Ashley Fiolek builds a unique community in Red Bull’s Day in the Dirt Down South Scott Meshey is living a purpose-driven life in a results-oriented industry

Some events matter more to certain riders, and four-time Women’s Motocross (WMX) rider Ashley Violek is finding a home and building her own unique community at events like Red Bull Day at Dirt Down South, in Dade City, Florida.

In fact, Fiolek is “just a girl who loves to ride.”

Fiolek has already accomplished so many feats in her 25-year career when she took part in the 2023 edition of Day in the Dirt Down South, from a gold medal at the 15th X Games to earning multiple factory rides and her crowning glory as a four-time champion. WMX. And all this was done to the detriment. Violek was born deaf, causing her to rely on different senses and physical cues than her competitors.

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“Honestly, Red Bull Day in Dirt Down South is one of my favorite events,” Fiolek told NBC Sports. “It’s all about having fun and sharing fun experiences with families and friends. I can’t miss this opportunity.”

Due to being deaf, Fiolek is forced to compete in a different race from the rest of the field. She can’t hear when other racers are catching up with her, so she has to race at full throttle all the time. On the other hand, she does not hear someone rushing after her, turning the motor and trying to get into her head.

“I just learned by feeling the vibrations when to switch and when not to,” Ashley said. “I keep my lines very carefully so as not to cut anyone. I’m looking for other riders when I’m turning to make sure I’m in a good spot.”

Ashley Fiolek interacts with fans during Red Bull Day at the Dirt Motocross Grand Prix in Dade City, Florida (March 11, 2023). – Alyssa Del Valle / Red Bull Content Pool

Events like Day in the Dirt bring riders like Fiolek back to their roots. The focus is on competition, but it’s also steeped in interaction with the community and fans.

“The fans are amazing,” Fiolek said. “That’s why I do it. Seeing how they cheer me up and that they want to be part of my racing experience. His also have fun after the races, sign autographs and take pictures.”

Violek has the weight and privilege to represent the deaf community at these events. One day she was cut off by a young girl flying past in a 50cc car while riding a golf cart after a race.

“I was at the races,” Fiolek said. “It was the end of the day, I was driving my golf cart and this little girl on 50 went past me and I almost hit her. Later, my dad brought her to me and said: “This little girl wants to meet you, she is deaf!” We became friends and she was a racer too, so we ended up racing together.”

Red Bull Day in the Dirt is made up of several events, and individual race results are less important than the overall feeling of success.

This past weekend at Day in the Dirt Down South got her familiar with her new Yamaha 125. After a tough start on Saturday, Fiolek found her way when the track got tougher on Sunday.

“The track was brutal on Sunday,” Fiolek said. “But I think I did better than [I did on] Saturday on a smoother track. I love rough tracks.”

She will take advantage of this experience and prepare for several rounds of GNCC Racing (Grand National Cross Country) and try to compete in the Loretta Lynn Nationals, one of the traditional participants in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series.

With the dissolution of WMX, offline events like this are one of the few chances Fiolek has for racing, and when asked if WMX could make a comeback, Fiolek was realistic about the odds and hurdles.

It’s hard to say,” Fiolek said. “I hope so. It would be amazing. He had some issues when I was racing and ran into a lot of bumps, so he will need to be thought through better next time if he comes back.”

Supermotocross racer Scott Meshi lives a life of purpose in a performance-driven industry.

Each week, 22 riders compete in the Monster Energy Supercross 450cc main event. It’s easy to overlook the 50 or so riders who don’t finish in the top ten in most races. It’s even easier to miss the riders for whom the night show is the first and most important milestone of their weekend.

Target mesh results
After returning from a hand injury, Scott Meshi competed in the night show in two of the last three rounds of Supercross. – Madcap Media / Ashley Watkins

Meishi’s last Supercross took place last year in Foxborough, Massachusetts. race in which he finished 21st after passing the Last Chance qualification. In fact, all of the Meshey’s Mains have gone this route, completing an extra race on those nights than most factory riders. Part of the reason for the break is that Meshi missed five rounds with a broken arm sustained in a bizarre training accident during the week after Anaheim 1. Meshi made a jump and as it landed on his face, momentum pushed his arm into his chest .

“I missed a triple in the rhythm section,” Meshi told NBC Sports. “I didn’t get the lift I was expecting and my weight sort of shifted forward on the next jump. My chest hit my arm and I broke the third and fourth metacarpals of my right hand. And I had a partial torn ligament in my thumb. I didn’t crash or anything like that. Surprisingly, I saved it for the next jump. But that was enough. It only took about six weeks off the bike before I was able to get back and start training again ahead of the trip to Arlington.

“I scored jumps many times. I busted a triple, I busted a catapult at the finish line, I crashed in the whoops, I crashed in the rhythm sections: I did it all. And I can’t say that something like this has ever happened to me when I failed a jump and didn’t even fall, but simply because of the way something contacted and caused an injury. Obviously it was serious.”

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Upon his return, Meshi barely missed the late-night Arlington Triple Crown show. Given the number of scratches in the morning qualifying, Meshi believes that he lacked three tenths of a second. And he knows exactly where the time was lost. Coming out of the whoops on his fast lap, the last pile of dirt collapsed more than expected, causing his nose to jostle into the next corner. This slowed him down a bit.

This was less of a disappointment than one might expect. Meshi wouldn’t be surprised if he was two or three seconds behind the pace on his first run, so three tenths was fine. It also gave his arm another weekend to heal.

The maturity to embrace what the night has given him is part of what makes Meshi special in the sport and enables him to balance his true racing goal with the best possible results.

“I just turned 23 when I raced my first Supercross race,” Meshi said. “Part of what helps me a lot is my maturity on the bike. This is what has helped me to be more methodical in my progress and to be more mindful.

“Of course, your inner racer sometimes gets the better of you and you make bad decisions because you’re just too into it, but you see guys like Zach Osborne, even Ryan Dungey who are back after years away. racing professionally, coming back and doing it well. Christian Craig, and this is just a short list. Eli [Tomac] can safely be called a living legend. He’s at the top of his game and he’s been doing it for so long.

“Experience is what pays off. Perhaps a younger rider, overly impatient or overly hungry, could be a little less methodical and not look at the long term picture.”

In a sport where 30s are traditionally considered geriatric, it’s hard to start exercising at 20. But it’s worth noting on the list of Mesha riders that these dates change.

Target mesh results
Scott Meshi ran seven rounds in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series in 2022, finishing 20th in the toughest race of the season. Madcap Media / Ashley Watkins


For Mesha, immediate results are obviously a big part of the equation. Every night show and every main race he competes affects his overall goal, but coming into the sport later than many current riders has given him a different perspective on his performance.

The end of his career is not far off, but Meshi realizes that it is inevitable.

While Meshi only made two Supercrosses in 2022, he also qualified for seven Lucas Oil Pro Motocross events last year with the best record. finishing 20th at the end of the MX season at Fox Raceway in Pale, California – brutally hot race…


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