Utah Tech’s Sophie Phelps Wins National Motocross Championship

By Jake Harber

Not many people can say they’ve won one, let alone two, national championships, but Sophie Phelps, a 19-year-old sophomore at Utah Tech, claimed her second motocross national champion title in August at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

It all came down to the third and final moto, or race, for Phelps. Atop her Kawasaki KX250F, Phelps had a slow start and a wreck that left her in 39th place.

Photo credit: Jessica TenHagen

Phelps needed to finish in the top five to win the championship, and recalled thinking, “You just lost your championship. Your championship’s gone.”

Phelps found her energy again and said to herself: “Hang on, you didn’t spend all summer with your positive talk and positive affirmations just to throw it away and say ‘you suck, you lost your championship.’ That’s not how we talk. You got this. You can do this.”

"That's not how we talk. You got this. You can do this."

Phelps showed an incredible amount of perseverance and resilience as she climbed to the top 10, then seventh place, finally taking the lead and winning the national championship once again.


Photo credit: Align Media

Phelps started riding motorcycles when she was just 4 years old, and it only took her a year to begin racing them. She took part in the children’s division in the Rhino Rally, taking third place amongst the boys. She continued to compete in local races at the track near the St. George airport.

Phelps made her first nationals appearance at age 13, finishing in 17th place, and steadily improved until she won first in the women’s division last year in 2021 and defended her title this year.

Phelps is studying mechanical engineering at Utah Tech, stating that she would like to use what she learns to someday design helmets or parts for bikes.

Some of Phelps’ sponsors include big names like Fox Racing, Dunlop, and Rocky Mountain ATV/MC, as well as local St. George sponsors like Crossfit Dixie and BlenditUp. Her sponsors provide her with the gear, parts and nutrition needed to perform at her best.

“That was raw emotion right there,” Phelps said in regard to finishing with another championship title. “I still get chills thinking about it.”

Photo credit: Align Media

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