Collin Matiza Sports Editor
THE country’s premier motocross event – the Zimbabwe Summer Series – has revived its romance with top riders from the United Kingdom with news that Bailey Johnston, the 85cc (small wheel) British Champion, will grace this year’s competition slated for next week at the iconic Donnybrook Park in Harare.
The Zimbabwe Summer Series is a three-day annual motorcycling event which is held during the second week of December and it marks the end of the motocross season in this country.
Apart from local riders, it usually attract top junior and senior male and female bikers from Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia.
And the Bogwheelers Club, who run this exciting motorcycling sport of motocross in this country, have revealed that this year’s Zimbabwe Summer Series, which will be held on December 12, 14 and 16 at Donnybrook, will be graced by one of Britain’s “hottest properties” in junior motocross – Bailey Johnston.
“Exciting news for our Junior riders, we are happy to announce that the 85cc British Champion, Bailey Johnston, will be taking part in this year’s Summer Series,” the Bogwheelers Club posted on their Facebook wall yesterday through their secretary Yasmin Manuel.
And Johnston (13) told The Herald from his base in the UK that he just can’t wait to get on the track at Donnybrook where he will be making his debut appearance in the Zimbabwe Summer Series next week.
“I’m so excited to be coming over to Zimbabwe, it’s a dream come true. And it is my first time to ride outside of Europe. I’m really thankful for everyone that has helped me to get over there.
“I’ll be using a bike from Zimbabwe and just using my own suspension,” Johnston said. Judd Orange Brigade’s Johnston has won numerous junior motocross awards in the UK, including the 2018 British Rider of the Year award in the 85cc (small wheel) category. This came after he swept to victory in a number of national events this year. He also won the 2018 Judd KTM British Youth National Powered By Parts Europe Small Wheel 85cc title. Johnston at one stage led the British Championship with 516 points and a 17-point advantage over the 2017 65cc British Champion Wal Beaney.
Johnston was chosen this year to race against some of Britain’s best riders for the newly-formed Judd Orange Brigade team. The team was formed for 2018 as an initiative for KTM and Judd to help develop young talent in the UK and the British Youth National series.
And next week, Johnston will be flying to this part of the world to take part in the 2018 Zimbabwe Summer Series at Donnybrook where he will pit his riding skills in the 85cc Class against some of the country’s talented riders who include the irresistible Daiyaan Manuel, Emmanuel Bako, Jamie Doran, Dillan Faasen, Mika Detering, Cameron Mellor and Tristan Versfeld.
But Johnston is likely to have his hands full when he takes to track against Daiyaan Manuel (13) who monopolised the 85cc Class this season in which he was virtually untouchable in both Club and National events at Donnybrook.
There’s also Bako (13), who on his day, can be a pain in the neck for any rider that he comes up against on his favourite hunting ground – Donnybrook.
It will be interesting to see how Daiyaan Manuel and Bako will handle the pressure in the 85cc Class where fellow young small-wheel rider Johnston will be nipping at their wheels during next week’s Zimbabwe Summer Series.
So, this year’s Zimbabwe Summer Series promises to have a full programme of top-notch motocross racing at its very best. Full gates, a great turn out of spectators and cracking racing will be the order of the day during the three-day event. A great atmosphere is guaranteed.
This year’s Zimbabwe Summer Series will once again consist of two Supercross (night racing) events on December 12 and 14; and one full day of motocross action on the final day of competition on December 16.