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The pioneers of Women's BMX

Over the past few years and certainly the past few months, women in BMX have broken into a new era and new level of the sport! From Alise Willoughby and Mariana Pajon welcoming a fresh batch of racers into their ranks to Charlotte Worthington, Hannah Roberts, and Nikita Ducarroz breaking in the Olympic podium for BMX freestyle, the two-wheel sport of BMX has been pushed by progression and right now the ladies are the leaders.


While the names of today are shouted from the stands and imbedded in kids’ minds through constant scrolling on social media, what about the racers and riders who came before the social media era? Let’s show off those ladies and see the riders who paved the way for the current generation of riders.


Let's start on the racing side of things. Since National title winners and Hall of Famers have been well documented all the way back to the 80s, let's meet the Women who paved the way, starting with Kathy Schachel.


Back when the women's class was still called Powder Puffs, Kathy Schachel changed the game by showing off her style. The Factory Shimano racer led the formation of the world’s first Women's Pro class in 1981, then proceeded to earn the NBL No.1 Woman Pro title in its first three years.



Another early dominator to join Kathy was the NorCal legend Dorene Payne. Starting in BMX and later jumping over to the Motocross scene, Payne was a pioneer in both as she competed against the boys even with the risk of being disqualified.


From Cheri Elliot and Michelle Cairns to Marie McGilvary and Jamie Lilly, there are so many Female racers to mention. As the competitors and pioneers of BMX, the new waves of racers coming into the limelight bring new abilities and strengths to the class, and for the racers of the new century, the jumpers were out in force. Racers like Jill Kintner, Kim Hayashi, Samantha Cools, Stephanie Barragan, Mariana Pajon, and Alise Willoughby were ready to take on the next step in the BMX racing evolution, Supercross.

Dorene Payne // via photos.usabmx.com


On the Freestyle side of things we have one major player in mind when talking pioneers. Cory Coffey. A leading force in the Women’s freestyle movement and the first to backflip in a competition, Coffey is still pushing the sport and supporting her fellow riders.

Cory Coffey // via photos.usabmx.com


The cast of characters in Women’s BMX Freestyle is forever growing, however, the dominators are seeing themselves stay dominant. Charging the competition scene, Hannah Roberts has become a household name in the sport. While her success is recent, her progression as shown the new wave coming up the possibilities on the domestic and world stages.


Throughout the week PULL BMX will be showing off the women of BMX with interviews, videos, blogs, features, and more in honor of International Women’s Week. There's a lot to cover so stay tuned.




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