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ZIMBABWEAN motocross champion rider Jayden Ashwell says he is confident ahead of the Zimbabwe Summer Series which gets underway on Wednesday next week at Donnybrook Raceway in Harare.

At least 25 foreign riders from South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya and Uganda are expected to take part in the prestigious calendar event slotted for next week Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The Summer Series is a cocktail of two Supercross events (night racing), set for Wednesday and Friday, and a motocross challenge on Sunday.

Ashwell (18) said that though he is feeling a bit of pressure, he is also confident that he will do well at this international and end his year on a high note.

“I am more excited than I have been in a long time and I am all geared to go. This is a very big thing on our calendar and I really want to win it.

“I’ve been training for this for a while and all the races we have had have just been preparing me for this series so it’s a huge deal for me.

“There is a bit of pressure though because I am considered one of the best, particularly in my class (MX1) so I always have to prove myself but I think it will be good.

“This year we have the home aantage and it’s always motivational to be able to perform in front of a home crowd with all that adrenaline while on the bike and racing on familiar ground.

“Unfortunately one of our best riders Ashley Thixton will not be able to join the competing crowd due to a knee injury but besides that the rest of the guys should be able to do well.

“We have some really fast local riders like Daiyaan Manuel who has been doing well for himself this season so I think it will be great.”

Ashwell, who is without doubt one of the fastest riders in the country, also said that the foreign line up of riders did not intimidate him in the least.

” I expect stiff competition particularly from David Goosen who used to race in England but is now in South Africa and I think all of them will be pretty quick but that does not intimidate me.

“Having a lot of competition will definitely make it interesting as well as make for a good show for our crowds.

“I am hoping to turn pro and make a living out of this so it’s imperative I win all my races. The last time in South Africa I did not do so well so I am hoping to make up for it in this event,” said Ashwell.

In his last high profile event, Ashwell, who rides in the senior MXI class, did not fare so well only managing a 16th position in the Monster Energy Africa Supercross that was held in Pretoria, South Africa, last month.

Ashwell has been racing motocross since 2002 and 2012 was a great year for him as he was crowned the Zimbabwe MX1 champion, MSA MX1 and MX2 champion and the FIM MXoAN MX2 champion.

He has also won various other Zimbabwean titles from 50cc to 85cc classes.

“I have been racing the South African Nationals circuit since 50cc and have obtained numerous podium finishes throughout the years. In early 2013 I went to the United States to train and race at MMX, a motocross specific training facility. I raced and won a few regional races in Northern California.

“I got 6th in 450 Open Pro class and 7th in 450 Pro Sport at the California Classic and qualified for the Mammoth National before getting injured. Unfortunately I had to miss out on the Loretta Lynn’s qualifiers and the Mammoth National. I returned home to recover and I am trying to get back to USA for next year’s Loretta Lynn qualifiers,” Ashwell said.

But at the moment his focus is on competing and doing well at next week’s Zimbabwe Summer Series where he will lead a host of local riders who include talented youngsters Manuel, Kuda Mhene (Jnr), Davin Cocker, Tristan Grainger, Big “BJ” Chitima, Emmanuel Bako, Lee and Mudiwa Chigumba, the Mawarire brothers Tafadzwa, Mike and Tyler, Ryan Masimo, Wade Ashwell and the exciting female rider Tanya Muzinda.

Most of these youngsters have been offered a month-long training stint in Germany in April next year by the GeBe Foundation, a non-profit organisation which partners with other organisations to support education, sport, culture and social development in disaantaged communities.

The GeBe Foundation also facilitates international education and sports development Programmes, tours, events (sport and music) in Germany, Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United States.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Summer Series kick-starts with two Supercross racing on Wednesday and Friday night, starting at 7pm, while the motocross event on Sunday December 14 will start at 10am.

Entry fee for each of the three days has been pegged at US$5 per adult and US$2 for children under the age of 12. There will be full bar and catering.

Source : The Herald

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