Collin Matiza Sports Editor
TWO top German motocross clubs RMC Reutlingen and MSC Waldkappel are once again looking at inviting a number of young Zimbabwean riders for a two-week training camp in the European country ahead of this year’s FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships.
This year’s FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships will be staged in Kenya during the weekend of August 26-28 and the event attracts top junior and senior riders from seven countries — Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Last year, the annual event was successfully held here in Harare at Donnybrook where a record number of more than 200 junior and senior motocrossers from the same seven African countries took part and South Africa emerged as the overall winners for the third straight year ahead of Zimbabwe.
Before the staging of last year’s FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships, one of Zimbabwe’s top junior riders Daiyaan Manuel spent two weeks in Germany preparing for this continental event at the invitation of both RMC Reutlingen and MSC Waldkappel.
Manuel was joined at the two-week training camp in Germany by Rory Nicholson of Zambia, before they both flew to Harare to compete in the African Championships, where they performed extremely well in the 65cc A Class after having received some expert advice from a number of German motocross trainers.
Their trip to Germany was facilitated by the GeBe Education and Sports Foundation, a German non-profit organisation, which has some connections with a number of national sport associations in that country and has a branch in Cape Town, South Africa.
And Bernd Wulffen, the founder and director of the GeBe Foundation, told The Herald yesterday that after having been impressed by young Manuel and Nicholson during their two-week training camp in Germany in August last year, both RMC Reutlingen and MSC Waldkappel have indicated that they would like to invite more young riders from both Zimbabwe and Zambia for a similar programme between August 5 and 22 this year.
Wulfffen said they have already indentified four young Zimbabwean riders – Emmanuel Bako, Jordan Dewdney, Daiyaan Manuel and Tanya Muzinda — for this year’s two-week training camp in Germany where they will be joined by Zambia’s Nicholson.
“The door is still open for other young riders who are willing to be part of this training programme in Germany but at the moment we have these five bikers – Bako, Dewdney, Manuel, Muzinda and Nicholson — whose names have been forwarded to both RMC Reutlingen and MSC Waldkappel.
“In fact, another top German motocross club MSC Bauschheim have indicated that they would also like to have a look at these young riders from Africa during their stay in Germany on August 13 and 14 before they go and compete at the ADAC Masters at Gaildorf near Stuttgart.
“So, we are currently putting this package together for these five young riders from Zimbabwe and Zambia and I think this will benefit them immensely before they fly back to Africa to compete in the African Championships in Kenya towards the end of August,” Wulffen said.
Brighton Bako, the father and manager of young Zimbabwean motocross sensation Emmanuel Bako, also said yesterday that they were “more than ready to go to Germany” for the two-week training camp ahead of this year’s FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships.
“Last year we missed the same training camp in Germany because it clashed with our schedule in South Africa where Emmanuel was strongly in the running for the 50cc Pro title in the South African National Championships series but this year, we are definitely prepared to go to Germany to train and race there in August.
“I was told that both Daiyaan (Manuel) and Rory (Nicholson) really enjoyed their training stint in Germany last year and they made a lot of friends there, and we want to be part of that this year, as we would like to see how the Germans train and prepare their bikers for a motocross event.
“This will also be an opportunity for us to see how we can penetrate the German, if not the European, motocross racing scene as we would like Emmanuel to go and compete there on a regular basis,” Brighton Bako said.
Tawanda Muzinda, the father and trainer of the country’s top female motocross rider Tanya Muzinda, also said that the invitation from RMC Reutlingen and MSC Waldkappel came at the right time as they were also making plans for his daughter to go and race in Europe during her school-break between July and August this year.
“In fact, our international manager, Stefy Bau of Italy, has put together a calendar of events for Tanya, which will see her touring Europe between July and August this year, and I think we will incorporate the two-week training camp in Germany into it.
“So, I can safely say that we’ve accepted the invitation from the two German motocross clubs for the two-week training camp, which I think will also help us to market Tanya as an international brand in Europe. . . This is really a good opportunity for her to turn into an internationally-recognised female rider there,” Tawanda Muzinda said.
Tanya Muzinda is the reigning Junior Sportsperson of the Year in Zimbabwe.