WorldWCR STORIES: "I hope this opportunity will show South Africa who I am" – Jessica Howden

Thursday, 27 June 2024 07:36 GMT

Coming from a motorsport family and being inspired by one of her WorldWCR rivals, Team Trasimeno’s Jessica Howden explains her story to World Championship competition

The 2024 FIM Women’s Circuit Racing World Championship has officially kicked off with the first of six rounds completed after two races at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” in Italy. Ahead of track action beginning, we caught up with one of the headlining names in 2024 in Jessica Howden (Team Trasimeno), who after race wins in the the CIV300 series and podiums in the ESBK paddock, her move to World Championship competition is one that comes with excitement. The interview took place before the track action it was thus recorded before the 21-year-old’s Race 1 crash which took her out of Race 2 as well; you can follow Howden’s story and see her season get properly underway at Round 2 at Donington Park, LIVE and FREE on YouTube!

EARLY BEGINNINGS: from her father’s passion for motorsport to rider in first-ever WorldWCR season

Starting out when in Zimbabwe, Howden’s ambitions to race in motorcycle racing were inspired by something she saw when racing, whereas she described her dad’s first thoughts: “I grew up in Zimbabwe and my dad used to race cars, so I’d go to the track all the time. I saw a woman on a bike there who won the race and I said to my dad ‘I really want to start’ and since then, I’ve loved bikes. My dad was obviously sceptical about it but of course, he wanted to help because he loves motorsport. We used to watch MotoGP™ and WorldSBK so I’ve always been into it.”

“The first person I told was my dad, we were very, very happy that we got to do it and especially in the first year of the Championship. I think the first thought was pure happiness but then, I was thinking it was a lot of pressure, also from South Africa. I hope this opportunity will show South Africa who I am.

INSPIRATION AND RIVALS: admiration for fellow South African trailblazer Nicole van Aswegen

Speaking about when she was younger, she had her sights on replicating Nicole van Aswegen (Andalaft Racing) and now, they’re together on the grid: “When I was young, I looked up to Nicole van Aswegen and I always wanted to be like her. I feel like she’s a sister to me here; she helps me stay calm and other things outside of the track, so I think it’sa useful to have her around. I speak with her when I am going through the tough times, so it helps me a lot.”

AIMS AND TARGETS: “I’d be happiest with a podium”

Talking about the difference between a Superbike and the Yamaha R7, Howden explained before moving on to her goals and objectives for WorldWCR in 2024: “Coming from Superbike, you have to learn the corner speed again but for the first year, I think it’s perfect for the women because we’re all coming from 300s. I’d really a like to get a top six but weekend by weekend, I’d be happiest with a podium.”

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