Class of 2018
Mary McGee was among the first women to race motorcycles in motocross and road racing events in the United States—and she did it well, earning accolades across decades.
The Gardnerville, Nev., resident was introduced to auto racing by her husband, Don, in the 1950s. Two wheels soon followed, though. McGee learned to ride motorcycles in 1957 on a 200cc Triumph Tiger Cub she bought from a friend, and later she took up motorcycle road racing to try to improve her car racing skills.
She did that, with the American Federation of Motorcyclists, a regional road racing organization, and then transitioned into a dirt rider in 1963.
McGee started her off-road career by riding a 250cc 1962 Honda Scrambler in an AMA District 37 enduro. She started riding Baja events in 1967 and, in 1975, McGee rode the Baja 500 solo.
Also during the 1970s, McGee worked for Motorcyclist magazine and joined editors Jody Nichols, Brad Zimmerman and Rich Cox for a 24-hour road race in Las Vegas, in which the team changed riders every hour on a 650cc Suzuki.
Although McGee stopped competing for health reasons, she rediscovered the sport in 2011, when she began competing on vintage motorcycles. She also rode recreationally, enjoying her last trail ride in 2017.
Throughout her adult life, McGee has served as an ambassador for motorcycling, whether through her example as a pioneering female competitor or through her speaking engagements and social media posts that encourage people—and especially women—to try motorcycling and competitive riding.
“I’m hoping I’m not only an ambassador to the sport, but an inspiration to women who are riding,” McGee said. “I would like to see more women—and more younger women—get involved.”