Bittersweet end for Bako

Collin Matiza Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE’S junior motocross champion rider Emmanuel Bako enjoyed a bittersweet outing during the final round of this year’s South African National Championship series at Dirt Bronco in Krugersdorp on Saturday where he was forced to settle for second place overall in the 65cc Class before coming out tops in the 85cc (Juniors) Class.

Bako (13) went into Saturday’s race meeting hoping for the points leader in the 65cc Class, Lucca Mynhardt of South Africa, to have a DNF which would have enabled him to sneak in and be crowned this year’s Champion but that was not to be as the latter secured a third-place finish on the day to walk away with the title.

Another young South African rider Barend du Toit claimed the first step on the podium ahead of Bako who, according to reports from Dirt Bronco, first came third in Heat One of the 65cc Class and then second in Heat Two to finish second overall behind du Tiot who won both heats.

But Bako got some consolation at Dirt Bronco on Saturday where he managed to take the first step on the podium in the 85cc (Juniors) Class in which he won both heats to pick up the maximum 50 points.

And Bako’s father and manager, Brighton, believes his son had a great season despite finishing second overall in the 65cc Class.

“Emmanuel had a great race today (on Saturday). He came first in both his heats in the 85cc (Juniors) Class and in the 65cc Class, he first came third in Heat One after a crash while he was leading the pack and then he came second in Heat Two after another crash while he was in front again.

“He was just too fast in the 65cc Class but he, unfortunately, had to settle for second place overall at the end of the series and this was mainly due to some bad luck he had in round five of the series in Cape Town in August where he crashed out of the race and that paved the way for his main rival in this section Lucca Mynhardt to open an unassailable lead in the points standings . . . Better luck next year,” Brighton Bako said after Saturday’s race meeting at Dirt Bronco.

There was also no joy for another young Zimbabwean rider Regan Wasmuth (17) at Dirt Bronco where he finished in a disappointing fifth place overall in the 125cc High School Class to end up finishing third in the standings.

Wasmuth was racing in the 125cc High School Class as a junior rider for the last time this year as he will move up to race in either the seniors MX1 or MX2 Class in 2019 and was hoping to end the season on a high at Dirt Bronco on Saturday.

But he struggled with his game on Saturday as he first came sixth in Heat One before moving two places up into fourth place in Heat Two to finish fifth overall on the day and there was no place for him on the podium at the end of business at the final round of the 2018 South African National Championship series.

“Went 6-4 for 5th overall at the last round. Was a pretty up and down day. I was happy with how practice went, getting 4th in the times.

“In Heat One I managed to come out just missing the holeshot but made the pass for the lead in the second corner. I managed to lead for two laps after being passed by Cameron Durow. I stayed in 2nd place for a lap until Camden (McLellan) passed me. I was in 3rd for a bit until I hit a kicker in the double section and went down hard. Ended up finishing 6th. “(In) Heat Two I got another good start but only came out the first corner in 4th. Took me a few laps to pass Arnu who was in 3rd but I eventually got around him. From there I tried to put a charge on to stay in 3rd but it wasn’t enough. Dalton (Venter) passed me with a few laps to go and I managed to finish in 4th.

“Definitely I would’ve liked to finish my last season in the 125s in a better way but there’s lots of positives to come in the future,” Wasmuth said.

The first four places (overall) in the 125cc  High School Class on Saturday went to South African riders Cameron Durow, Dalton Venter, Camden McLellan and Justin Sangster, who was eventually crowned this year’s Champion.

In the seniors main MX1 Class, Zimbabwe’s champion rider Jayden Ashwell did well to finish third overall behind South African bikers Tristan Purdon and David Goosen. Ashwell got off to a poor start on Saturday, coming seventh in Heat One before he rolled up his sleeves in Heat Two in which he rode brilliantly to come home in first place and this secured him an overall third-place finish in the MX1 Class.

Another top Zimbabwean rider Ashley Thixton came ninth overall in the MX1 Class and then eighth in the MX2 Class.

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