Collin Matiza Sports Editor
ACE Zimbabwean junior motocross rider Emmanuel Bako secured another podium place in the 2018 South African National Championship series when he came second overall in the 65cc Class during round two of the tough seven-round competition at Pietermaritzburg on Saturday.
Competing in a strong field of 18 riders, Bako did well to finish second behind South Africa’s Lucca Mynhardt as he finished the day at the top of the 65cc Class Standings with five more rounds to go in this series which finishes in October.
Bako, who came first overall in the first round of the South African Nationals at Rover in Port Elizabeth on February 17, got off to a bright start on Saturday when he came first in Heat One ahead of Mynhardt but his Husqvarna bike developed some clutch problems in Heat Two which forced him to settle for fourth position in this heat, hampering his chances of grabbing another place at the top of the podium for the second time on the trot.
The talented young Zimbabwean rider finally settled for second overall behind Mynhardt at the end of business on Saturday but he was not disappointed by this result.
“I had a good race in Heat One in which everything went on smoothly for me but my bike later on developed a clutch problem and I had to borrow another bike from my colleague Jordan van Wyk. Unfortunately I finished fourth in Heat Two and second overall at the end of the day which I think is not a bad result for me.
“We still have five more rounds to go in the South African Nationals and it’s still game on,” Bako said after Saturday’s race meeting at Maritzburg Motocross Club track in Pietermaritzburg.
The 12-year-old Grade Six pupil at Heritage School in Harare now races for one of South Africa’s top motocross teams – Team Vision Racing Team – which is owned Grant Florey, a revered trainer in that country.
Bako was not the only Zimbabwean rider who was in action during round two of the South African Nationals on Saturday in Pietermaritzburg.
The country’s champion rider Jayden Ashwell competed in the main MX1 Class and found the going tough in this division in which he finished seventh overall in a strong field of 18 competitors.
The first three places in the MX1 Class went to Matthew Malan, Caleb Tennant and David Goosen, all from South Africa.
Ashwell’s fellow countryboy Daiyaan “D” Manuel also had a bad day at the office on Saturday, finishing ninth overall in the 85cc ProMini Class which also had 18 riders.
South Africa’s Camden McLellan emerged as the top dog in the 85cc ProMini Class in which he beat his compatriots Jonathan Mlimi and Blake Young into second and third place.
Three other Zimbabwean riders Regan Wasmuth, Davin Cocker and Tristan Grainger were also part of the proceedings in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday where they competed in the 125cc High School Class and were forced to finish in fourth, fifth and 14th place respectively. There were 15 riders in this division and the first three places went to Justin Sangster, Camden and Dalton Venter, all from South Africa.
There was also no joy for another top Zimbabwean rider Ashley Thixton in the MX2 Class in which he finished 13th overall in a strong field of 25 riders.
Thixton’s fellow countryman Joshua Goby finished a disappointing 21st position in the same class on Saturday.
South Africans Matthew, David Goosen and Kerim Fitz-gerald took the first three places in the MX2 Class.
But Zimbabwe’s rookie rider Emile Croisette did well to finish fifth overall in the juniors 50cc Class which was won by South
Africa’s Andrea Mynhardt ahead of Jack Pullen and Nicol Smit. There were 21 young riders in this class.
Croisette, who was mounting a Husqvarna bike, is competing in the South African Nationals for the first time in his promising career.
The third round of the 2018 South African National Motocross Championship series is scheduled for May 19 at BORC in Bloemfontein.