Interview with Dirt Biker Jolene Van Vugt

Jolene Van Vugt is a 28 year-old dirt bike chick from Ontario who is bursting at the seams with kick-ass attitude and female wiles and is achieving great things in motocross. She was the first female to backflip a full-sized dirt bike and has several World Records to her name.

She is now a star of new MTV series Nitro Circus alongside X Games gold medalist Travis Patrana. We talk to her about her favourite tricks, how she keeps her nerve and what’s next.

When you became the first Women’s Canadian National Champion you broke new ground in the field of motocross. How does it feel knowing that you have pushed the sport forward for females in Canada and all over the world?
It makes me feel really good to know that I had a helping hand in giving Canadian girls a better chance at living their dream in the MX world. I’m never one to sit back and wait or keep my mouth shut. I believed in it and wanted it to grow for myself and for others.
I just thought it was about time. Women just needed something that was theirs to grow with and show the industry we are here to stay. The girls that are up and coming are showing mad kills, great speed and are growing in quantity every year.

Where is the most amazing place you’ve ever been riding?
We filmed a free riding piece for one of the show’s episodes and we went to Little Sahara in Utah. We rode all day and then I watched the sun go down on one of the highest mountain crests there over looking all the sand dunes, it was pretty awesome.

Is there anything you won’t try?
I do things that push and challenge me all the time; there are always limits for everyone. I don’t do anything I don’t want to and if I chose to do it, I commit to it.

Have you ever really thought that you were going to die?
With some of the stuff we do you have to consider the fact that it is a possibility. With the Grand Canyon I knew that was part of the risk and I had accepted the fact that it could happen.

While you were filming Nitro Circus did you ever lose your nerve (or think that you might)?
If I commit to a trick or stunt I go through with it or else I don’t even step-up.

What is your favourite trick?
I love the feeling of doing a superman seat grab.
Working with so many men you must have to put up with a lot of banter, what has been your best come back?
I can’t put my finger on any one come back, we are a group of close friends that spend a lot of time together and banter back and forth regularly. I put them in their place when needed and they do the same for me.

Does being covered in dirt make you more or less inclined to be feminine?
I have no problem being covered in dirt and going about my day with the guys. Then I take a shower and put on a dress, some sweet heels, do my hair and make-up and meet up for dinner, drinks and maybe even some dancing. I’m a girl and feel my feminine side no matter what I’m doing. I’m a girl that likes to play and get dirty and to me there is nothing more feminine than a girl that can do what she wants and not give a crap what others think or say.

Does being able to back-flip on a full-sized dirt bike make you feel on a level with many of the male bikers out there?
The male FMXer’s out there are on such a high level that they keep pushing further and further, I don’t even compare the two.

What is your favourite biking memory?
Riding with my Dad since I was 11, anytime I get to spend riding with him is a good day.

What means the most to you in the world of biking?
Accomplishing goals I have set for myself, new and long standing.
When I can check another one off the list, it’s a great feeling.

What advice would you give any girls wanting to skid their way into dirt biking?
Make you skid marks matter, even if it’s only to you! Have fun with it and work hard at whatever your goals may be. Do the best you can, that’s all you can ask of yourself. The professional side of it is not easy, but it’s worth the fight if you’re up for the challenge!

What’s next for you and your bike?
Increasing my list of FMX tricks.

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