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Motorsport Moms

By Rory Daley
Observer writer
daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, May 10, 2019

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THERE'S no shortage of Motorsport moms; they are seen at every two- and four-wheel action across the island.

Lisa Bowman-Lee is one of them. She feels she passed down her racing genes to her son, 27-year-old circuit racer Matthew Lee.

“Motorsport was an inborn instinct for him, because he was a part of my whole world while racing,” Bowman-Lee told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

Bowman-Lee said she competed in go-kart racing, up until she was four months pregnant.

“So he got involved when he was extremely young and with everything he did from a child, I saw that he had the ability to come into the world of racing and I just nurtured that,” she said.

Bowman-Lee has her own story as one of the few successful female racers on the island. Her interest in motorsport, sparked by her father and continued by her race mechanic husband Paul, allowed her to carve a name for herself across circuit racing, dexterities, rallying and karting.

“I went into so many avenues of motorsport. I did circuit racing, rallies, dexterities and sprints. But for me, I think I gained most of my accolades through circuit racing, and Dover has been like a home to me and another home for my kids because I was always racing. Mother's Day, birthdays — everything was celebrated at a race track,” she said.

Then in 2008, she retired, wanting to focus more on her family.

“I retired because I wanted to prioritise. I realised that my children needed to not be dragged around to race meets and tracks all their lives. There was more to it. I needed to take them to the beach, take them camping, so I kind of dedicated the time after I stopped racing to that,” said Bowman-Lee.

As Matthew grew, so did his interest in motorsport.

He began his rookie year in circuit racing last year. While many mothers are on the sidelines offering emotional support, Matthew gets a lot extra in the form of racing tips.

“It's a great feeling. You trust it more coming from your mother. She knows best for you. For all my life she's guided me,” he said.

He relayed an incident where she instructed him to brake later at a specific corner than his rivals, despite him not believing he could do so.

“After three laps, I had it.”

Bowman-Lee is confident in her son's ability.

“He's very calm. He does everything with a lot of deep thought, very calculated, and I've been told that he has the ability to be just as smooth as Mommy, but he's creating his own style,” she said.

Matthew was equally complimentary of his mom.

“You see so much passion in my family. We're very passionate about everything we do, and especially motorsport. I have many idols, but definitely my mom and my dad are mine in motor racing,” he said.

For Danah Chisholm, mother of karters Shane and Ryan, it was more traditional as it was her father and brother who were in motorsports.

“There's nothing like being a part of your kids' dreams and making them your own while watching them grow. I make sure I'm a part of whatever my kids are involved in. It keeps us close as a family,” said Chisholm.

For her, the balance between regular life and sport isn't a problem because due to her family involvement. She views the karting community as a family as well, and is aware that the very competitive nature of the sport can get rather physical at times.

“Getting through a day with no incidents is always a relief, whether it involves my kids or others,” she said.


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