Collin Matiza Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE’S junior motocross champion rider Emmanuel Bako will miss this weekend’s opening round of the 2019 South African National Championship series at Rover in Port Elizabeth following the death of his grandfather in Harare yesterday.
Obert Bako, a former employee of Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries in Msasa, Harare, died of lung complications at Dandaro Clinic in Borrowdale yesterday morning.
He was flown back home to Zimbabwe last week from Johannesburg, South Africa, where he had been admitted at a private hospital following an operation last month.
He was 64 and is survived by his wife, six sons, one daughter and 10 grandchildren, who include three of the country’s top junior motocross riders Emmanuel, Munyaradzi and Junior. Mourners are gathered at No. 32 Takely Drive in Sentosa, Harare.
Speaking to The Herald yesterday, his son Brighton “Bucks” Bako, said his father’s untimely death came as a big blow to his family, especially to his grandchildren Emmanuel, Munyaradzi and Junior, as he was their inspiration in motocross.
“Although he did not take part in the sport when growing up, my dad was so passionate about motocross because he used to go to Donnybrook to watch the sport as it (Donnybrook) was just a stone’s throw away from his former workplace at ZimPhos in Msasa.
“And when he retired from ZimPhos he encouraged me to let my son Emmanuel take up the sport of motocross as he believed that it makes one, especially the young ones, have a good co-ordination of the mind which also makes them sharp at school.
“So, through my dad’s insistence, I introduced Emmanuel to motocross when he was just three and he was followed by his cousin Munyaradzi and then by my youngest son Junior.
“This also means that Emmanuel will not be travelling to South Africa this weekend for the opening round of the 2019 South African Nationals as he will be mourning his mentor and grandfather.’’
The absence of Emmanuel Bako at Rover in Port Elizabeth on Saturday means that there will only be four riders — Jayden Ashwell, Ashley Thixton, Tristan Grainger and Regan Wasmuth — representing Zimbabwe in the opening round of this year’s South African Nationals.
Thixton and Grainger will be racing under the Grainger Racing Team KTM, which gets its support from Alfie Cox of South Africa, while Ashwell and Wasmuth are now members of different racing teams in South Africa.