posted on May 02, 2018 12:45
Van Aswegen shows strength at windy East London Super-GP
Following a confidence-boosting return to main circuit racing during a recent visit to Zimbabwe with the MONROE Racing RSA team, Nicole van Aswegen impressed during her first Super-GP Champions Trophy outing in nearly two years on Saturday, April 28, 2018. The event saw her back on her Triumph Motorcycles South Africa Daytona 675 around the Border Motorsport - East London Grand Prix Circuit during Round 3 of the national championship.
Prior to her sabbatical from racing due to family reasons, Van Aswegen earned the respect of many motorsport enthusiasts for her performances in the Super 600 class. It was in this very class that she became the first female superbike rider in South Africa to step onto a national podium during May 2015 at the Killarney International Raceway. She has become a successful brand ambassador for Motorsport South Africa's MSA - Women in Motorsport campaign ever since.
Her outing in Bulawayo proved to be a good preparation platform for the high speed circuit in East London. Van Aswegen was confident ahead of Friday’s practice day in. She however suffered from a severe bronchitis infection which compromised her form, but she nevertheless pushed through to end the day by qualifying in twelfth position on the grid. “I was excited to compete at the event and I wouldn’t let a bit of nasty coughing spoil my weekend.” Said Van Aswegen on Friday evening. “I’m hoping a good night’s rest will do me good and we should be on form tomorrow morning.”
Sadly this was not the case. Van Aswegen felt worse on Saturday morning, but what she lacked in strength she visibly made up for in determination. To add to her problems: Saturday morning also greeted the team to a very strong wind at the seaside circuit which necessitated dramatic setup changes on her machine with only one warmup session to test this.
The morning’s first race saw Van Aswegen slotting into ninth position during the opening laps, but she lost the position to William Friend who was on a charge through the field. “I set a goal for myself to achieve a top-ten finish on the day and it felt good to have this one ticked on the first outing.”
The afternoon’s second race was halted after five laps due to an accident with Van Aswegen in eleventh position at the time. At the restart she maintained the position and momentarily slotted back into the top ten, however on the final lap it was Van Aswegen herself who caused the second red flag following an incident. “I pushed a little bit too hard and well, the rest is history. After the race we also determined that the clutch on my bike was slipping.” Although not crossing the finish line, she was classified in twelfth position a lap down.
In addition to her national duties, Van Aswegen was also entered into the local BMSC race on the Monroe Racing Kawasaki ZX 6R where she qualified in eighth position on Friday evening. Due to her before-mentioned bronchitis infection she withdrew from the races to focus her efforts on her national duties.
Van Aswegen was still happy with the day’s result: “Although the end to the second race was a bit disappointing, we had a great weekend in East London. I’d like to thank Motorsport South Africa, Monroe Racing South Africa, Fuchs Lubricants South Africa, Adrenalin Powersport, Amalgum Welding Shop, Signarama Edenvale and Gem Auto for their support during this weekend.”
Van Aswegen can look forward to a two-week break prior to returning to action with two consecutive events during Round 3 of the Zimbabwe Superbike Championship at Sables Dragpro Zimbabwe in Harare on May 20 followed by Round 4 of the Super-GP Champions Trophy at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit the weekend after.
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