Rich breathes fire over How­den de­par­ture

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Collin Ma­tiza Sports Ed­i­tor

SEA­SONED South African Su­per­bike trainer Vic Rich was on Wed­nes­day breath­ing fire af­ter promis­ing Zim­bab­wean fe­male rider Jes­sica How­den left his Mon­roe Rac­ing Team to join ri­vals Otto Rac­ing Team for the 2019 sea­son.

How­den’s fa­ther, Ian, on Wed­nes­day said Otto Rac­ing Team of­fered his daugh­ter a good deal which was too good to turn down and she had no choice but to ditch Rich’s Mon­roe Rac­ing Team.

The of­fer came af­ter Jes­sica How­den had just spent five months rac­ing un­der Mon­roe Rac­ing Team af­ter she was in­tro­duced to the tough world of Su­per­bike rid­ing by her fa­ther at the age of 15 in early July this year.

Jes­sica How­den’s new team­mate Zante Otto rode for the Mon­roe Rac­ing Team this year be­fore she also de­cided to cross the floor and join the Otto Rac­ing Team.

But it is Jes­sica How­den’s de­ci­sion to ditch Mon­roe Rac­ing Team for Otto Rac­ing Team that left Rich seething with anger as he ex­pressed his dis­ap­point­ment over this lat­est de­vel­op­ment.

A vis­i­bly dis­ap­pointed and an­gry Rich said: “Yes they (Jes­sica How­den and Zante Otto) have been poached by a team here (in South Africa).

“We are the big­gest team in Africa. Otto is a fam­ily thing. They were caught cheat­ing last year and had their points taken away, so they don’t have a good name. They ob­vi­ously went to Ian How­den (Jes­sica’s fa­ther) and of­fered the world for lots of money. Jes­sica won’t go any­where with them. We have our own four ladies and two men con­tracted to us. It’s their de­ci­sion so we don’t ac­tu­ally care be­cause we are the best and peo­ple all over Africa want to be part of Mon­roe. So in a nut­shell it’s no loss . . . We move for­ward with bet­ter (riders).”

How­ever, when con­tacted by The Her­ald, Jes­sica How­den’s fa­ther, Ian, said Otto Rac­ing Team of­fered his daugh­ter a good deal which was too good to turn down.

“Yes, Jes­sica has been made an of­fer from the Otto Rac­ing Team and we are pleased to say that she has ac­cepted (it) and will be part of the team from Jan­uary 2019.

She will part­ner Zante and Ri­cardo Otto who are re­gional cham­pi­ons in the 600 and 300 series in South Africa.

“She will ride in South Africa in both these cat­e­gories and con­tinue with the 250cc Zim­bab­wean Cham­pi­onship,” Ian How­den said.

Rich took Jes­sica How­den un­der his wing at Mon­roe Rac­ing Team soon af­ter she was in­tro­duced to Su­per­bike rid­ing by her fa­ther, Ian, at the age of 15 in early July this year.

Jes­sica How­den then fea­tured in a num­ber of main cir­cuit rac­ing events here in Zim­babwe and in South Africa where she did ex­tremely well while rid­ing against some sea­soned Su­per­bike riders in both coun­tries.

Only last month, Jes­sica How­den com­peted in the big­gest event in South Africa this year - the Mi­das PE200 & Klini­care PE100 En­durance Race Cham­pi­onships at the Aldo Scrib­ante Cir­cuit in Port El­iz­a­beth — where she made her pres­ence felt by manag­ing to last the dis­tance in the two races that she com­peted in.

In Port El­iz­a­beth, Jes­sica How­den first en­tered the PSP Class which at­tracted the most en­tries with a full field of 37 riders.

Rid­ing one of three 300cc ma­chines with other big­ger ma­chines, Jes­sica How­den qual­i­fied in a cred­i­ble 14th place.

Both heats saw enor­mous bat­tles with Jes­sica How­den fin­ish­ing 15th over­all.

The main race of the day was the PE100, a 20-lap sprint and Jes­sica How­den had a bad start, but she man­aged to carve her way to 10th po­si­tion.

Last Satur­day, Jes­sica How­den was back home in Zim­babwe com­pet­ing in the big­gest main cir­cuit rac­ing event of the year - the Toy­ota Zim­babwe/hp lubes Cas­trol 3-hour En­durance Race meet­ing at Bu­l­awayo Mo­tor­sport Park in Bu­l­awayo - and she was one of the 11 riders who took part in the 1-hour en­durance com­pe­ti­tion in which she rode against men.

COURT­ING CON­TRO­VERSY . . . Young Zim­bab­wean fe­male Su­per­bike rider Jes­sica How­den’s move to Otto Rac­ing Team has an­gered her for­mer South African team, Mon­roe Rac­ing Team

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.