Rare treat for Moto-X fans
Collin Matiza-Sports Editor
TONIGHT is THE night!
Local motorsport enthusiasts are in for a rare treat tonight when they make their way to Donnybrook Park Raceway in Harare to watch the opening round of the 2023 Better Brands Petroleum Zimbabwe Summer Series.
This year’s Zimbabwe Summer Series has for the first time attracted more than 20 foreign professional Supercross and motocross riders from overseas.
This strong field of foreign riders is coming in from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Australia and Germany. About 14 top dirt bike riders from South Africa were also making their way to Harare yesterday to add more international flavour to this event.
They are accompanied by their agent, Grant Foley.
And not to be left behind are a number of amateur motocross riders from Zambia and Botswana, making it the biggest international sporting event to be hosted in this country this year.
In fact, some of the best professional riders in the world will be in Harare for the series.
They will include some top 10 riders in the world! There are also two young Belgian riders who compete in the 65cc Class.
Never in the history of the Zimbabwe Summer Series has there been had such a big number of foreign entries.
And these top foreign dirt bike riders and local bikers are set to battle it out for a share of US$$40 000 prize pool which has been dangled by this year’s main title sponsors – Better Brands Petroleum.
The petroleum company is owned by prominent Harare businessman Scott Sakupwanya.
With riders being able to compete in both the Supercross competition tonight and Friday night and the motocross competition on Sunday, it provides three chances to take home some serious cash.
With US$40 000 at stake for the riders, surely there won’t be any place for the faint-hearted at Donnybrook this week.
According to Jamie Kerwin and Dougie Mellor of the Bogwheelers Club, the organisers of the Zimbabwe Summer Series, the breakdown will see the overall winner of each class taking home US$5 000 with first and second runners-up getting about US$3 000 and US$1 500 respectively. With this considerable breakdown to all the senior classes, it means all riders can get excited.
“The US$40 000 prize money is for the Senior A riders who will be competing in the main MX1 and MX2 classes. I think there’s also a cash incentive for the 125cc riders with the overall winner getting US$5 000, the first runner-up US$3 000 and the third-placed rider getting US$1 500 something along those lines, but it doesn’t apply to kids and to us the veterans.
“It (the prize money) has been mainly put there to lure the professional foreign riders to come for this event . . . and even for them to come back next year,” Mellor told Zimpapers Sports at the weekend.
With the cash incentive in place, most local senior motocross riders are also expected to come out in their numbers to compete in what promises to be the most exciting Zimbabwe Summer Series in history.
If that’s not enough, Seven-Seven Sports of South Africa will be performing a half-time Freestyle show during the three days of competition at Donnybrook.
But main focus will be on the track where the visiting foreign riders will be out to dominate the proceedings from the word go tonight.
But they will be tested by the local riders who will be led by the exciting 18-year-old rider Daiyaan Manuel.
Manuel has always raised the country’s flag high at all major international motocross events and the nation will be banking on him in both the 125cc and MX2 classes during this year’s Zimbabwe Summer Series.
Manuel will be backed by 14-year-old talented rider Emile Croisette who has just graduated to race with senior riders and will be competing in the 125cc Class.
Croisette spent the opening six months of this year training and racing in the US under one of that country’s top motocross trainers, Shannon Niday, at his academy in Tennessee.
Croisette’s father and manager, Joe, recently told Zimpapers Sports that he has seen some vast improvement in his son’s riding after his six-month sojourn in the US this year and he should be the one to watch too during the Zimbabwe Summer Series.
“Emile has upped his game after his stay in the United States and is now handling his machine just like any professional rider out there.
“I’m quite confident he will do well during the Zimbabwe Summer Series where he will be racing against the seniors as he is now a senior rider,” Joe Croisette said.
Emile will be joined in the 125cc Class by fellow top local riders Riley Rocher, Karl van As, Noah Butler Res, Joshua Pike, Jack Gobey and Kayla Nesbitt.
Also competing in the different junior and senior classes will be the likes of seasoned campaigners Trevor Thixton, Lofty Versfeld, Warren Thorne, Mark Zeimann, Scott Fraser, Roy Ormerod, Dougie Mellor, Ricky Whyte, Cameron Mellor, Daniel West, Kevin Morgan, Dylan Zanin and Regan Wasmuth.
In the junior ranks, several talented “young guns” will also be in action.
Among them will be Victor Nyamupfukudza, Kudzwai Chitsurura, Cameron Fraser, Michael Krause, Judah Sakupwanya, Ezra Ekron, Cameron Morgan, Jaxen Bird, Keegan Ormerod, Tyler West, O’Neil.
Shamu, Seb Wright, Jayden Kerwin, George Zeimann, Chris Mufanechiya, Craig Ormerod, Milan Mohammad, Terry Ekron, Elroy Shamu, Mudiwa Sakupwanya and Junior Bako.
So this points out to an exciting three days of racing at Donnybrook Park, starting with tonight’s opening Supercross race meeting which starts at 4pm until late.
Entry fee for the spectators has been pegged at US$5 for adults while children under the age of 12 will get in for free.
There will be full bar and catering facilities during the three days of competition.