Collin Matiza Sports Editor
TWO of Zimbabwe’s top junior motocross riders, Emmanuel Bako and Regan Wasmuth, met with mixed fortunes during the penultimate round of the 2015 Monster Energy South African National Championship series at Teza in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday. Saturday saw young eight-year-old Bako picking up 42 points to maintain his lead in the 50cc Pro Class standings while Wasmuth failed to last the distance in the 125cc High School Class after he hurt his wrist on a sad day for the 13-year-old talented Zimbabwean rider.
By picking up 42 points and emerging second overall at Teza on Saturday, Bako now needs to finish in the top two in the final round of the seven-round South African National Championship series at Smoking Pistons in Johannesburg on October 31 to be crowned the 2015 50cc Pro champion.
And Bako’s father, Brighton, feels his son did well on Saturday while racing under some difficult conditions on the track at Teza.
“He did very well considering it was his first time to race in Teza. The race had so much back-markers and he was really using his brains to overtake the other riders. There were also too many jumps, but he cleared them all well and managed to finish second overall.
“Emmanuel is still 15 points clear at the top of the 50cc Pro standings where James Thompson is now placed second ahead of Wian du Plooy. All the South African motocross officials and the media took their time to congratulate him (Emmanuel) after his brilliant performance on Saturday.
“Emmanuel proved to be a world champion in the making despite racing with an old 2015 bike unlike others who prepared themselves with brand new KTM bikes.
“Now we will be heading to Smoking Pistons in Johannesburg on October 31 and Emmanuel just has to finish in the top two to walk away with the 50cc Pro title,” Brighton Bako said.
While Emmanuel Bako walked away from Teza with his head held high, his teammate Wasmuth was a disappointed fella and he admitted that it wasn’t one of his best weekends on the track.
“(It) wasn’t the best of weekends in Teza. Went out for practice and on the second lap I over jumped a small triple and bottomed out on the face of the triple that was just after. I hurt my wrist quite a bit. I puttered around for two laps then got a few good laps in with the pain and ended up qualifying 5th.
“I then strapped up my wrist and was hoping I’d be okay to race, but I only managed to do one lap of the first race and couldn’t bear the pain any longer. I wasn’t able to do the second race. I’m going for X-ray’s tomorrow (Sunday) and I will let you all know how it goes” Wasmuth said.
Wasmuth and Emmanuel Bako were the only two Zimbabwean riders who took part in Saturday’s race meeting in Teza as the country’s champion rider Jayden Ashwell is out for the rest of the season after he recently broke his leg during another event in South Africa.
Meanwhile, one of Zimbabwe’s most prominent motorsport fans, Timothy Sain, has died. Sain, who was once involved in the running of the then country’s premier motorsport event — the Zimbabwe Challenge Rally — died in Harare at the weekend after having been ill for quite sometime, according to his close friend Billy Kembo.
Temba Mazvimbakupa of the Zimbabwe Motorsport Federation was among the first to send his condolence message to the family.