Collin Matiza Sports Editor
THE past couple of years have seen quite a big number of young motorcycling riders taking up the demanding sport of motocross in Zimbabwe.
In fact, the country is now boasting of an array of talented, young motocross riders who have been showcasing their skills at the home of local motorsport — Donnybrook Raceway in Harare — during both the Club and National Championships events.
The local Club and National Championship events are both hosted by the Bogwheelers Club who are registered with the Zimbabwe Motorsport Federation and they were given the mandate to run the motorcycling sport of motocross in this country.
On March 13, the Bogwheelers Club was abuzz as it hosted the first of the six-round 2016 National Championship series at Donnybrook and the event, which was held after the staging of a Club Championship race meeting at the same venue on January 31, attracted quite a large number of both senior and junior riders, with some coming from as far as Zvishavane.
The 50cc, 65cc, 85cc and 125cc divisions were well attended, and it has been heartening to see that the sport is in good hands going forward with so much junior involvement, a healthy development for any sport given the rewards that come with investing in young talent.
Motocross has, in fact, been slowly taking its place among the most popular sporting events in Zimbabwe, thanks to the emergence of a number of these talented, young riders, and among them is eight-year-old Jordan Dewdney.
Now a Grade Four pupil at Lilfordia School just outside Harare, Jordan quietly sneaked into the local motocross scene in 2015 and towards the end of the same year he was part of local junior riders who made their way to South Africa to compete in that country’s National Championship series.
To be quite precise, Jordan made his debut in the tough South African National Championship series on June 27 last year when he took part in the competition’s fourth round at Springfield in Durban, finishing 12th overall out of 17 bikers in the 50cc Class.
Not a bad start for a rookie rider.
This seems to have inspired young Jordan as he returned to the South African National Championship series this year, taking part in the opening round of this tough seven-round competition at Rover in Port Elizabeth on Saturday February 26.
Facing some of South Africa’s most promising junior riders in his age-group in the 50cc Class, Jordan was not overawed by the occasion as he made his presence felt on the tough, sandy Rover track where he finished third overall behind local lad Neil van der Vyver and Swaziland’s Seth Young.
His brilliant performance won the hearts of many neutrals at Rover who tipped him to be a future national motocross star in Zimbabwe, if not in the Southern African region.
Jordan is now rated as one of the fastest riders in the 50cc Class both at home and in South Africa.
On March 13 at Donnybrook, he blew the opposition away when coming first overall in the 50cc Class during the first National Championship event of the year, beating Munya Bako and Lee Chigumba into second and third place.
He also romped to victory in the same category during the first Club Championship event of the year at the same venue on January 31.
But who is this one of the “jewels in the crown” of Zimbabwean motocross?
Jordan started riding at the age of four on a Pee Wee 50 in 2012. In fact, the ideal way to get started in motocross for a beginner is between four to eight-years-old and one is quickly shunted into the Pee Wee Class, which is designed for beginners.
Speaking to The Herald at the weekend, Jordan’s father and trainer, Warren, said without a doubt his son’s inspiration in the sport is American motocross superstar Ricky Carmichael.
Ricky Carmichael is a racer known for his success in motocross. His unrivalled successes in this sport have given him the nickname “The GOAT”; standing for Greatest of All Time.
In 2015, he was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
Warren said Jordan, nicknamed “Road Runner”, doesn’t really have a training schedule as he is currently a boarder at Lifordia School.
“Jordan is involved in most sports at Lilfordia so they keep him training throughout the weeks. During the weekends, when he doesn’t have school sports, we go to the track to practice and during school holidays we only go to the track on the weekends.
“His weekly diet is normal but on race days he is strictly off sweets and junk food, only pasta and light energy drinks like Energade and also rehydration salts, no fizzy drinks,” Warren said.
What motivates young Jordan off and on the track?
“I think what motivates him are his peers, he is a very social kid and always looks to his friends for help and advice on the track.”
And is there any likelihood of Jordan turning into a fully-fledged motocross rider like his American hero Carmichael?
“The likelihood of him becoming a pro? Well, time will tell, it is definitely his goal, he is also a very good athlete, mainly (on athletics’) track (events), he enjoys cricket as well and also does well at rugby but motocross is without a doubt his No.1 sport and he will always choose motocross over any other sport.
“His main rivals this year at Donnybrook are Lee Chigumba, Munya Bako and Scott Hewer.”
Jordan is the first born in a family of two and he has a sister, Taige, who is two years younger than him (she is 6).
His mother, Ashlyn Dewdney, is the daughter of Tony Rowley, who has been very involved in motorsport in Zimbabwe and Africa for many years.
At the moment Jordan is riding a KTM and his sponsors are Runiville Parts, Trek Petroleum, Fuchs Silkolene, Tandamanzi Drilling and Domboshava A Team.
And his sponsors don’t have to part with much money as racing in Zimbabwe costs about $100 per race “and racing in South Africa varies”.
Jordan’s next race in the second round of the South African National Championship series at Zone 7 in Cape Town on April 2, and Cape Town being the furtherest one from Zimbabwe, it will cost around $2 000 to get him there to compete in this race meeting.
However, it’s not about the money, but about the passion this little boy has in motocross that has made him one of the shining stars in this sport in Zimbabwe at the tender age of eight.