STEER­ING FEAR IN THE FACE

Jamaica Gleaner - - AUTO MOTIVES - Latara Boodie Sun­day Gleaner Writer

MAS­TER EQUESTRIAN and an up-and-com­ing gokart driver Sara Misir, 19, de­fies the odds by not only be­ing the only fe­male driver in a pink and white Volk­swa­gen Saveiro, but by be­ing a mas­ter equestrian and an up-and-com­ing go-kart driver. This con­fi­dent and de­ter­mined young wo­man em­bod­ies the type of gump­tion it takes to go down in his­tory in the male-dom­i­nated field of mo­tor sports. Her need for speed be­gan on just one horse­power, at a very young age. How­ever, as she be­came more ex­posed to com­pet­i­tive rac­ing, she de­cided to up the ante and take on the world of mo­tor­sports. “I started mo­tocross rac­ing with my father at age 10 on a lit­tle au­to­matic ‘50’ and then stepped up to a 450 CRF,” said Misir. After sus­tain­ing a crit­i­cal in­jury to her jaw dur­ing her years of horse­back rid­ing, she de­cided to take a break from her main pas­sion. Misir was then en­cour­aged by her father to pur­sue go-kart­ing. “He pushed me into start­ing go-kart­ing. In the be­gin­ning I was kinda iffy, but when I started do­ing it, I re­ally loved it,” said Misir. After ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the adren­a­line rush that came with the speed from go-kart­ing, Misir was hooked. She ap­pre­ci­ated the chal­lenge that came with kart­ing and how it re­volved around skill. “I think it is one of the most dif­fi­cult forms of rac­ing apart from For­mula 1 be­cause in go-kart­ing, ev­ery­body has the ex­act same thing. The same en­gine, go-kart and weight. It is all skill,

and no­body has an ad­van­tage over any­body,” ex­plained Misir. She was re­cruited in late Novem­ber last year while on the Pal­isa­does race­way and be­gan pro­fes­sional train­ing within the se­nior rank.

“My coach was very im­pressed with how far and fast I’ve come, so I com­peted in the Win­ter Tour, which is one of the big­gest go-kart­ing tour­na­ments within the US,” said Misir.

She was able to qual­ify and place within the top 20, which con­tained 40 rac­ers within ev­ery race. Misir is also one of the only girls to make it in the top 100 within the US.

This week, The Gleaner had a one-on-one with Sara Misir to re­ally get to know the fe­male driver who is cre­at­ing such a buzz.

What do you think your rep­u­ta­tion is? And how ac­cu­rate is that rep­u­ta­tion?

“My rep­u­ta­tion so far is, ‘who is that girl, and why is she so ag­gres­sive?’ Be­cause I am a girl, guys think we can’t be as ag­gres­sive as them, but I am even more ag­gres­sive than most of them on the field,” said Misir.

Tell us about your truck? How long have you had it, and what are the mod­i­fi­ca­tions?

“My lit­tle truck is the VW Saveiro. I never planned on rac­ing it be­cause it was so slow. My dad just asked if I wanted to race at Dover one day, and I said, ‘sure’.”

It was an of­fer she could never turn down be­cause it was some­thing she al­ways wanted to

do. The truck be­longed to her father and was given to her to race in.

“I loved it. It has the pep. It han­dled well on the track and I just love trucks. I have not done much to it apart from take off the cat­alytic con­verter on the muf­fler to go pass 140. I low­ered it, did rally sus­pen­sions on the back and tie straps so the wheels won’t come off the ground while

turn­ing. I also did a cool air in­take on the breaks be­cause Dover eats breaks,” said Misir.

Would you say be­ing the only wo­man in a race puts you at an ad­van­tage or dis­ad­van­tage?

“There is a slight dis­ad­van­tage be­cause the guys don’t ex­pect me to be a chal­lenge. I have to do 10 times more prac­tis­ing to show that I am worth the com­pe­ti­tion.

My last name also puts me at a slight dis­ad­van­tage be­cause my father was huge within rac­ing, and that is some­thing that I have to live up to.

What he put down, I have to repave it. I ad­mire the pres­sure be­cause it gives me some­thing to work to­wards.”

What goes through your mind dur­ing a race?

“Oh, ab­so­lutely noth­ing. All I am think­ing about is the corner, the en­trance, the exit, stop­ping brak­ing and gassing.

When I race I see every­thing in slow mo­tion. I see what is go­ing to hap­pen be­fore it hap­pens.

I can tell what the driver is go­ing to do be­fore he does it just by see­ing what he does within the first lap,” said Misir.

What are some of the chal­lenges you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced in rac­ing?

“My big­gest chal­lenge is go­ing from the top to the bot­tom of the food chain. I did horse­back rid­ing for 15 years and was very good at it. Switch­ing to kart­ing and rac­ing is me start­ing over again and hav­ing to re­learn every­thing. I found my­self in love with win­ning, so when I started kart­ing and kept los­ing, I had to re-eval­u­ate my­self. It’s just been a year; I have a lot more to go.” said Misir.

Where did you see the jour­ney orig­i­nally tak­ing you?

“Orig­i­nally, I saw it as a lit­tle hobby, be­cause I was so fo­cused on horse­back rid­ing and the Olympics. That was my one true pas­sion. I was al­ways frus­trated with kart­ing be­cause I kept los­ing.

It was some­thing to pass time. How­ever, I went back into horse­back rid­ing and broke my shoul­der, so I had to take an­other break. I had to un­der­stand that I am just start­ing and there are peo­ple that have been do­ing it for years be­fore me, so I am go­ing to lose. I just need to fo­cus on learn­ing to get bet­ter. I don’t want to stop my train­ing in kart­ing or at Dover, so I am look­ing to go into schools to get that train­ing,” said Misir.

What are you goals as a race car driver, and what are you do­ing to get closer to those goals?

“You can just imag­ine be­ing the only Ja­maican girl in For­mula 1,” laughed Misir. She has in­di­cated that she has no set goals, how­ever, she is aim­ing to take rac­ing as far as she can go. “I would have an ad­van­tage be­cause of the eth­nic­ity and the gen­der of be­ing a girl, which makes me stand out.”

If you were sup­posed to choose one per­son to drive with in the pas­sen­ger seat dur­ing a race at Dover, who would you choose and why?

“I def­i­nitely wouldn’t choose my father; the last time he drove with me, every­thing I did was wrong, and I al­ready hear enough of that at home. I would choose un­cle David (David Sum­mer­bell Jr.) be­cause when I drive with him, he is a lot calmer and he knows the track so well be­cause that is his home track.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Sara Misir go-kart­ing.

Sara Misir

CON­TRIB­UTED PHO­TOS

Sarah Misir with her pink and white Volk­swa­gen Saveiro

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