Collin Matiza Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE’S junior motocross champion rider Emmanuel Bako laid down another huge marker in his quest to lift his first major title in South Africa when he emerged victorious in the 85cc (Junior) Class during the fifth round of the 2019 South African National Championship series in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday.
Bako (12) made no mistakes as he blasted his 2020 KTM bike past South African bikers Seth Young and Timo Maximo Toepfer to take his second straight Junior win in this series after he claimed the first step on the podium during round four of the South African Nationals at Dirt Bronco on July 6.
The young Zimbabwean rider needs two more podium finishes in the last two rounds of the series at Welkom on September 21 and Terra Topia in Johannesburg on October 26 to be crowned the 2019 South African 85cc (Junior) Class Champion.
And Bako, a Grade Seven pupil at Heritage School in Harare, could not hide his excitement after producing another brilliant performance which saw him getting back-to-back victories in this year’s South African National Championship series in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday.
“I had an awesome race mainly due to my bike’s suspension which was worked on by Shaun Whyte and Gary Grainger . . . I really want to thank them because this boosted my confidence going into this race meeting and I’m a step away from claiming the title and anything can happen during the last two rounds of the series.
“And I would also like to thank my sponsors Fuchs Silkolene Zimbabwe, Chicken Hut and Prolific Boreholes as well as my trainer Stanley Mugiyo for their support,” Bako told The Herald from Pietermaritzburg on Saturday.
Another young Zimbabwean rider Tristan Grainger also did well during Saturday’s round five of the South African Nationals in which he performed brilliantly in the 125cc Class aboard his brand new 2020 bike.
Bako and Grainger were yesterday expected to fly back home to Zimbabwe to join their teammates in Team Zimbabwe who are preparing for this year’s FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships which will be held at Donnybrook Park later this month.
Fireworks are expected at this year’s African Championships with the news that more than 200 riders from seven countries will descend on Donnybrook Park in Harare on August 31 and September 1 for this big continental motorcycling event.
Jamie Kerwin, the public relations officer of the Bogwheelers Club who run motocross in Zimbabwe on behalf of Motorsport Zimbabwe, said that apart from 59 riders from this country, 150 international bikers from Botswana, Morocco, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and Zambia have confirmed their participation at this year’s African Championships.
While the Zimbabwe, as the host nation, will have the biggest share of 59 riders, last year’s overall champions South Africa will send 41 of their top male and female riders for this two-day event while Uganda have indicated that they will enter 36 competitors.
Zambia will bring in 24 riders, followed by Kenya with 23 while Botswana have entered 21 bikers. Returnees Morocco will be represented by four of their top riders – Amine Aitbella, Abdelouahed Chahboune (both MX2 riders), Mohamed Amine Echiguer and Abderrahamen Ahmed Tarek (both MX1 riders).
Team Zimbabwe for this year’s African Championships will be led by MX1 Class rider Jayden Ashwell (23), who is now based in South Africa.
Ashwell takes over the captaincy of Team Zimbabwe from Ashley Thixton who has also been included in the same team despite his relocation to the Democratic Republic of Congo a few months ago.
At this year’s African Championships, Ashwell and Thixton will represent Zimbabwe in the main MX1 Class together with Hamish Perry, Frik Prinsloo and Cameron Thixton.
Promising female rider Tadiwanashe Nyamupfukudza (12) is also part of Team Zimbabwe for this year’s African Championships and she will represent the country in the women’s 85cc Class with Celine Goodinson, Leigh-Anne Young and Bianca Beling.
She becomes the second youngest female rider to represent the country at the African Championships after Tanya Muzinda.
Nyamupfukudza is looking forward to take on some of the continent’s best female motocross riders at this event.
Source : The Herald