August 3, 2003 (Trois Rivieres, Canada): Ashley Taws finished ninth today in the second of two races at the Grand Prix de Trois Rivieres. Yesterday, she took her "Be Anything With Barbie" race car to a third-place finish, becoming the first female...
August 3, 2003 (Trois Rivieres, Canada): Ashley Taws finished ninth today in the second of two races at the Grand Prix de Trois Rivieres. Yesterday, she took her "Be Anything With Barbie" race car to a third-place finish, becoming the first female Formula Ford driver in the 37-year history of the Trois Riveres event to clinch a podium finish.
From tenth on the grid, Taws made an excellent start in this morning's race and was quickly up to seventh place. On the first lap, however, she was demoted to eighth by Francois Bellemare with whom she battled during much of yesterday's race. Taws hounded Bellemare for several laps and although she pulled alongside on occasion, she was not able to regain the place.
A full-course caution tightened up the field on lap thirteen of the 25-lap race and what had been a sizeable gap behind Taws was gone. When the race restarted a few laps later, Steve Pickering got the jump and dropped her to ninth.
While Taws worked on Pickering, a double-car spin occurred right in front of her at turn one. She avoided the melee, but three cars darted past as she navigated her way around the obstruction.
In the closing laps, she ran in ninth chasing AIM Autosport team mate Dan Burchill, but fatigued and sore, she was unable to gain a place.
"I had a good start, but by the fourth lap I was already starting to feel tired," said Taws who is still not back to full strength after surviving a severe road accident in December.
Before coming to Trois Rivieres, she spent two days lapping at Mont-Tremblant. That, in combination with a double-race weekend and an endless stream of autograph seekers took a lot out of the diminutive young driver.
"The Barbie car was great again today, thanks to AIM Autosport," she said, "But I was just worn out and couldn't get the job done today.
"I had a fantastic time here in Trois Rivieres. The fans are really knowledgeable and supportive of all the drivers. It's been great!"
Taws will be racing her "Be Anything With Barbie" car again in two weeks when the Canadian Formula Ford Championship comes to Mosport, August 15-16.