Photo caption: Colin and Jenice Lehman, credit: Gareth Davidson, Superbike South Africa
When Colin Lehmann first visited the Island for 2010 as part of the pit crew for fellow South African Hudson Kennaugh at that year’s TT, he knew that one day he’d fulfil his dream of racing round the iconic course – even if it meant travelling thousands of miles to do so.
Three years later, with his racer wife Jenice in his own pit crew, he competed in the MGP Newcomers A race. Although he managed 725km in practice week and 3 laps of the actual race, the motor of his Yahama R6 gave in at Kirk Michael with just one lap to go, but the MGP bug had bitten, and in 2015 both Colin and Jenice are back in the Isle of Man –and both are taking part.
“It was fun being over as part of Colin’s crew,”
says Jenice, “but as we drove round and round the course to familiarise him with every bump and corner, I was itching to get out there on my bike – and this year, with the support of the Top Gun and David Simon’s teams, we’re back and both competing!”
Colin continues the story: “Jenice and I both compete in South Africa – that’s how we met – and she’s supported my dream of racing in the Isle of Man from day one. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish in 2013, but that’s just made me more determined this year! Having Jenice there then – and talking her through the bends and straights, not to mention the kerbs, walls and houses – has inspired us both”.
Any road racer knows that competing is expensive – and even more so when you are travelling over 8,000 miles before you can even start. In 2013, Colin bought his own bike when he arrived from South Africa, and, in the true spirit of the MGP, was only able to compete thanks to the help of new friends and supporters. Two years later, Colin and Jenice have both secured rides and assistance from well-known teams Top Gun and David Simons, which has enabled them to make more concrete plans: Colin will be competing in the Junior and Senior races on a 2012 Honda CBR600RR, and Jenice in the Newcomers B and Lightweight races on a Honda RVF Nc35.
Jenice is one of only four women competing in the 2015 IMGold MGP – and the inspiration of Carolynn Sells, the only woman to win a solo race in the Isle of Man, is always there.
“I can’t quite believe that I’m going to be competing in the very race which Carolynn won in 2009,”
says Jenice. “She once said that anybody can do anything they want to do, and that being female isn’t an obstacle, and although I didn’t take up bikes until I was 21, I hope Carolynn would be impressed by my drive and enthusiasm. I rode superbikes and drag raced, but it wasn’t until 2010 – aged 28 – I started racing full on. Five years later, here I am!”
And Jenice isn’t coming to the IMGold MGP just to keep Colin company: she’s known to be one of the fastest female riders in South Africa, and very much up there with the men. “I know I’m a newcomer to the Isle of Man, and to the IMGold MGP,”
she says, “but wouldn’t it be great if one day it was my name alongside Carolynn’s inspiring other women to get out there and take part?”
Given Jenice’s ambition, it’s probably a good job that she won’t be competing directly against husband Colin – but together they make a formidable team.