By Collin Matiza Sports Editor
AFTER having taken a back seat from the administration side of local motocross for most of this year, former chairman of the Bogwheelers Club, Gary Grainger, has indicated that he will next season come out with all guns blazing as he revives his Grainger Racing Team.
Grainger, a chicken farmer, was behind the formation of the Grainger Racing Team, which he “gave birth to” at the beginning of the 2017 season in a move aimed at raising the profile of the motorcycling sport of motocross in Zimbabwe.
The Grainger Racing KTM motocross team was officially launched in Harare in January 2017 with more than seven riders affiliated to the motorcycling club.
It was initially led by England-based rider Damon Strydom and it included other talented riders like Regan Wasmuth, Tristan Grainger, Ashley Thixton, Daiyaan Manuel, Luke Southon, David Southon and Tiaan Prinsloo, who all competed in the tough seven-round South African National Championship series.
But after its formation amid pomp and fanfare in 2017, the Grainger Racing Team made a disappearing act from both the local and South African motocross radar this year, with only one of its riders Thixton sparingly featuring in this year’s South African National Championship series which ended last month.
And this led many people in the local motocross circles into think that the team had died a natural death just one year after its formation.
But the Grainger Racing Team’s principal, Gary Grainger, yesterday told The Herald that his project was still very much alive and kicking and he will be relaunching it next year, with two of its main riders Thixton and Tristan Grainger having already made a commitment to take part in the 2019 South African National Championship series which begins in February and will run through to October.
“I know that after the formation of the Grainger Racing Team in 2017, we sort of went underground this year mainly due to circumstances beyond our control, but I would like to reassure you that we will be back (in action) for the 2019 season, where two of our riders Ashley Thixton and Tristan Grainger will be competing full-time in both the South African and Zimbabwean Nationals.
“In fact, Tristan, who has mainly been riding in the 85cc Class, will next year graduate to race in the 125cc Class, while Ashley Thixton will mainly be racing in the seniors MX1 Class.
“Remember, at the formation of our team we also had other top Zimbabwean riders Regan Wasmuth and Daiyaan Manuel racing for us, but we don’t know what their plans are for next year because the former is already riding for another team in South Africa. So, basically all I can say is that apart from racing locally, we will be going full throttle in the South African National Championship series next year with the help of our partner Alfie Cox and sponsors KTM,” Gary Grainger said.
He also said that it was pleasing to note that two of his team’s top riders Tristan Grainger and Thixton are about to be crowned national champions in the 125cc and MX2 Class respectively in Zimbabwe.
“In fact, Tristan was at one stage out injured and he couldn’t compete full-time locally and in the South African nationals, but is now fully fit and will soon be crowned the 125cc Champion for this year in Zimbabwe, while Ashley Thixton is walking away with the MX2 title.”
Both Tristan Grainger and Thixton were in action at Donnybrook in Harare this last Sunday, competing in the latest round of the 2018 Bogwheelers Club National Championship series and they came out tops in their respective classes.
In fact, the Thixton brothers, Cameron and Ashley, were the top dogs in the seniors MX1 and MX2 classes respectively.
In the MX1 Class, Cameron was just a joy to watch as he swept the eight-man field aside to take the first step on the podium ahead of veteran rider Doug Mellor and Dan Law.
His (Cameron’s) elder brother Ashley was also untouchable in the MX2 Class.
In heat one, Ashley set out to show his class and led into turn two with Josh Goby and Tristan Grainger fighting with Jacques du Plessis and Luke Wheeler for the rest of the podium places. Goby eventually settled for second place ahead of Tristan Grainger.
Tristan Grainger later redeemed himself when he came out tops in the 125cc Class, beating Daiyaan Manuel and David Evans into second and third place.
Manuel has also monopolised the 85cc Class which he won with ease ahead of Emmanuel Bako and Jamie Doran. There were eight riders in this class.
In the Ladies Class, Leigh-Anne Young was once again in fine form as she managed to win two of the three heats to come out first ahead of Celine Goodinson and Bianca Beling.
Another promising female rider, 11-year-old Tadiwanashe “Taddy” Nyamupfukudza, who raced with boys in the 65cc Class and she did well to finish ninth in a field of 13 riders.