Last year, my mom and I read a newspaper article about Noora Moghaddas,
who had just won a championship race in Iran, and was asked what her
dreams were. One of them, she said, was to come to America to meet me,
and possibly to race with me. She had read about some of my accomplishments,
along with my efforts to bring equality to womens motocross here
in the United States. Noora wanted to achieve some of those same goals
My family and I sat down with a couple of my sponsors to figure out
how we could set up a visit between Noora and me. A lot of people worked
behind the scenes to make it happen. Around that time, however, my race
season was getting started, and I got busy and forgot about the whole
Then, at the end of August 2010, I got an email from Noora letting me
know she was coming to America. Once again, my team and I got busy to
see what we could do to make her dream of racing with me and the other
US Womens Motocross competitors come true.
I talked with Honda and a team called Factory Connection to make sure
we could get Noora a bike, once she arrived. My gear company, AlpineStars,
also hooked her up with some great gear! She was going to be able to
race on Southwick, one of the gnarliest tracks on the circuit.
We had to work with the race promoters to get her signed up, and to
get her the proper license to race in an American Motorcyclist Association
competition. It was a lot of work, but in the end everyone pulled together,
and we the pieces fell into place.
When Noora and I first saw each other at the airport, we ran to give
each other a hug. We were so excited to finally meet! Communication
was a little difficult at first. Her English was rough, and I signed,
of course! But soon we got into a rhythm and understood one another.
We talked mostly about our love of motocross. She told me that motocross
in Iran was not like it is in the United States, as Iran only has one
motocross track, and not many girls race or ride it, so Noora was pretty
excited to ride with me!
She and I rode at a few local tracks together and just hung out. It
turns out that she is just as goofy as I am. We had a great time laughing,
riding and having fun! We shared our goals to improve conditions for
girls and women in our respective countries. She told me she wants to
set up classes and races that will get more Iranian girls involved in
motocross. It was helpful to bounce our ideas off of each other.
Noora joined my family when we headed up to Massachusetts for the race.
Everything was set to go, and she was both nervous and excited. She
enjoyed being around the other girls, and they all loved having her
there. It was a great time for everyone.
Noora ended up crashing a couple of times, and got a little bruised
up, but I don't think she would have traded the experience for anything.
I was glad to have her racing beside me and, over all, I think she had
a great time out on the track.
Months later, I received another text from Noora saying she was in
the States. We all looked forward to seeing her again! This time,
she brought her husband and introduced him to everyone. She also brought
a videographer, who is making a film about her.
Noora continues in her quest to help Iranian women learn how to ride,
race and become stronger. I hope to be a part of that important mission
with her, so that we can both share our love of motocross with people
in other countries! It is great to know our world is really not that
big. Even with different languages and cultures, we can all come together
and share something we feel passionate about.
A Different World
Iran's #1 Female Motocross Racer
When Noora Moghaddas, a top motocross competitor in the Middle East,
visited the United States at our columnist Ashley Fioleks behest,
she discovered that language is not the only thing that can get lost
in translation. After enduring a series of mishaps, the Iranian champion
finally got on the right track. Here, Moghaddas, the daughter of motorcycling
enthusiastsincluding a father whos owned a motorcycle repair
shop in Iran for 20 years, and a mother whos ridden motorbikes
for more than two decadestalks about life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness with ABILITYs Chet Cooper. They met and rode recently
at a motocross track in Riverside, CA.
Chet Cooper: Have you noticed any differences between motocross here
and motocross in Iran?
Noora Moghaddas: Yes, there are things here that we dont have
yet in Iran. For instance, we have jumps, but not on every track.
Cooper: Do you like jumps?
Moghaddas: I do, but the jumps were really scary at first.
Cooper: You just cant look down!
Moghaddas: (laughs) Right.
Cooper: In what other countries have you raced?
Moghaddas: Just Iran and now America. First Id like to make it
big in Iran, and then Id like to travel to other countries to
ride and race. In Iran, there are no girls who are really good, so I
cant race against them. I would like to compete with professional
racers who are better than me so that I can improve. I first learned
to ride when I was four years old, from my dad, who was a motorcross
champion in Iran.
Cooper: How did you come to speak English so well?
Moghaddas: When I was six or seven, my mom sent me to English class,
and I continued until I was 10 or 11. I listened to American music,
like Madonna, so I could learn the lyrics. From there, I looked up words
in the dictionary and picked up a lot of English from them. I also watch
lots of American shows, like How I Met Your Mother.
Cooper: Ill let Bob Saget know. How did you developed a relationship
Moghaddas: I saw her in a magazine in Iran in my fathers store.
Its a motocross store, where parts are sold and repairs are done.
My father showed me that there was a girl in America and she was then
19, and I read the article where she said, If you want something
you can get it. I loved that about her. Then I found out that
she was deaf, and she started racing when she was really young. And
suddenly it was like, Oh, I have to meet her some day!
Shes like me, but in a different way! Shes deaf, and Im
a girl in Iran who cannot find acceptance to ride easily, so we both
have it a bit hard. I tried to e-mail her but didnt receive a
response, so I was disappointed.
Meanwhile, some girls and I created a motocross club and set up a race,
which was the first womens race in Irans history. Lots of
countries were interested in this, and they called and interviewed me
because I became the first. Some of the girls were the wives or daughters
of the male riders.
Cooper: You won the race?
Moghaddas: Yes, and my mother came in second.
Cooper: And thats because you turned off the fuel lines for all
the other bikes?
Moghaddas: (laughs) And I punched holes in the other riders tires.
No, just kidding. Actually, I tried hard to get more girls to race,
but lots of them were like, Oh, we cannot do it. Were not
used to racing. But I told them that it doesnt matter if
you lose or win. The race makes you stronger and teaches you lots of
things about riding. If you practice, you learn a little, but if you
race, you learn a lot. And they came and raced, and they were really
happy when they finished. Everybody was happy. Ive never seen
so many people...
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from the John C. McGinley Issue
Kessler Foundation Research
That Gets People Moving
C. McGinley Expanding His Role
John Sie And the Global Down Team
Deserts Activists Help Communities Get Good Food
Fiolek Befriends Noora, an Iranian Racer
Raketu Cool Apps for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
DLRC A Fight to Protect a Boy and His Dog
in the John C. McGinley Issue; Ashley Fiolek Befriends Noora,
an Iranian Racer; Noora Moghaddas Befriends Ashley, a US Racer;
Humor To Anchorage With Love Sen. Tom Harkin Jobs + Education
= American Dream; Raketu Cool Apps for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing;
Adaptive Golf The Fight Over Carts; USBLN Annual Conference
in Kentucky; Kessler Foundation Research That Gets People Moving;
Food Deserts Activists Help Communities Get Good Food; John C.
McGinley Expanding His Role; John Sie A Career That Spans
Tech, TV and Top Research; Global Down Syndrome Bringing Their
A Team; DLRC A Fight to Protect a Boy and His Dog;
Betsy Valnes On Creating a World Disability Congress; ABILITY's
Crossword Puzzle; Events and Conferences...