UPDATED (4:05 p.m. ET): Honda has issued the following statement regarding its decision to drop title sponsorship of the IndyCar Series’ Grand Prix of St. Petersburg after nine seasons:
“We continually evaluate our marketing promotions to assure that we have a portfolio of programs which reaches Honda’s broad customer base. The 2014 season will mark a strategic shift for American Honda in the allocation of its motorsports and marketing resources, in order to amplify its visibility at key events on the IndyCar Series schedule. We believe race sponsorships provide a unique at-track opportunity to reach racing enthusiasts and expose them to our brand and products. Moving forward, we will focus our efforts on the goal of providing the best fan experiences possible.”
In a Friday evening report from Danielle Paquette of the Tampa Bay Times, race president Tim Ramsberger seemed to indicate that the event was caught off-guard by the decision.
“To say we’re surprised is an understatement,” Ramsberger told the Times. “It’s a tough thing to experience but I don’t think it’ll damper the race. It won’t affect us going forward.”
Honda had been the race’s title sponsor since its first edition under Indy Racing League/IndyCar sanction in 2005; it had been a Champ Car race for its inaugural running in 2003.
However, both Ramsberger and St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster were bullish about the race’s long-term future in comments made for the Times’ report.
“Sponsors come and go,” Foster said. “No one’s married to Honda. We’re married to the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.”
In a press release, Ramsberger said he learned last week of Honda’s decision, but that the race is “grateful for their support over the years and are pleased by the way in which the event has grown during this time.”
The release also expressed confidence about the race’s ability to attract new sponsors that can augment the current support of the race from local and national partners, such as Firestone.
“They’ve all experienced first-hand the many benefits of the event both on-site and through the visibility of a global television audience,” Ramsberger said. “We’re at the cusp of a new era for our event and I’m confident new and existing partners will step up and enjoy the growing benefits the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg has to offer.”
Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”.
At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.
Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California.
Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.
“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”
805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”
Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life.
The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general.
“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said. “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”
While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself.
“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”
Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.
Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg.
“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle.
“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”
The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective.
“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.
“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”