Collin Matiza Sports Editor
ONE of Zimbabwe’s top junior motocross riders Emmanuel Bako continued with his winning ways on the South African circuit.
He emerged victorious in the 85cc (Junior) Class during the ninth and final round of the 2019 Mayfair Gearbox Gauteng Championship at Smoking Pistons just outside Johannesburg on Sunday.
Coming up against a number of South Africa’s top junior riders in this one-day event, Bako (13) was once again on fire as he won both heats on the day to emerge as the top dog in the 85cc (Junior) Class with a maximum 50 points to claim the top step on the podium ahead of Nathan Kuhn (44 points) and Blake Osner (40 points).
“This was definitely another good day at the office for me. My bike didn’t give me any problems, I was just focused and I just wanted to show the rest of the field how good I am,’’ he said.
“I made a number of good jumps and the track was just perfectly laid, which made it a little bit easier for me.
“I think I had a good season both back home in Zimbabwe and here in South Africa where I won a number of regional events, although I’m a little bit disappointed that I didn’t emerge as the overall winner of the South African Nationals, but there’s always another chance for me to achieve this goal.’’
The talented young rider is now expected to go into an International Boot Camp, which will be run by his France-based team – EHR Racing Team — in East London, South Africa, in preparation for a tour of Europe next year. This will see Bako taking his first major steps into becoming a fully-fledged professional racer when he competes in the European Championship series.
Bako was this year racing in Zimbabwe and South Africa under EHR Racing Team, who are headed up by ex-South African rider Joe Travares.
“As you know, we have integrated Emmanuel Bako into the EHR Racing Youth Team in South Africa as our top 85cc rider for 2019 season where he has more than excelled with podium finishes in every race,’’ Traves told The Herald.
“He has been brilliant and has really shown his potential and still riding a semi standard setup on his KTM 85. We are carrying out a number of training and detection camps internationally and we will be inviting Emmanuel to East London, South Africa, later this month to take part in a real international boot camp to set him up for his season in Europe next year. There, he will form part of the EHR Southern Africa Youth Invitation Team to race in a number of selected European Championship races as well as some national races in France and Germany.
“Part of this mission is to enter this team into the Masterkids International Race in Belgium in July 2020.
“The camp will cover everything from mental preparation, physical preparation, race tuning and race training. He will have access to the same level of training that some of the top pilots experience in Europe and the USA.’’
Meanwhile, there will be another round of local motocross racing at Donnybrook Park in Harare this coming Sunday.
Most of the country’s top junior and senior riders are expected to take part in this event as they make their final preparations for the season-ending Zimbabwe Summer Series slated for December 11, 13 and 15 at the same venue.