HARARE – Zimbabwe's motorsport starlet Axcil Jefferies is considering racing under a foreign flag over frustration that he may never be recognised as one of the country’s flag bearers on the world stage.
This follows a 17-year career of starring on racecourses around the globe which has, however, not resonated with Zimbabwe Motor Sports Federation (ZMSF), who until last month had not nominated him for Zimbabwe colours.
The final nail in that frustration was hammered last month when ZMSF forwarded to the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), their list of motorsport stars who they believed deserved to be among the country’s celebrated athletes of 2017.
Jefferies was not among the nominees announced on Monday by the SRC for the 2017 Annual National Sports Awards (Ansa).
More frustrating for the 22-year-old, who has battled with little financial support from Zimbabwe, was that he was overlooked after a hard-fought 2016-17 season.
Jefferies held his own in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Middle East Championship and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo European Championship. In the former, he managed five wins and four poles.
In the Lamborghini Super Trofeo European Championship, he amassed two wins and seven podium finishes.
He also enjoyed a fourth place finish in the Paul Ricard 24 Hour GT3 Race and ninth in the Portimao 24 Hour GT3 Race.
“For the record Axcil and I will now contemplate giving up racing under the ZMSF and he will take up a foreign race licence,” Axcil’s father and manager Suhail Jefferies told the Daily News yesterday.
“We are very disappointed and a press release will be issued in due course.”
Suhail was far from impressed with the ZMSF’s handling of Axcil.
“I challenge journalists to get a list from ZMSF of who has been awarded Zim colours over the years and I can assure you that it is very interesting indeed to say the least,” he said.
He also added that the local motorsport industry, whether people want to believe it or not, is still divided along racial lines.
“Ask why the Peters brothers Ethan and Gerard were never issued colours in the early 2000s after winning national and regional championships,” Suhail said.
“The Mitchell brothers in motocross and Mawarire brothers in motocross… (Why) Biggie Chitima had physical fights at Donnybrook with white guys in motorsport after racial abuse.”
Apart from competing in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Championship, Axcil is currently the Senior Race Driver Instructor at Yas Marina Circuit and has previously won the Formula Bmw F2 and Lamborghini/gt3 24hour race
He raced Indy Lights in the States in 2013 with six top ten finishes including two 4ths in his rookie season despite not completing all the races due to lack of sponsorship.
However, ZMSF spokesperson Temba Mazvimbakupa defended the associations’ stance on Axcil saying they remained fair and transparent.
“With all due respect; the league that our good lad is racing is not very well known. When he raced Formula 3 he raised the bar rather high for himself,” Mazvimbakupa said.
“Our general expectations were focused on him graduating into Formula 1. Sadly that didn't happen due to sponsorship challenges.
“Be that as it may, to bring in race issues into all this is way out of line. ZMSF has nominated a lot of motorsport personalities over the years and will certainly continue to do so in future.”