One of the first female motocross and road racers
May 10, 2021
By Kali Kotoski
Mary McGee learned to ride motorcycles in 1957 on a 200cc Triumph Tiger Cub, and later took up motorcycle road racing to try to improve her car-racing skills.
But before she could race, the American Federation of Motorcyclists made her pass a licensing test and she became the first woman to hold an FIM license in the United States.
In 1963, she switched to dirt riding and rode her 1962 250cc Honda Scrambler in an AMA District 37 enduro. She started riding Baja events in 1967 and, in 1975, McGee rode the Baja 500 solo, which was one of her most memorable accomplishments as she finished ahead of several two-man teams.
Also in the 1970s, McGee worked for Motorcyclist magazine and joined a 24-hour endurance road race in Las Vegas, in which the magazine’s team changed riders every hour on a 650cc Suzuki.
Throughout her adult life, McGee has served as an ambassador for motorcycling, whether as a pioneering female competitor or through her speaking engagements that encourage women to try motorcycling and racing.
“I would like to see more women — and more younger women — get involved. It’s not whether you finish first, second or last. It’s the struggle to finish. It is the journey of your life,” McGee is quoted as saying.
Read her story and many more in the May issue of American Motorcyclist.