Emma McFerran blazes trail for women in FMX
Last week the International Freestyle Motocross Federation announced that Australian rider Emma McFerran will be in the lineup March 8-9, when the 2013 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship series opens in Berlin as part of the Night of the Jumps World Tour.
McFerran, 24, is no stranger to hanging with the guys: She grew up racing and riding with her brother, Matty McFerran, and joined Australia's Crusty Demons freestyle tour in 2010 after nearly a decade on the women's racing circuit. Last year she moved to Lockhart, New South Wales, to focus on freestyle and train under the tutelage of X Games Best Trick two-time gold medalist Jackson "Jacko" Strong, signed with the Carlton Dry Honda Racing team in September and landed her first backflips to dirt in December on her new factory Honda CRF250.She's featured in the current issue of Australian magazine Freerider MX with a full spread including a backflip sequence shot [see video below].
"The FMX Amazon aims to become the first woman ever to perform a backflip in the world championship series," Night of the Jumps World Tour promoter and IFMXF spokesman Oliver Franke wrote in a news release. We caught up with McFerran for a quick chat about what she's been up to and what she has planned.
XGames.com: Signing on as Jacko Strong's protégé seems to be paying off. How did the opportunity to ride in the 2013 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship series come about?
McFerran: Jacko's helped me out enormously, giving me the opportunity to live and train out at his house all year long. I moved down there in February last year and have just been training with him and riding as much as I can. I started getting backflips over the foam pits and then onto the resi mats, and then finally on to dirt. Last year I had a pretty big crash, which set me back about six months, but then as soon as I was right to go I got right back into flipping and here I am now.
Is it intimidating to be going up against the guys?
I'm pretty pumped and can't wait to go over there. I don't think they've ever seen a female flip over in Europe before -- you can count us on one hand -- so they're bringing me over to put on a bit of a show.
Who are your female peers in FMX at this point?
Jolene Van Vugt has always been a role model. We get on well and she's given me a few pointers. But mostly I've been riding with the boys. Jacko and local boys like Rob Adelberg. I'd love to see some more women getting into freestyle, but for now it's mostly me and the boys.
Do you have any backflip variations yet?
I'm working on some, but Jacko's been gone in America for the last two months practicing for X Games and I haven't had a chance to get back in the pit much. Hopefully when he gets back. At this point I'm just looking to travel and put on a show, more than I'm looking to compete.
What are you most looking forward to as the rest of 2013 unfolds?
Just riding as much as I can, and getting to do some international shows and contests. I'd love to keep progressing to the bigger competition ramps, and I'm really just looking forward to learning some new tricks. I'm really grateful to my sponsors who have been helping me out -- Jetpilot and the Carlton Dry Honda team have been helping me out enormously -- and helping me chase this dream.