Top Zimbabwe motocross athlete, Jayden Ashwell has shifted his focus to winning his maiden motocross MX 1 Summer Series title at the 2014 edition of the high-octane motorcycling extravaganza pencilled for December.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
The local motocross champion did not have a good year by his standards owing to the injury he suffered while competing in the United States last year and another one early this year.
This impacted on his performance in the concluding season.
At the Monster Energy Supercross Africa challenge in South Africa earlier in the month, he finished at an unsatisfactory overall 16th but he will be pleased with a semi-final performance in which he came second to the renowned American motorcyclist Jake Weimer.
Standardsport caught up with the ambitious 18-year-old who shared his desire to put things right at the country’s biggest motocross occasion.
“It has not been such a good year for me this season especially at the beginning, coming from two successive injuries but I am picking up. I am working very hard, training hard to make sure I am ready for the Summer Series,” Ashwell said.
“I want nothing short of a victory at the Summers Series because I have won it in every other class except the MX1 class. I have been unlucky in the last couple of years finishing second and third but I know I have the speed, I have the skill and hopefully this year it’s mine,” he added.
A premier motocross season-ending event, the Summer Series always brings a stellar line up of international stars such as South Africa’s Kerim Fitzgerald, Michael Docherty, Wyatt Avis, who all attended last year.
This year the Summer Series will be held over three days — December 10, 12 and 14 — at Donnybrook Motorsport Park.
Ashwell is arguably one of the best motocross prospects to emerge from this country and barring career-threatening injuries, the future augurs well for the young athlete.
In 2012, Ashwell was in dazzling form as he was crowned Zimbabwe’s MX1 motocross champion, also scooping the top gongs in the MX1 and MX2 classes in South Africa.
Last year, Ashwell trekked to US for some invaluable international exposure and raced in a few regional races in Northern California until injury cut short his motocross romance abroad.
“The US was awesome but unfortunately I had to come home early due to an arm injury and cracked pelvis following a crash. I had a few top five finishes and qualified for the Mammoth nationals.
“I raced in the California Classic where I finished sixth in the 450 Pro-Class and seventh in the Open Pro Class. I really enjoyed racing over there as there was a lot of competition and the tracks were amazing,” reflected the lanky motocross sensation.
After the US adventure the local motocross racer has reason to want to pursue the sport in more competitive and more challenging foreign arenas.
“I am not sure what the future holds but I definitely want to race somewhere, I want to race overseas and earn a good living out of the sport because motocross in this country is not such a huge sport compared to countries abroad where sponsors pour in a lot of money,” he said.
Supreme Butchery, Fuchs Silko-lene and Leopack Transport are the sponsors that have helped Ashwell realise his dream thus far.
However, he would gladly welcome more support.
His career began in 2002 when his parents brought home a PeeWee motorbike and took him to the tracks and he has never looked back ever since as he has won countless trophies and every accolade possible to date.
Younger brother, Wade, now in the 125CC class, is also tracing his senior’s footsteps as he has been winning everything in front of him ever since he started motocross racing.