By Collin Matiza
Nine of Zimbabwe’s top junior and senior motocross riders, led by Emmanuel Bako, will this weekend invade the Maritzburg Motocross Club track in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, for the second round of the 2018 South African National Championship series.
A big field of more than 150 senior and junior male and female riders have registered to take part in this Saturday’s round two of the South African Nationals and includes nine Zimbabwean bikers — Emile Croisette, Bako, Daiyaan Manuel, Tristan Grainger, Regan Wasmuth, Davin Cocker, Joshua Goby, Ashley Thixton and Jayden Ashwell.
Twelve-year-old Bako has been doing well on the South African motocross racing circuit where he has won all his races in the four events he has taken part in so far this year.
He has been preparing for Saturday’s event with his South African motocros team — Team Vision Racing Team — in Johannesburg for the past two weeks under the guidance of his mentor Grant Florey and according to his father and manager, Brighton “Bucks” Bako, he is raring to go.
“Emmanuel has been practising here in Johannesburg with his teammates at Team Vision Racing Team since schools closed for the Easter holidays and they are putting in four hours of hard training every day.
“This is the reason why Emmanuel has vastly improved this year and is now “super fast” and will be hard to beat in the 65cc Class during Saturday’s race meeting in Pietermaritzburg,” Brighton Bako said.
A total of 16 riders had entered to ride in the 65cc Class by late yesterday.
Bako has entered to race in two classes, the 65cc and 85cc (Juniors) and he will be joined in the latter class by fellow Zimbabwean rider Daiyaan “D” Manuel, a champion in his own right, who is riding in the 85cc Pro Mini in the South African Nationals this year.
Manuel (13), a Form One pupil at St John’s College in Harare, is an enigma.
When he’s on, he can land his KTM bike on the podium and when he’s not, he drops out of the top 5 but he is surely the “man” to beat in the 85cc Pro Mini Class on Saturday.
There will be a good field of 20 riders in the 85cc Pro Mini Class.
Promising young rider Croisette will also be in action on Saturday, competing in the 50cc Class with 18 other junior riders in this division and will be looking for some inspiration from Zimbabwe’s champion biker Ashwell who will be riding in the main MX1 Class which has a field of 15 riders.
Five other top Zimbabwean junior and senior riders — Grainger, Wasmuth, Cocker (all 125cc High School), Goby and Thixton (both MX2 Class) — will also be looking for places on the podium during Saturday’s round two of the 2018 South African Nationals in Pietermaritzburg. In the MX2 Class, Thixton and Goby will be jostling for podium places with 21 other riders while the 125 High School Class has an entry of 16 bikers.