Editor’s Note: The following is the third in a four-part series showcasing 12 female riders with historic significance.
In Part I and Part II we introduced you to the duos of Effie & Avis Hotchkiss and Adeline & Augusta van Buren as well as the first female to win an AMA event Dorothy “Dot” Robinson, Iron Horse Motorcycle Club Founder Bessie Stringfield, Motor Maids Founder Linda Dugeau and the First Lady of Sturgis Pearl Hoel.
Known as the ‘Blonde Cyclone’ this daredevil on two wheels made her name as part of stunt shows, performing in the motordome (often called the walls of death’ in the 1940s. She was quite a looker and as a result was a very popular draw among the men in particular). It was her effect on the young ladies in the crowd that earns her a mention here. She was bold and beautiful and she rode a motorcycle in ways most men would never attempt. As a result she became a big deal in her heyday and even managed to be featured in Life Magazine in 1948.
Facts: First Female Member of the 200 mph Club
Marcia Holley made a name for herself as a stunt woman in Hollywood. She also happened to be an avid motorcycle rider who is also rumored to be the first female to finish the Baja 1000 and found herself in the inner-circle of the land speed racers, including Don Vesco. In the late 1970s, Holley was given an opportunity to ride Vesco’s streamliner at Bonneville in an effort to reach 150-mph. She had never ridden at the Salt before and yet she clicked off a 180-mph run and was hooked on speed ever since. Her next real run took place in 1978 at an SCTA event a while later where she went 229-mph and became the first woman to officially break into the 200-mph club. At the time she was the fastest woman in the world, a record that stood for over 30 years. Holley still rides and can be seen at speed trials across the USA supporting other women as they strive to etch their names in the land speed racing record books.
In the last excerpt, we will introduce you to a recent Sturgis Hall of Fame member who also happens to be part of an aftermarket parts company and a Guinness Book of World Records record-holder.