Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Four women in Bracket Class

Published:Sunday | June 5, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Samantha Summerbell in a race car.
Tara Fong Yee leads Chad LeoHong in a 2012 race at the Palisadoes Raceway, Kingston.

TODAY, FOR the first time in over a decade, four female drivers will line up in the same event at the Palisadoes International Raceway, Kingston. The ladies, who are no rookies and are hungry for action, are eager to take the chequered flag.

Sabrina Sirgany, Samantha Summerbell, Tara Fong Yee and Sara Misir are all from families that were, or still are, deeply involved in various aspects of motor racing. The drivers are following in the tracks of ladies such as Camille Chen, Sue-Ann Panton, Laura Ewart and Lisa-Bowman Lee, who all made their presence felt at the Palisadoes International Raceway during the 1990s.

Summerbell's grandfather, David Summerbell Sr, was once a tough competitor at Dover, as is her father, David Summerbell Jr, currently. She has been off the circuit for some time, but has high hopes for her return.

"I have not raced a go-kart competitively for the past five years. But I recently got a new one and when the starter sets off the race today, I am hoping to be among the leaders, having a good time," said Summerbell. She is currently in Jamaica on holidays from school in Montreal, Canada, where she is pursuing accounting.




The 20-year-old, who time and again paraded her skills at Dover, said she got hooked on motorsport at eight years old. Despite participating in most of the female-dominated sports, her first love remains motor racing.

"I guess this is so because it is in the blood," said Summerbell.

The budding accountant and Tara Fong Yee appear to be the more experienced and aggressive of the quartet. Fong Yee, who assists with the running of her family business, has recently returned to the track after a long absence. Her brother was once one of the top karters at the Palisadoes Raceway.

Eighteen-year-old Sara Misir has raced dirt bikes, like her father Rugie and Italian-born mother Alexandro. The teenager has also been involved in equestrian and showjumping competitions, swimming, and tried out for the Barbican

women's team as a midfielder. Of all those sports, none is as dear to her as motorsport.

"The preparation for this race meet has been rough, but I have been getting better and better during practice," the Hillel Academy student said.

Sabrina Sirgany, a kindergarten schoolteacher, has decided to come out of retirement.

"I have not raced consistently for the past three years. Today, I am coming out to have fun," said Sirgany, who, like the other ladies, will be up against the men in the Bracket Race.