JENNY Tinmouth has revealed how the credit crunch has hindered her season and is affecting her preparations for the 2009 campaign.
Britain’s top female racer, from Whitby, Ellesmere Port, has always lived a hand-to-mouth existence in motorcycle racing, constantly working to increase her number of sponsors to pay for tyres and parts.
This season she had more backers than ever as she stepped up from the 125cc class to the much more expensive 600cc Fuchs-Silkolene Supersport Cup.
On Saturday, she finished sixth in the cup at Silverstone in a relatively uneventful race. But despite being competitive from day one on the more powerful bike, Jenny has seen the second half of her season impacted by the worldwide banking crisis.
“It is difficult at the moment,” said the 30-year-old mechanic. “I have never had a surplus budget really, I exist hand-to-mouth, which is not the best way to run a team.
“Everything started out fine this season but as the credit crunch has got worse, it has had an effect.
“One of my sponsors is a builder and that industry is having a hard time at the moment and I had two other sponsors, one of which paid me half of the agreed money but has not been able to free up the second half, and one which has yet to pay anything.
“I understand because they are uncertain about the future of their businesses, but it has made racing a bit more challenging.
“I can’t spend money I don’t have but I do have to hold back some money when I do get it in case there is a problem.”
Approaching the halfway point of the season, Jenny was on the offensive in the cup, threatening to break into top three and make a real name for herself among the big boys of the 600cc class.
But as the money has slowed to a trickle, so Jenny’s race pace has suffered.
“I have been re-using tyres a lot more in the second half of the season,” she said.
“Last weekend at Silverstone I bought one new front tyre for qualifying while most of the rest of my competitors had at least two new tyres to use and more new ones for the race.
“It does mean you are slower and you have to work harder to keep pace, but I completed the race and scored some points.”
Jenny is now already trying to woo sponsors for next season but is again finding life difficult as businesses remain unsure what conditions will be like in the near future.
“I have a couple of potential sponsors coming to the final race of the season at Brands Hatch,” she said. “For sponsors who are not into racing, a visit to the track usually opens their eyes to the popularity and exposure you get from investment.
“I do intend to race next year but it just means putting in the work during the winter months to seal some deals.”