Off-Road Motorcycling Now the Hot New Trend Among Women and Teenage Girls

American Suzuki and SoBe Beverages Sponsor Dirty Girls Dirt Bike School - A 'Girls-Only' Off-Road Motorcycle Adventure to Meet Growing Demand

PHOENIX, Feb. 19 -- The hottest new fashion accessory this year isn't bronzing powder, peasant tops or vintage-wash boot-cut jeans -- it's off-road motorcycles. While some teens are out buying Avril Lavigne's album, other girls are out buying dirt bikes and learning how to ride motorcycles -- which is why American Suzuki and SoBe Beverages decided to team up with Team Suzuki off-road champion Steve Hatch's company, Extreme Arizona Adventures, to develop the Dirty Girls Dirt Bike School, a "female students only" program.

Females now comprise 40 percent of those learning to ride dirt bikes, making the Dirty Girls School the ideal platform for girls to learn dirt biking safely and responsibly. Sponsored jointly by American Suzuki Motor Corporation and SoBe Beverages -- companies strongly committed to the sports of motocross and supercross -- the school is a two-day program designed to teach female beginners how to ride safely and develop confidence in their riding abilities.

While some girls start riding as young as 3 or 4 years old, more than one- third of all students enrolling in the national dirt bike schools are under 16 and nearly one out of every five of these teen students is female. Therefore, in designing a program that caters to the needs of female riders, American Suzuki and racing partner SoBe looked to Hatch and his company for the instructional expertise needed to develop a successful "girls-only" program.

According to SoBe spokeswoman, Kristine Hinck, "We recognize that girls and women have been fans of -- and have been actively participating in -- action sports all along, and simply haven't received the attention, training or focus that men in these sports have received. For years, women have been surfing, skateboarding, riding BMX and motocross bikes, as well as participating in other action sports, but there are precious few organized programs out there that really support and encourage women to learn these sports in a safe, female-friendly environment. Instead, women are frequently left to explore their favorite sports on their own, often without safe instruction. Events like the Dirty Girls Dirt Bike School help open the door to action sports for women, and SoBe, of course, is proud to be a part of it."

Dirty Girls School Curriculum

To kick-off the new girls-only school, Hatch led a group of female journalists and motorcycle enthusiasts through the Dirty Girls Dirt Bike School's inaugural class this week. Despite many years of instructing primarily male riders, he's already received interest in future women's-only classes. "Clearly young women and teenage girls are picking up off-road riding like never before," says Hatch, Team Suzuki racer and Extreme Arizona founder. "There is no reason that guys should be the only ones out playing in the dirt! Riding dirt bikes is a fantastic way to spend time with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors and getting a great workout."

On the first day, participants will be put through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's (MSF) DirtBike School program, the premier program in the U.S. for off-highway motorcycle safety. After learning the basics of safe riding, Hatch and crew take the ladies out for a day of riding through the picturesque Arizona desert to work on the skills that they learned and further develop their confidence.

Recognizing that female off-highway motorcycle riders have unique needs and desires, Extreme Arizona determined that the proper gear and equipment would be the first necessity. As females tend to be smaller in stature, they need a smaller-size entry-level bike -- such as the Suzuki DR-Z125L models provided by American Suzuki. Perfect for an entry-level woman or teen girl, the Suzuki DR-Z125L's low seat height and lightweight design make it easy to get on and hold up while at a stop. The DR-Z125L also sports a user-friendly engine with a simple, five-speed transmission that facilitates easy gear shifting.

Safety is also of utmost importance at any dirt bike school and the gear plays a key roll in keeping riders safe. Participants in the Dirty Girls School are provided with helmets, goggles, gloves, chest protectors, knee and elbow pads, long-sleeve jerseys, motocross pants and motocross boots. Once girls are ready to buy their own gear, selections are endless and there are even motocross gear companies that design gear just for women. (The same SoBe Suzuki racing gear that professional Team SoBe Suzuki riders like Supercross star Travis Pastrana wears in competition are also available for women to purchase).

Learn to Ride Anywhere in the U.S.

Since some teen girls are not close to Phoenix, Ariz., home of the Dirty Girls School, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's DirtBike School is the perfect place for girls to learn riding basics close to home. Thanks to more than 200 MSF classes offered at locations nationwide, getting started is quick and easy. Although most classes are co-ed, some locations do offer all-female classes, so girls can create their very own Dirty Girls School by inviting a group of their closest friends to ride with them.

Marketing for Dirty Girls

American Suzuki recognizes that females, especially Gen Y hipsters, are currently on the lookout for that next big thrill that will set them apart from the crowd. Hatch is convinced that it won't be long before pro female riders like Stefy Bau, Jessica Patterson and Tania Satchwell will become household names for teen girls everywhere and women will be out riding with friends and family every weekend.

The initial Dirty Girls Dirt Bike School has been reserved for industry representatives. Giving select top-tier women's interest and consumer media first opportunity to experience the school and report to their readers with a first-hand experience, Extreme Arizona offers the "girls-only" program upon request. All adventures can be customized to participants' level of experience and personal riding preferences.

About American Suzuki Motor Corporation

The Motorcycle/ATV Division of American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC), Brea, Calif., was founded in 1963 by Suzuki Motor Corporation. ASMC markets motorcycles and ATVs via an extensive dealer network throughout 49 states. ASMC's parent company, Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), based in Hamamatsu, Japan, is a diversified worldwide automobile manufacturer. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, it has 120 distributors in 191 countries.

About SoBe Beverages, Inc.

Norwalk, CT-based South Beach Beverage Company is the maker of herbally enhanced refreshment beverages marketed under the SoBe brand name. SoBe "healthy refreshment" beverages are formulated for individuals with active lifestyles. SoBe beverages can be purchased at convenience stores, grocery stores, mass merchandisers and warehouse clubs, delis, gas marts, and select restaurant/hotels. For more information, visit the SoBe web site at www.sobebev.com or call the Lizard Line at 1-800-588-0548. SoBe is a separate operating unit of Pepsi-Cola North America.

About Motorcycle Safety Foundation DirtBike School

The MSF is a national, not-for-profit organization promoting the safety of motorcyclist with the programs in rider training, operator licensing and public information. The MSF is sponsored by the U.S. manufacturers and distributors of BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, KTM, Kawasaki, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki, Vengeance, Victory and Yamaha motorcycles.

For further information please contact Rebecca Rose of PainePR, +1-949-809-6740, for American Suzuki.

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