By Collin Matiza
Two of the country’s top junior motocross riders Daiyaan Manuel and Emmanuel Bako were among several winners who were honoured at the glittering Annual Motorsports Dinner & Awards Ceremony at Hellenic Club in Harare on Saturday night.
Manuel, a Form One pupil at St John’s College in Harare, was all smiles after he was officially crowned the 2017 National 65cc Class Champion after he dominated the scene in the Bogwheelers Club’s national championship series last year in which he finished the season unbeaten in this section.
The Bogwheelers Club run the motorcycling sport of motocross in Zimbabwe.
And on Saturday, one of its club members Manuel (12) was walking on Cloud Nine after he was officially crowned the 65cc Class national champion. In fact, 2017 was his last year in the 65cc Class and he has graduated to race in the 85cc Class this season.
Manuel had an amazing year in 2017 in which he was crowned South African Champion, Southern African Region Champion, Motocross of African Nations Champion, Zimbabwean National Champion (all in the 65cc Class) and the Zimbabwe Summer Series’ 85cc Champion.
Another talented Zimbabwean junior motocross rider Bako was also honoured on Saturday evening as he was named the second-best rider in the 65cc Class in 2017.
Bako (12), a Grade Six pupil at Heritage School in Harare, also performed well last year considering that he spent two months sidelined by a serious leg injury he sustained during a Dirt Bronco event in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the beginning of April.
But after recovering from the injury, Bako fought hard to earn second place in the 65cc Class and he also did well in the 85cc Class.
Speaking to The Herald during Saturday evening’s prize-giving function at Hellenic Club, Bako said he was very happy with his achievements in 2017 and paid tribute to his father and manager, Brighton “Bucks” Bako, and trainer Stanley Mugiyo for their tremendous support.
He said he was aiming for “bigger and greater” things this year in which, apart from racing locally, he will be competing in the tough seven-round South African National Championship series which runs from February to October.
In fact, Emmanuel Bako got off to a flying start in this year’s South African Nationals in which he emerged as the overall winner of the 65cc Class in the series’ opening round which was held on February 17 at Rover in Port Elizabeth.
Prior to that, he also took the first step on the podium in the opening round of the South African Northern Regions Championship at Sand Trax in Sasolburg on February 10.
“This year, I am aiming to win both national titles in the 65cc Class here in Zimbabwe and in South Africa; and I’m quite confident of doing it, especially with the support that I’m receiving from my father as well as from my coach Stanley Mugiyo. They are always there for me,” Emmanuel Bako said.
His trainer, Mugiyo said he is very pleased by his protege’s focus on the track this season.
“I’m quite pleased with the way the season has started off for Emmanuel as he won his opening two races in South Africa this month. I think if he continues to work hard on the track during practise and remain focused, he will go far this season,” Mugiyo said.
Meanwhile, ace Zimbabwean motor racing driver Axcil Jefferies finally received his Senior National Colours from the Zimbabwe Motorsport Federation at the same function at Hellenic Club on Saturday night.
This was in recognition of his sporting achievements in motorsport in Zimbabwe and Jefferies responded by saying on Facebook yesterday: “Thank you to everyone that has rallied behind me and supported me over the years. I dedicate this Award to You All.”