Collin Matiza Sports Editor
THE scent of the 2017 South African National Motocross Championship Series’ 65cc Class title is in the air for one of Zimbabwe’s top junior riders Daiyaan “D” Manuel.
Manuel, a 12-year-old Grade Seven pupil at St John’s Preparatory School in Harare, he took the first step on the podium during the penultimate round of the tough seven-round competition at the sandy Holeshot Harrys track at Harrismith in Free State a couple of weeks ago.
Manuel was in dominant form as he won all his heats and this saw him unseating South Africa’s Tyler Tarantino at the top of the 65cc Class Standings with one round to go in the championship series.
The seventh and final round of the 2017 South African Nationals is scheduled for October 14 at Gauteng Province’s Terra Topia track and Manuel needs another podium finish to walk away with the 2017 65cc Class title.
The Zimbabwean rider is now top of the 65cc Class Standings with 267 points, 10 clear of his nearest rival Tarantino while another top South African junior biker Troy Muraour is lying in third place with 244 points.
Manuel is on the verge of winning his second major motocross title in South Africa in three years after he walked away with the 50cc Class crown in 2014.
Since then, Manuel has moved a class up into the 65cc Class although he sometimes mixes it up by competing in the 85cc Class in the Bogwheelers Club’s national and club championship series at home in Zimbabwe.
The Bogwheelers Club run the motorcycling sport of motocross in Zimbabwe.
At home, Manuel has this year been involved in some exciting duels with junior rider Emmanuel Bako (10) in the 65cc Class although he always beats his adversary for the top step on the podium whenever they meet at Donnybrook Raceway in Harare.
But it is Manuel’s exploits on the track during this year’s South African Nationals which has once again seen him shine like a beacon in the 65cc Class in which he has been tussling with Tarantino for the number one spot.
Manuel didn’t get the best of starts in this year’s South African Nationals as he had a DNF during the opening round of the series at Rover in Port Elizabeth on February 18 where he only managed to pick up 25 points.
This did not deter the daredevil from Zimbabwe as he returned for the second round at Zone Seven in Cape Town on April 8 with a vengeance to take the first step on the podium and the maximum 50 points along the way.
Manuel’s next port of call during this year’s South African Nationals was at BORC in Bloemfontein on May 6 for the third round and he did well to collect 45 points going into the fourth round at Dirt Bronc in Randfontein on June 3 where he was once again placed in the top three as he picked up 47 more points.
The fifth round of the 2017 South African Nationals was held on July 22 in Maritzburg where Manuel once again wagged his tail vigourously to take the first step on the podium and walked away with the maximum 50 points.
This saw him eating up into Tarantino’s lead at the top of the 65cc Class Standings and he finally overtook his South African rival at the top of the table after another brilliant performance during the penultimate round of the series at Holeshot Harrys in Harrismith on September 2.
And now Manuel needs another top three finish during the seventh and final round of the 2017 South African National Motocross Championship Series at Terra Topia on October 14 to be crowned the 65cc Class Champion.
Meanwhile, another top Zimbabwean junior rider Regan Wasmuth won the 125cc High School Class title during the North v South Inter-provincial Championships in Benoni, South Africa, on Sunday.