Wed | Sep 18, 2019

Female ‘speedsters’ looking to make their mark

Published:Sunday | September 1, 2019 | 12:13 AMVanessa James - Automotives Writer
Chatel Ducasse’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7
Chatel Ducasse insider her Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7
Israelie Griffiths with her racing Honda Civic EG 4
Israelie Griffiths with her racing Honda Civic EG 4
Israelie Griffiths’ racing Honda Civic EG 4
Israelie Griffiths’ racing Honda Civic EG 4
Jodianne Murdock with her racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
Jodianne Murdock with her racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
Jodianne Murdock with her racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
Jodianne Murdock’s racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
Jodianne Murdock’s racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
Chatel Ducasse with her Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7
Israelie Griffiths and her Honda Civic EG 4
Jodianne Murdock with her Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
Jodianne Murdock's racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
Israelie Griffiths driving her racing Honda Civic EG4
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Traditionally, in car racing, females are found in the stands and behind the link fences cheering on the men as they make their way to the finish line. However, there has been a break in tradition as females are slowly entering the race and making a name for themselves within the fast-paced sport.

Automotives caught up with three females on the north coast who have taken to the track in seeking to make a name for themselves.

Chatel Ducasse has been competing in drag racing behind the wheel of her Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 since 2016.

“My one and only brother, Andre Ducasse, also known as ‘Kill Bill’, inspired me to start racing. He taught me how to drive standard in one night, and in a week’s time, I was on the track. My first run was at Vernamfield in 2016, and I did 15 seconds,” she said.

Ducasse also said that her dream car was a Subaru WRX until she got to test-drive an Evolution 5. She was hooked.

Jodianne ‘Jodez’ Murdock, on the other hand, grew up loving the motorsport scene before transitioning into participating herself.

“I used to go to Dover a lot, and then luckily, I married a man who loves racing probably way more than I do. He loved circuit racing but is more into drag now, which I prefer; it’s short, spicy, and sweet, while circuit just takes you around in circles,” Murdock said laughing.

She further explained that she especially loves racing, because it is not a female-dominated sport, so whenever a female sits behind the steering wheel, the reaction is usually one of shock and awe.

Murdock went on to say that her dream car was once the Honda EG and that at age 16, she planned that it would be her first car. Things did not go as planned, however, as when 876 Streets was established, she started to see the variety of race cars that existed. She liked the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, but currently drives an Evolution X.

“I love the handling, the sound, the blow-off – it’s huge! It has this monster low look, and once you see the car coming, you definitely expect to hear and see power. It basically fulfils everything for me while driving. That adrenaline rush plays with the emotion, so I think it’s the perfect car for me,” she said excitedly.

Jodez hopes to be at the next Vernamfield meet in October, where she hopes to shave her 13.5-second time down into the 12-second bracket.

As for Israelie ‘Eissi’ Griffiths, she had a need for speed, and because she could not satisfy that need on the road, she thought the race track would be the perfect fit.

“I joined 876 Streets before I started racing because of the passion for cars and the show aspect of it – and also the racing. And from there, I started attending more car-related events – car shows and racing meets – then decided, why not try my hand in it?”

As a participant in both drag and circuit racing, she loves the feel and the thrill that come from them and has been doing well even though she is still considered a baby in the sport since she has only been participating for a year.

“My first actual event was in December 2018, called King of Shores. That’s a drag racing event, and I did just about 15 seconds with this same car. But with a smaller engine and with circuit racing, I did one minute and 50 seconds, but that is too slow because I am in the 1:45 bracket,” she explained.

The fearless driver said that she hopes to take her Honda Civic EG 4, with a D-Series motor, to Heroes of Speed, a circuit racing event in October, and get her time lower.

“It feels great to be a woman on the track. Usually, the females in the sport don’t do what I do; they normally have experience on the track, whether through Karting as a youngster, so they have graduated over the years to car racing,” Griffiths said. “But I feel great to be able to represent at these various events, and I get a lot of encouragement from fellow females and the men just the same.”

The ladies noted, however, that while racing is fun, it can also be costly.

For a more modern car, the prices are not as high as when the car is modified. Upkeep can run a pretty penny for a modified car, and factoring in racing suits, which have to meet specified standards, and other expenses, drivers can end up spending thousands of dollars.

All this is overshadowed, however, by the thrill of racing and the pride of winning.

vanessa.james@gleanerjm.com