FORMER Zimbabwe motocross champion Jayden Ashwell was conspicuous by his absence at the season-ending motocross event Summer Series in December.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
The gangly champion rider who now races in South Africa, broke his leg back in October after he crashed during the South Africa Nationals and went on to miss the final two rounds of the season.
As the South Africa motocross season fast approaches, Ashwell is racing against time to be fit before the season opener in February.
He was part of the crowd that turned up for the Summer Series festivities at Donnybrook track as he limped around in support of the fellow local riders.
“It’s never nice to watch from the sidelines because as a rider, you always want to be in the thick of action competing. You wouldn’t want to miss a big event such as the Summer Series,” Ashwell said in an interview with Standardsport.
“I started the year 2015 with some ups and downs and then had a couple of top three finishes in the South Africa Nationals but unfortunately, I missed a couple of races at the end following a nasty accident in October in which I broke my leg,” he added.
Despite missing the last two rounds of the SA national series, Ashwell closed the season at a respectable sixth place in the MX1 class, amassing 171 points during the course of the season, while Kerim Fitz-Gerald was the overall winner with 278 points.
Ashwell’s exploits managed to earn him a place in the Yamaha Team for 2016 Monster Energy SA national championship season, along with fellow young Zimbabwean rider Reagan Wasmuth.
“The good thing about the year 2015 is that I managed to secure Yamaha sponsorship for the 2016 season, which is a huge boost and I am already looking forward to the coming season. My main goal going in 2016 is to get better and hopefully I will be ready for action in time for the first national event in February,” the 18-year-old rider said.
Ashwell has been racing in motocross since 2002 and won titles in virtually every class he has competed in until he was crowned the Zimbabwe MX1 champion in 2012.
He has won titles in South Africa in the MX1 and MX2 classes, as well as on the African continent after he scooped the FIM Motocross Championship in the MX2 back in 2012. In 2013 he went to the US to train and won a few regional races in Northern California before injury ended his hopes of making it to the lucrative Lorreta Lynn qualifiers.
One of the best motocross riders to emerge from Zimbabwe’s Donnybrook motocross track, Ashwell says he has hopes of returning to the US to compete at some of the best events in that country.