Mary McGee, a name synonymous with breaking barriers and shattering gender norms, is the star of the new documentary short “MOTORCYCLE MARY.” Directed by Haley Watson in her directorial debut, this 22-minute film is set to join ESPN Films’ renowned 30 for 30 Shorts catalog.

Produced by Rachel Greenwald and executive produced by two-time Oscar® winner Ben Proudfoot and seven-time Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, “MOTORCYCLE MARY” tells the captivating story of McGee’s three-decade racing career, showcasing her indomitable spirit and remarkable achievements in motorsports.

The Early Life of Mary McGee: Overcoming Fear and Finding Composure

Mary McGee was born in Alaska on the eve of World War II, a time filled with uncertainty and fear. However, with the guidance and support of her older brother Jim, Mary conquered her apprehensions and learned the art of composure. This skill became a cornerstone of her life, helping her face the challenges of the racetrack later on.


Her journey into the world of racing began not with motorcycles, but with cars. McGee’s entry into car racing marked the start of a remarkable odyssey where she consistently outshone her male competitors, defying the expectations of a male-dominated sport. However, it was on two wheels where she discovered her true passion and sense of freedom.


Breaking Barriers: The First Woman to Race Motorcycles in the United States

Mary McGee’s transition from car racing to motorcycle racing was nothing short of groundbreaking. She became the first woman to race motorcycles in the United States, a milestone that highlighted her trailblazing spirit. In an era when women were rarely seen in the racing circuits, McGee’s presence was a bold statement against the prevailing gender norms.

Her entry into motorcycle racing was met with skepticism and resistance from many in the racing community. However, McGee’s talent, determination, and relentless pursuit of excellence soon silenced her critics. She proved that skill and courage know no gender, inspiring many women to pursue their dreams in motorsports and beyond.

Facing Sexism and Personal Tragedy: The Resilience of Mary McGee

Mary McGee’s journey was not without its share of hardships. As a woman in a male-dominated sport, she faced sexism and discrimination at every turn. Fellow racers and even sponsors often doubted her abilities, questioning whether a woman could handle the rigors of professional racing. Despite these challenges, McGee never wavered in her resolve.

Personal tragedy also struck during her career, adding another layer of difficulty to her path. However, McGee’s resilience shone through in these moments of adversity. She used these experiences to fuel her passion for racing, pushing herself to greater heights with each challenge she faced.

The Ultimate Challenge: Soloing the Baja 500

One of the most remarkable feats of Mary McGee’s career was becoming the first person to solo the grueling Baja 500 on a motorcycle. The Baja 500, known for its treacherous terrain and extreme conditions, is a challenge for even the most seasoned racers. McGee’s decision to take on this challenge alone was a testament to her incredible courage and determination.

Her successful completion of the Baja 500 solidified her legacy as a motorsports pioneer. This achievement was not just a personal victory but a historic moment in racing history, showcasing the limitless potential of human perseverance and skill.

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“MOTORCYCLE MARY”: A Cinematic Tribute to a Racing Legend

The documentary short “MOTORCYCLE MARY” captures the essence of Mary McGee’s incredible journey. Directed by Haley Watson and produced by Rachel Greenwald, the film features stunning never-before-seen archival footage and photographs from McGee’s life. Executive producers Ben Proudfoot and Lewis Hamilton bring additional star power and credibility to the project.

The documentary will premiere at the 2024 Tribeca Festival in New York, where it will be showcased in the “Shorts: Personal Best” program on June 7th, with additional screenings on June 13th and 15th. The ESPN premiere date will be announced at a later time, promising to bring McGee’s inspiring story to a wider audience.

Mary McGee’s Legacy: Inspiring Future Generations

Mary McGee’s story is not just about racing; it is about breaking barriers and challenging the status quo. Her legacy extends beyond the racetrack, inspiring future generations of women and men to pursue their dreams regardless of societal expectations. McGee’s journey is a powerful reminder that with determination and perseverance, anything is possible.

Her influence is evident in the growing number of women participating in motorsports today. Many female racers cite McGee as an inspiration, crediting her for paving the way and showing that gender should never be a barrier to pursuing one’s passion.

The Impact of “MOTORCYCLE MARY” on the Motorsports Community

The release of “MOTORCYCLE MARY” is expected to have a significant impact on the motorsports community. By highlighting McGee’s contributions and achievements, the documentary brings much-needed attention to the role of women in motorsports. It challenges the traditional narratives and encourages a more inclusive and diverse representation in the sport.

ESPN Films’ decision to include this documentary in their 30 for 30 Shorts catalog underscores the importance of McGee’s story. The 30 for 30 series is known for its compelling sports documentaries that go beyond the games to explore the human stories behind the athletes. “MOTORCYCLE MARY” fits perfectly within this framework, offering a powerful and inspiring story that transcends sports.

Conclusion: Celebrating a True Pioneer

Mary McGee’s story is one of courage, resilience, and trailblazing achievements. “MOTORCYCLE MARY” captures the essence of her journey, showcasing her indomitable spirit and the legacy she leaves behind. As we celebrate McGee’s contributions to motorsports, we also recognize the broader impact of her story in challenging gender norms and inspiring future generations.

The premiere of “MOTORCYCLE MARY” at the Tribeca Festival and its subsequent release on ESPN will ensure that Mary McGee’s legacy continues to inspire and motivate. Her story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of breaking barriers, reminding us all that with determination, we can achieve the extraordinary.


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