Collin Matiza Sports Editor
TANYA Muzinda, the postergirl of Zimbabwean motocross, left the country for the United Stated at the weekend to embark on a life-changing journey which will see her taking a giant leap towards her cherished dream of turning into a fully-fledged professional rider overseas.
Muzinda (14) was recently invited to take part in the 47th edition of the annual Thor Winter Olympics Supercross and Motocross Championships in Florida, United States, later this month.
The Thor Winter Olympics is presented by Pro Circuit and is one of the premier amateur motocross racing events in the United States as it brings together riders from all over the world.
Riders battle for six days to be crowned Olympiad Champion. It is also a part of the American Motocross Championship Majors – an alliance made up of an elite group of race organisers that host premier amateur and professional motocross events in the United States.
This exciting event is held annually in November at Florida’s Gatorback Cycle Park, which is known for its mix of hard pack and sand, natural elevation changes and other obstacles.
This year’s Thor Winter Olympics will run from November 19-24 and among the hundreds of riders from all over the world who will be jostling for the top honours at this exciting six-day event will be our own Tanya Muzinda who left the country on Saturday accompanied by her father and trainer Tawanda; and mother Adiyon.
But before competing in the Thor Winter Olympics, Tanya is first taking part in a two-week “boot camp” at the Millsaps Training Facility (MTF) at Cairo in Georgia under one of the United States’ most revered female motocross trainers Colleen Millsaps.
MTF provides structured training programmes for motocross riders looking to improve both their skills on the bike and results on the track.
Originally from St. Cloud near Orlando, Colleen is the owner of Millsaps Training Facility (MTF) and has been coaching top level motocross riders for over 16 years and has guided many, including top American bikers Justin Barcia, Kyle Peters, Joey Savatgy, Bryan Johnson, Austin Stroop and Gavin Faith, into the professional ranks.
She combines her superior technical knowledge with a strong desire to see everyone excel and Tanya Muzinda, who joined the two-week “boot camp” on Monday, is set to benefit immensely from Millsaps’ expertise during her stay at MTF.
Speaking to The Herald from Tallahassee in Florida, United States, yesterday, Tanya Muzinda’s father, Tawanda, said there are about 100 kids who are attending the “boot camp” at this great facility.
“This is similar to a Navy Seal kind of a programme. The riders assemble the first thing in the morning at 6am and do an exercise drill. The programme includes gym work, fitness drills, psychology, mental strength and fitness discipline.
“This is one of the best motocross facilities in the world. Parents send their kids for a whole year round to be trained and mentored by the great Colleen Millsaps who is a powerful lady in the history of motocross. We would have wanted to be here for two months but due to limited funds, we can only do two weeks.
“But this is great exposure for Tanya in her career,” Tawanda Muzinda said.
Tanya Muzinda’s stay at MTF was facilitated by her international manager, former three-time women’s motocross World Champion, Stefy Bau of Italy, who is now based in the United States.
And she (Tanya) was over the moon after arriving in the United States on Sunday morning.
“Arrived safely in New York on Sunday morning and was connected straight to my new training facility to prepare for one of my biggest races in my career.
“Am glad to have arrived safely after enduring 16 hours (of) non-stop flight from home, crossing rivers and oceans to compete in the 47th edition of the famous annual Thor Winter Olympics in the USA.
“I managed to rest for the day on Sunday and had to get into (the) thick of things on Monday afternoon, only because my kit bag was lost or misplaced by the airline from home and fortunately a new friend at the facility managed to lend me a pair of training kit.
“I would like to thank all that are donating through the Facebook page to keep helping out as l still need to cover racing and other costs this side to make a successful trip. I believe we will come together and make this a reality,” Tanya Muzinda said on her Facebook page yesterday.