Collin Matiza Sports Editor
A NEW Superbike racing Queen was born in Zimbabwe during last Sunday’s round three of the 2018 Sables Main Circuit Racing’s National Championship series at Donnybrook Raceway in Harare.
Last Sunday saw the arrival of young Jessica Howden who took part in the Megelli Class and she surprisingly came third behind male riders Tristan Grainger and Ricky Whyte much to the delight of hundreds of motor racing fans who thronged Donnybrook to watch the third round of the seven part National Championships.
Grainger and Whyte are also two of the country’s top junior motocross riders and they were pushed all the way by Howden who showed no ghost of inferiority complex against them last Sunday.
In fact, Howden, the daughter of veteran motor racing driver and Managing Director of Toyota Zimbabwe Ian Howden, sent some tongues wagging after she produced an eye-catching performance last Sunday and one of the country’s top Superbike riders Phil “Archie” Archenoul was the first to congratulate her.
“Jessica is just a superb rider. She has got what I believe is huge natural talent. I have not seen anyone (myself included) take to a bike so easily. She is really going to be something we feel will be special.
“She has also been mentored by two of South Africa’s top professional female Superbike riders from the Monroe Racing Team — Zoe Bosch and Nicole van Aswegen. In fact, they have both just smashed all ladies records in Zimbabwe’s racing history,” Archenoul.
Temba Mazvimbakupa of the Zimbabwe Motorsport Federation thinks Jessica Howden is a star in the making who is following the footsteps of Zimbabwe’s female champion Superbike rider Tiffany Fisher.
“Jessica Howden is still a young rider who has a bright future ahead of her and I think she is getting some invaluable tips from her teammates at Monroe Racing Team — Zoe Bosch and Nicole van Aswegen. The good thing is that we are now producing more female riders in the local motor racing scene,” Mazvimbakupa said.
Vic Rich of Monroe Racing Team also paid tribute to Jessica Howden, Bosch and van Aswegen following their exploits on the track at Donnybrook.
“Once again you girls excelled to a level that others can only dream about. Possibly the biggest audience seen at Donnybrook witnessed racing you only see on TV. Officially (you’re) now the fastest girls in Zimbabwe. Jessica Howden you brought tears to my eyes and many others with your performance, and credit to your coaches this weekend. This is just the beginning of many more. Well done team, you have brought a real feeling of reality. Fly back safe, see you in Joburg,” Rich wrote on his Facebook wall on Monday.
Rich is based in South Africa and he owns and runs the Monroe Racing Team. Usually he likes to sponsor different riders and is good at helping people up through the motorcycling racing ranks.
Meanwhile, Damion Purificati upstaged former South Africa’s Superbikes champion Shaun Whyte and Zimbabwe’s motocross rider Ashley Thixton in the main Superbike Class at Donnybrook on Sunday.