From motocross to truck racing to the revolutionary Extreme E, Sara Price has raced in a huge variety of series covering both two wheels and four. As a multiple championship winner, she has a lot of experience that she will be bringing to Extreme E’s debut season next year with Chip Ganassi Racing. I spoke to her about her racing career, the difference between competing with bikes and cars and her advice for others wanting to be a part of the sport.
Sara’s love of sport began at a young age with her horse-riding throughout her childhood. However, her interest in motorsport came at the age of eight following in her family’s footsteps. “I became involved in motorsports because my Dad raced off-road cars and my brother raced motocross. At eight years old I was given my first dirt bike for Christmas and won my very first race! My childhood was spent racing around the US, doing very well and winning many championships. I then turned professional at 16 years old and became a factory racer,” she said. Since winning her first race, Sara has been hooked on the sport, with it almost immediately becoming a passion. “Racing definitely was something I fell in love with instantly. I’ve been competitive pretty much since the day I was born and I love to push myself to the limits,” she told me.
Just four years after being given a dirt bike as a Christmas present, Sara began racing nationally winning the first championship she competed in and so taking her first national title. She went on to win in a number of series, and at the age of just 15, was named the ‘winningest’ woman as an amateur motocross champion with 17 amateur national championships. The following year, Sara turned professional and was named MX Sports Rookie of the Year. In 2010, she made her debut in the X Games. “X Games came about when they added Super X to their competition events. At the time I was racing with the Monster Energy Factory Kawasaki race team and of course that was a big deal for us to race on such a highly respectable platform. That was where all the top athletes around the world came to compete,” Sara explained. In her first season, she finished in the top three in the Women’s Super X category, returning the following year and finishing fourth.
A couple of years later, Sara began considering retiring from the sport. However, she instead decided to turn her attention to four wheels rather than two. “I first transferred to cars when I was about 18 years old when I bought my first Polaris RZR (off-road vehicle). I had driven and raced a UTV once or twice before that at a younger age but it wasn’t until I was starting to consider retiring from motocross, I made the complete transition,” Sara described. Despite her vast racing experience, it wasn’t necessarily an easy transition, with the preparation needed for racing bikes different to that with cars. “The preparation is very different. When racing a bike, you are the main force behind the bars and you are in the gym and riding that bike every day. Bike failures happen, but they happen far less frequently than racing cars. Also bike prep is a lot less time consuming so it’s a big focus on the athlete or rider. When racing cars, we don’t get as much seat time as we’re used to on a motorcycle because it costs a lot more money. There’s also a lot more work that goes into the mechanic side of the vehicle because you don’t only have two wheels, you have four. A lot comes down to the driver understanding the vehicle and how to set it up better to be faster,” she said.
Sara went on to compete in series such as the Lucas Oil Regional Series Championship, SXS Australian Championship and SCORE Trophy Truck Spec Class, winning the latter in 2019, as well as being inducted into the Off-Road Hall of Fame in the UTV, MX, and ATV categories. However, next year she will face a new challenge entering the brand-new Extreme E championship. Launched in 2019, Extreme E was created by Formula E founder Alejandro Agag and former-racer Gil de Ferran. The championship was created out of concern for the climate crisis, with the goal of using electric racing to highlight remote environments under threat and encourage change. “It’s incredible what they’re doing with Extreme E,” Sara told me. “They’re going to make an impact not only for motorsports itself but for something I’m very passionate about and that’s off-road racing. It’s something new and its part of the future. Extreme E is history making and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”
Going into the inaugural season, Sara has high hopes for her and the Chip Ganassi Racing team she will be driving for. “Our hopes for the first season are obviously to go out there and do the best we possibly can with what is so unknown. With a new series and vehicle, we will prepare as much as we can and hopefully be the first ones to win this!” the American driver said. Although the season is yet to start, her involvement is among one of the highlights of her career. “I am so grateful for having had such a great racing career so far. Getting to raise a truck trophy has been something that is at the top of my dream list and now racing Extreme E is a whole other thing! I will get to travel the world chasing my dreams in racing,” Sara said.
However, ensuring she is in the best condition, both physically and mentally, ahead of a race is one of the greatest challenges for Sara, with the mental side being an area she has particularly worked on. “To me the greatest challenge of racing is the mental preparation. A lot of people think of just the physical part, and yes you need to be physically fit and be prepared, but if you don’t have the mental strength, you will be broken. I’ve worked very hard to learn what to do to be my strongest on the inside and out, to overcome weaknesses and work at them to be my strengths. Like I always say, I have a light switch, when the switch is on, my focus is on the task at hand and giving up is never an option,” she explained.
With a career that has covered motorsport in several forms, Sara Price is now preparing for her next challenge which will see her race in some of the most remote places in the world such as the Amazon rainforest with Extreme E. Speaking of her advice for those wanting to get involved in motorsport, Sara said: “get out there and do it! Surround and immerse yourself with it and put everything you have into it. If it’s your passion and you’re surrounded by it, you will learn and it will happen. It won’t all happen overnight like some wish, but anything is possible when you set your mind to it.”
Heading photo credit: @SaraPriceMX