Bako, Wasmuth Soar High in SA

Zimbabwe’s junior motocross champion rider Emmanuel Bako once again made his presence felt during round three of the 2018 South African National Championship series at Bloemfontein Offroad Club in Bloemfontein on Saturday where he secured two podium places in the 85cc (Juniors) and 65cc classes.

He was emulated by another top Zimbabwean junior rider Regan Wasmuth who rode brilliantly to finish second overall in the 125cc High School Class.

On Saturday, Bako (12), who is now a household name in the South African motocross circuit, first took part in the 85cc (Juniors) Class which had more than 10 riders and was untouchable on his brand new KTM bike, which he recently received from a local jewellery company, BetterBrands Jewellery, as he swept the opposition away to take the first overall place.

In Heat One of the 85cc (Juniors) Class, Bako took a hole shot and never looked back as he repeated the same trick in Heat Two to be crowned the overall winner of this division.

The talented young Zimbabwean rider was also in the mix in the 65cc Class where he came third overall behind South Africans Wian du Plooy and Lucca Mynhardt, who took the first two places.

The 65cc Class had a strong field of 24 riders banging bars for the top spot on the podium and a great battle took place between Bako and his two South African rivals du Plooy, who was riding on his home track at Bloemfontein Offroad Club (BORC), and Mynhardt.

Heat One was taken by Du Plooy ahead of Bako but some exciting riding was witnessed in Heat Two where Bako had to fight from sixth to third place. He also managed to record the fastest lap time as he finally settled for third place overall for his second podium place of the day with 42 points. South Africa’s Du Plooy amassed 47 points to take the first place on the podium in the 65cc Class ahead of his fellow countryboy Mynhardt who collected 45 points.

Speaking to The Herald after Saturday’s race meeting at BORC, Bako said he felt good riding his brand new 2019 KTM bike and he was the only rider who had it at the start gates.

“The track today was good and I think I rode extremely well in the 85cc (Juniors) Class where I managed to come first overall but there was a battle for first place in the 65cc Class where I was forced to up the throttle in Heat Two in which I was, at one stage, lying in sixth place but I ended up coming third overall which I think is not bad at all.

The fourth round of the 2018 South African National Championship series is scheduled for July 7 at Terra Topia in Gauteng and Bako said he hopes to perform much better there as it is one of his favourite tracks in South Africa.

Bako was not the only Zimbabwean who secured a place on the podium on Saturday at BORC as his fellow top junior rider Regan Wasmuth came second overall in the 125cc High School Class.

There were 18 riders in the 125cc High School Class and Wasmuth made a great comeback to finish second overall behind South Africa’s Dalton Venter after a difficult start to the day.

Wasmuth started off the day with some bike problems in practise and then in Heat One he got a terrible start in dead last but he put on a big charge and made his way through the field to move into second place, catching the leader Venter in a hurry! He was also able to get the fastest laptime of the race but there wasn’t enough time to catch the guy in first place.

Pushing each other to the maximum, they ended up going two seconds a lap faster than they did in Heat One and they were nine seconds faster than the closest person to them.

“It really was a great race and although I came out second in the end, I’d live to battle like that again!” Wasmuth said after Saturday’s race meeting. “I got second place overall and closed the points down. I’m now sitting in second position in the championship standings, 15 points behind the leader and there’s still a handful of races left!”

Zimbabwe’s senior champion rider Jayden Ashwell was also in action at BORC on Saturday where he came fourth overall in the main MX1 Class. The first three places in this class went to local lads Caleb Tennant, Matthew Malan and David Goosen. There were 18 riders in the MX1 Class. Meanwhile, another top Zimbabwean junior rider Daiyaan “D” Manuel failed to make the trip to South Africa at the weekend as he is currently preparing to race in Europe in August.

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