championships during her five-year professional motocross career, and she propelled women’s motocross intro the limelight with her cute smile and infectious personality. As the first deaf professional motocrosser – male or female – her ability to race at the highest levels without the benefit of hearing her competitors around her was both an advantage (for focus, she says) and a disadvantage (knowing when pass attempts were coming). Fiolek’s career spanned the glory days of women’s professional motocross, as she raced on the same day as the men and was a member of the factory Honda race team, aboard an HRC CRF250R.
After earning her fourth AMA National Championship in 2012, Fiolek decided to retire from professional racing and has lived a quiet life in her home state of Florida ever since. We caught up with Fiolek over e-mail and text recently, so see what she’s been up to…
For those who don’t follow you on social media, what have you been up to since you walked away from racing?
A few years after I walked away from racing, I decided to set up my motocross school as I thought it would be cool to be a female motocross coach since there aren’t many. It has been nice traveling a lot and meeting different people. I really enjoy coaching and helping people to become better riders. Also, me and Lindsey did some remodeling on my first house and it was an interesting experience. Let’s say it’s not my thing. Haha!
Can you tell us more about your riding schools? For instance, do you have a translator there? How do students understand you?
My riding schools are all about learning body position, how to hit corners, basic techniques, and how to hit jumps. I always have an interpreter with me at my schools, so that’s how all students understand me. Again, I don’t bite so don’t be scared to sign up for one of my classes! Haha!
Looking back at your career, what are you most proud of?
Probably when I won my first X Games gold medal. I’ve always loved the X Games so it was an amazing experience to have an opportunity to race and win. Also, when I was first female that received a factory ride.
What would you have done differently?
Um, good question. I’ve never thought about that. I feel like I achieved and exceeded all my dreams in racing. I felt like I worked hard to tried hard to grow women’s motocross. I always tried my best and gave it my all, so I’m not sure I would have done anything different?
Do you think you got preferential treatment because you’re deaf?
Haha no, but I do notice that a lot of people are nervous to talk to me because I am deaf. But don’t be! I’m probably the least scary person you’ll ever meet.
Do you think you got preferential treatment because you’re cute?
Oh please. I don’t know about that. Haha!
Do you ever look back and think, “damn, I rode for Team Honda!”
I mean I’ve always thought it was really cool that I was first female to ride for a factory. I will never ever forget that for sure, but I also know I worked hard to be on Team Honda.
Your career spanned two-strokes and four-strokes. What was it like switching from one to the other, and why are you back on a two-stroke now?
I’ve always loved two-strokes. They are so much lighter and so much fun to ride. I am riding a Husqvarna TC 125 right now and it is my favorite. It’s so smooth and a lot of fun! I was so excited when I found out that Husqvarna makes a 125 and they let me ride a 125!
How did your ambassadorship with Husqvarna come together?
My manager Miki Keller set it up and asked me if I was interested and I said yes! Then one day at Cahuilla creek when we had a Husqvarna women’s ride day and Jenna from Husqvarna told me that the Husqvarna team wanted me to be their brand ambassador. I was so excited that they asked me because I love the crew and the bikes. What is better than that?
Do you still own your home in California?
Yes I do. I actually have 4 houses but only one in California.
How have you made a living since retiring? Are schools enough to live on?
Well, I have renters who live in three of my houses. I always look at mx schools as fun experience since I travel everywhere so I get to try out new places. The schools are definitely not enough to live on, and they are more for pleasure and travel and helping riders out.
Often times, parent/child relationships are strained by racing at the highest levels. How did you and your parents manage and are things better without racing?
Hey, we didn’t kill each other and we made a great team together. It was stressful at the time but I think we did well and made good decisions together. Now we are all best friends again. Haha! No more stress and we always hangout together so it’s really nice to have my parents together when things are not related to MX racing.
Is it sad to see the state of women’s motocross racing now?
Yes of course! I mean I’ve always wanted to see women motocross to grow and it’s sucks to see that it’s getting worse and worse.
Why does it seem like more girls are riding than ever now, even without a premier series?
I am not sure? Maybe they want to ride for fun because dirt bikes are so much fun! 🙂
You raced for Fox and now you continue to ride for them. What is it about the brand you love?
Yeah it’s really cool to able to ride for Fox again! Their gear never disappoints me and I love the crew. They always make me feel like I’m part of the family.
We understand you’re getting married! When did you realize that you preferred girls? You were certainly boy crazy as an early teen…
Haha yes! I am excited about getting married! I think I realized that when I was about 18 years old. That’s a weird question, Donn. Haha!