Going gets tough for  Zim Moto-X riders in SA Emmanuel Bako

Collin Matiza

THERE was no joy for Zimbabwean motocross riders, led by champion rider Emmanuel Bako, during Round Two of the 2024 South African National Championship series at Rover in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape on Saturday. 

Bako and three young riders Victor Nyamupfukudza and the Sakupwanya brothers Judah and Mudiwa, all members of the Better Brands Petroleum Racing Team, represented Zimbabwe during this tough one-day event. 

Nyamupfukudza and the Sakupwanya brothers were making their debut appearances at the South African Nationals at the sandy Rover Track. 

The three youngsters had an experience to forget as they all failed to get into the top five of the different classes they competed in. 

But much was expected from local champion rider Emmanuel Bako who raced in the seniors High School and Supermini Class after spending nine days in Europe preparing for this race meeting. 

He also came into Saturday’s event on the back of an excellent third-place finish during the opening round of the South African Nationals at the Legends track in Gauteng on February 24. 

But the sandy track at Rover was a different kettle of fish altogether as Bako was forced to finish in fourth place in the High School and Supermini Class behind three South African riders Tristan Durow, Caden Weise, and Trey Cox who took the first three steps on the podium. 

There was a strong field of 22 riders in the High School and Supermini Classes.

The spotlight in the Zimbabwean camp at Rover on Saturday was also on nine-year-old Victor Nyamupfukudza who was making his debut appearance in the 65cc Class at this year’s South African Nationals.

But the promising young Zimbabwean rider found out that racing in the South African Nationals is no place for the faint-hearted as he finished in 10th place in the 65cc Class which had a good field of 18 riders. 

Victor ’s father and manager, Simbarashe Nyamupfukudza, said although his son struggled during the race, he gained some invaluable experience racing at Rover.

“Victor’s first outing at the South African Nationals was not very bad. He fell twice during practice, and then he came 8th in the first race. 

“He was struggling a bit and I think the front tyre didn’t have enough grip. In the second race, we changed the tyre and it was way much better than the first tyre, though he fell at the first corner from the start he pulled through to 8th position out of 18 and he eventually finished 10th overall. 

“Most of all he is improving during each race, also considering his bike standard, these boys here in South Africa are insane!” Simbarashe Nyamupfukudza told Zimpapers Sports soon after Saturday’s race meeting at Rover. 

Another young Zimbabwean rider Mudiwa Sakupwanya came last in the 65cc Class. There were 18 riders in this class. 

His young brother Judah came ninth in the 50cc Class which also had a good field of 18 riders. It’s now all back to square one for these Zimbabwean riders as they are now expected to start preparing for Round Three of the South African Nationals which is scheduled for May 3 at BORC in Bloemfontein.

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