Rider Profile: Tatum Sik
Story and Photos by Rodney Rutherford
PALA, CA, DEC. 2012
Seasoned Women’s Pro Tatum Sik has been rocking the Southern California region for well over 10 years, finishing up a Continental Motosports Club Golden State National title with an injured right leg – an injury so severe that she could not kick the bike over. Instead, she lassoed her good friend Jackie Ives into performing the starting duties, and, ignoring her pain (which she does regularly), she finished up that sunny day by completing both motos and taking the GSN Women’s title several years ago.
A jokester at heart, when racing at the 2005 Lake Elsinore Grand Prix, Sik duct-taped a disposable air horn onto her handlebars, and she let the crowds know she was coming lap after lap with healthy horn blares until she used the horn up!
Sik has had several top-eight finishes in Pro Women’s motocross since 2008, with her best finish on record being a fourth at Hangtown in 2008. The 2008 X Games bronze medalist raced in the WORCS Women’s Pro ranks for the first time in 2010, entering one event; she finished fifth. Going deeper into the series the following year, she won her first-ever WORCS race at round two, repeated the victory at round three, placed second at round four, scored a third at round eight, and closed the 2011 series with fourth in the points standings.
Let’s look at an overview of the fun-loving Sik’s journey to the 2012 WORCS Women’s Pro number-one plate. With the support of her number-one fan, her father, Kelly Sik, she suited up for a full run at the 2012 WOCRS Championship. Three-time WORCS Women’s Pro racer Kacy Martinez had bundled up her titles in the previous three years with four complete seasons of WORCS events going into 2012. With three-time Champion Martinez in the game, Sik was in for off-road warfare.
The Women’s Pro races end at 60 minutes, usually amounting to just over an hour of pounding racing. Six-time Women’s Pro Motocross Champion Jessica Patterson was at the first round for racing and seasonal training. Sik made a run at the legend, reportedly catching her, but she flatted out at the Glen Helen venue and did not finish. Learning from that experience, Sik went to a mousse, which is a tube installed between the rim and tire for flat-proofing – a must for treacherous off-road competition.
Heading out to round two, she had the DNF out of her system, and she finished up the remaining nine rounds of the 10-round series. Solidifying her threat to Martinez’s throne, Sik captured the win at round two, held in Primm, Nevada.
Onward to round three at Mesquite, Nevada: Describing the track as “super silty” with a combination of blue groove, Sik armed her Honda with a sand tire. She led from the end of lap one to the checkers after lap six for her second win. Martinez finished 11 seconds behind.
As her acumen matured, so did Sik’s knowledge of her equipment: She installed a 2.8-gallon fuel tank on her Honda CRF250, and at round four she built a 17-second gap on lap one, and ended up finishing more than two minutes ahead of Nicole Madsen in Lake Havasu, Arizona.
The fifth show, at Speedworld in Surprise, Arizona, brought an end to Sik’s three-win streak. Though she was off in the lead on lap one, her race suddenly collapsed: Slamming face-first into the dirt and spinning around backwards in the motocross section, she became anxious and disoriented. Shaken up and not feeling well, Sik remounted and fought her way back to second after being fourth on lap one.
Next, it was on to Adelanto for round six, where she had veteran Elizabeth Bash to chase down. She did just that, gaining the lead on lap five and then promptly pulling away to clinch her fourth win in six rounds. Martinez tallied a DNF.
Shifting to a Honda CRF450 for the Central, Utah, round, Sik scrapped with Madsen for second and prevailed, while Martinez won and gained three points on Sik in the points chase.
Prior to Pala Raceway’s round eight, Sik had broken her right wrist at an X Games practice and was sporting a cast. She found the cast pesky, so she cut it off and raced the X Games main event and came in sixth. As mentioned before, Sik can endure immense pain and, despite that pain, still win. She did it once again, going into the remaining three rounds of the series with an injured wrist but seemingly impervious to the pain.
Now holding a 10-point lead over Martinez, Sik lost three points to Martinez the rest of the way out and finished seven points ahead for the 2012 WORCS Women’s Pro Championship. Of course, Sik took a huge cartwheel crash at the final round in Taft – just for celebratory purposes.
Sik answered a few questions for us about Women’s racing…
Question: Do you feel Women’s racing has continued to go forward since you began racing Pro?
Sik: I think so. The level of riding has progressed tremendously, as far as the level of support we have gotten. It’s a bummer it’s cut short this year with WMX (Women’s Pro Motocross Series), but thankfully there still are rounds.
Q: What do you see as the future of Women’s Professional racing, motocross, Grand Prix, and open circuit racing?
Sik: Hopefully the motocross side of it will continue to pick up. I see it eventually getting pretty big, since the guys have such a turnout, but they also have had many more years to develop the caliber of riders they have racing. I think endurocross will be the big thing, though, considering how quickly it has grown in such a short period of time, and there’s a lot of talent in that field.
Q: Two-stroke vs. four-stroke: Which type of motorcycle do you prefer, and what would you recommend for a woman racer just starting out?
Sik: I would love to race two-strokes; it’s a lot cheaper, and the bikes are so fun to ride. It would definitely change the outcome of a lot of races just because it requires a bit more of the rider than just having a fast bike.
Q: What advice would you offer to a woman racer just getting into off-road racing?
Sik: I’d say just go out and give it a try. It’s super laid-back and a blast! That’s the main reason I made the switch. Plus, the tracks are really fun!
Sik has the 2013 X Games on her schedule, as well as selected endurocross events and a run at the 2013 WORCS series. She would like to thank Pro Tec, Factory Backing, Troy Lee Designs, FMF, Utopia, Virus, Millennium Technologies, Barnett Clutches, Maxxis, No Toil, Torco, AGV Helmets, and her father, Kelly Sik.
[This article was reprinted from the December 2012 issue of S&S Off-Road Magazine – www.sandiegooffroad.com/ and www.facebook.com/SSOffRoadMagazine… Editor]