By Collin Matiza Sports Editor
Top female motocross rider Tanya Muzinda has pulled out of Team Zimbabwe for the 2018 FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships to be held at Mindola Motocross Park in Kitwe, Zambia, from August 17 to 19 as there is no class for her to ride in at this big continental event.
Muzinda’s father and manager, Tawanda, told The Herald yesterday that his daughter had withdrawn from the Zimbabwean team for this year’s African Championships where he claimed that there is only one class for female riders – 125cc.
“As you know Tanya is currently riding in the 85cc (big wheel) Class which unfortunately is not available for female riders at the African Championships where there’s only one class for the ladies, which is the 125cc Class. “The ladies class (at the African Championships) is a combined class of all age-groups and all bike sizes; and Tanya, riding an 85cc bike, will be at a disadvantage with (other) women riding big bikes of 125cc up to 450cc. We also could not secure a 125cc bike on time for the African Championships but definitely next year she will compete with her 125cc bike as she would have moved into this class,” Tawanda Muzinda said.
But Tanya’s name was missing from the revised list of 44 riders which was released by the Bogwheelers Club yesterday. She last competed in the African Championships in August 2015 when the continental event was hosted by Zimbabwe at Donnybrook in Harare. The team now has only two female riders – Leigh-Anne Young and Bianca Beling – who will carry the country’s flag in the Ladies Class during the 2018 African Championships in Kitwe in three weeks time.
One of the country’s top junior male riders Emmanuel Bako (12) is also part of Team Zimbabwe for the trip to Zambia where he will be joined by his cousin Munyaradzi. They will both compete in the 65cc Class where they will be joined by Dillan Faasen, Jordan Dewdney, Declan Barrett, Hunter Moore, Blake Prinsloo and Jack Gobey. Another talented young rider Daiyaan Manuel will be the country’s flagbearer in the 85cc Class alongside Tristan Versfeld, Ricky Whyte, Jamie Doran and Cameron Mellor. But another top junior rider Kuda Mhene (Jnr), who was intially included in Team Zimbabwe has pulled out of the team.
Two of South Africa-based Zimbabwean riders Regan Wasmuth and Jayden Ashwell are, however, part of the team and they will compete in the 125cc and MX1 Class respectively. At this year’s FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships, junior and senior riders from Zimbabwe are expected to pit their skills against fellow top bikers from seven other African countries – Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Swaziland and the hosts Zambia.
South Africa are the defending champions after they came out as the overall winners of last year’s event which was held in Botswana. Zimbabwe settled for second place ahead of the 2017 hosts.
Revised Team Zimbabwe for the 2018 FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships
50cc Class: Luke Southon, Karl Van As, Callum Moore, Willem Krause.
85cc Class: Daiyaan Manuel, Ricky Whyte, Jamie Doran, Tristan Versfeld, Cameron Mellor.
125cc Class: Regan Wasmuth, Tristan Grainger, Jayden Young, David Evans, Liam LeRoux, Luke Doran.
MX1 Class: Jayden Ashwell, Cameron Thixton, Daniel Law, John Evans, Frik Prinsloo, Hamish Perry, Ross Bredenkamp.
MX2 Class: Ashley Thixton, Joshua Goby, Tafadzwa Mawarire, Jarques Du Plessis, Bradley Perry.
Ladies Class: Leigh-Anne Young, Bianca Beling.
Veterans Class: Warren Thorne, Doug Mellor, Phil Dos Santos, Mark Ziemann.
Masters Class: Shane Thomas, Lofty Versfeld, Jim Perry.