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Visalia motocross racer shows age, gender won't stop her

Visalia motocross racer shows why age or gender won't stop her (FOX26)

When you're out at the dirt track in Tulare Sunday, you've got to keep your eyes on one motocross racer in the men's race.

The wheels hug those corners. The jumps are all good. And by the way, this is all being done by a woman.

"I passed some guys," Ginny Hopper said. "It felt good, it was fun, it was a blast!" she said. "Sometimes it comes to mind like, 'Shoot, I’m 51-years-old, and I’m out here doing this," Hopper said.

Right, there's that too. Hopper turns 52 in March. She's considered over-the-hill to be doing something like motocross. Hence the name of the club she's a part of, The Valley Over the Hill Gang.

But age is just a number for this crew.

"It’s adrenaline, it’s a rush, it’s a challenge," Hopper said.

Hopper lives in Visalia now. But she said decades before finding her on this track, she was on two wheels, on the back roads.

"Growing up in Alaska, I worked all summer peeling logs for a friend and they gave me a trail bike and I just love motorcycles and rode it all over," Hopper said.

Eventually passing on the passion to her son, Don, who she watches ever so closely as he laps round and round at the same race.

"They wanted to put her in the beginner's class this year, but she looked at her times from a lot of the races and she was hanging with these guys," Don Hopper said about his mom. "It's pretty awesome to see her racing," he said.

Tom Wyatt agrees. He's a member of The Valley Over the Hill Gang. He said nobody should count Hopper out.

"Oh no, no, no, not at all," Wyatt said. "She’s faster than some of us," he admits. "Not only being one of our few women in The Valley Over the Hill Gang, she was our president last year and she just helps the club tremendously," Wyatt said.

But you might say it's as much the bike, the track, the race, the fact Hopper likes a challenge, that keeps calling her back, as much as the people.

"Last year was really rough, I lost my husband in August," Hopper said. "These people are my family," she said. "Coming out here every weekend every day kept my mind going," Hopper said.

Hopper placed fifth out of six who competed in her age group in that novice race. She also won the nationals for the women's A class last year. Hopper said there are three women signed up in their chapter and just a handful more sprinkled throughout the other chapters around the state and Nevada.

The racing season just started this week. It runs through November.

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