Collin Matiza Sports Editor
THIS year promises to be hectic on the international scene for a number of Zimbabwean motocross riders who are expected to go outside the country to compete in more than 10 races in South Africa and Europe.
Top Zimbabwean junior and senior riders such as Jayden Ashwell, Kuda Mhene (Jnr), Regan Wasmuth, Emmanuel Bako, Ryan Masimo, Tristan Grainger, Jordan Dewdney, Lee and Mudiwa Chigumba, Daiyaan Manuel and the sensational female biker Tanya Muzinda are all likely to have their hands full this year as they will be competing in a number of international races that include the seven-round Monster Energy South African National Championship series and the annual FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships.
This year FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships are likely to be held in Kenya from August 26 to 28 after Zimbabwe successfully hosted the same event in August last year at Donnybrook in Harare where there was a record turn out of more than 200 junior and senior riders from seven countries — Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Motocross South Africa, who organise and host the Monster Energy South African National Championship series, recently came up with the dates for this year’s tough seven-round competition whose opening round will be held on February 27 at Rover Raceway in the Eastern Cape.
The second round of the South African National Championship series has been pencilled in for April 2 at Speed-spot Raceway in the Western Cape and it will be followed by the last five rounds of the competition on May 28 (Bloemfontein MX Track), July 2 (Dirt Bronco MX Track), August 6 (Maritzburg MX Track, KZN), September 17 Harrismith Track, Free State) and October 8 at Syringa Park just outside Johannesburg.
And most of Zimbabwe’s top junior and senior riders are once again expected to take on their peers from South Africa in this tough seven-round series where nine-year-old Zimbabwean Emmanuel Bako did extremely well by finishing second overall in the 50cc Pro Class last year.
Brighton “Bucks” Bako, the father and manager of young Emmanuel, recently indicated that his son will be back on the road again this year, tackling the South African National Championship series but he will now be competing in the more demanding 65cc Class.
“After Emmanuel missed winning the 50cc Pro title by a whisker in last year’s South African National Championship series, we have decided to give it another go this year and we will now be gunning for the top honours in the 65cc Class where I think Emmanuel will give the South African riders some more headaches during this competition like what he did in this past season.
“We have also engaged the GeBe Education and Sports Foundation of Germany who have indicated that they would like Emmanuel to go and take part in a number of international races in the European country and I think this will help him to turn into a fully-fledged professional motocross rider,” Brighton Bako said.
Emmanuel Bako will most likely be joined in the South African National Championship series and in Germany by the country’s top female rider Tanya Muzinda (10) whose father, Tawanda, exclusively told The Herald yesterday that his daughter will “definitely” compete Down South and in Europe this year.
“In fact, we are currently working on a budget of plus or minus $100 000 which will see Tanya competing in the South African National Championship series and in a number of top international races in England, Italy and Germany during the year.
“Tanya’s manager, Stefy Bau of Italy, is currently working round the clock, making sure that she (Tanya) goes to Europe and take part in a number of international races, especially in Italy and England during her school-break from July to August.
“For the South African National Championship series, we need to raise about $50 000 which will help Tanya to compete in all the seven rounds of competition while we need another $50 000 for the international races in Europe.”