Zim out to stop SA dominance at African Championships

Collin Matiza

LED by two of their most talented athletes Emmanuel Bako and Daiyaan Manuel, Zimbabwean riders will be out to end South Africa’s dominance in the FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships which revs off in Cape Town, South Africa, Saturday morning.

The two -day continental event brings together top junior and senior male and female riders from a number of African countries such as Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

According to the organizers of this year’s FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships, a record 200 riders have entered for this event which will be held at the famous Zone 7 track in Cape Town tomorrow and Sunday.

And among the riders who will be jostling for places on the podium will be more than 20 bikers from Zimbabwe.

Daiyaan Manuel will be flying Zimbabwe’s flag

Riders from Zimbabwe have always played second fiddle to their counterparts from South Africa since the FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships were revived in the early 2000s.

South Africa have won almost every edition of this competition and are firm favorites to clinch the overall title they last won in 2019 when the African Championships were hosted by Zimbabwe at Donnybrook Raceway in Harare.

And this weekend, riders from Zimbabwe will be out to exorcise the ghost when they take to the track at Zone 7 track in Cape Town.

Team Zimbabwe will be banking on two of their most talented bikers Bako and Manuel to put more points on the board during the two days of action Saturday and Sunday.

The irresistible Bako will be carrying the Zimbabwean flag in the 125cc High School Class together with Jack Gobey and Declan Barrett.

Bako warmed-up for this weekend’s event by romping to victory in the 125cc High School Class during a regional event at Dirt Bronco in Krugersdorp, South Africa, last weekend.

And his father and manager, Brighton Bako, said his son’s victory at Dirt Bronco was a huge morale booster for him ahead of this weekend’s FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships in Cape Town.

A poster for the event, which starts August 11

“Emmanuel is currently in good shape and he has been preparing well for the African Championships during the whole of this week.

“He is just fired up and itching to get onto the track on Saturday to show his riding prowess.

“If he reproduces the form that he displayed at Dirt Bronco last weekend, I’m quite sure he will get another top place on the podium at the business end of the competition on Sunday.

“We are expecting fireworks from him this weekend, so bring it on!” Brighton Bako declared from Cape Town Thursday.

A polished performance is also expected from another talented Zimbabwean rider Manuel who will be flying the country’s flag in the MX2 Class.

Manuel has been in the trenches for a long time now and is a safe bet to get a place on the podium in this class.

Leigh-Anne Young is another young prospect for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe have also fielded a number of riders in the different classes at this weekend’s event where Riley Rocher and Tariq Shelton will be representing the country in the 85cc Class.

South Africa-based Regan Wasmuth will be Zimbabwe’s sole representative in the main MX1 Class while Kudzwai Chitsurura, Jayden Kerwin, Chris Mufanechiya and Sebastian Wright will do duty for the country in the 65cc Class.

Promising young riders Elroy Shamuyarira, Victor Nyamupfukudza, Cameron Fraser and Judah Sakupwanya have been entered to race in the juniors 50cc Class.

Old war-horses Warren Thorne, Doug Mellor, Scott Fraser and Marc Thompson are the country’s hopes in the Veterans Class while two other old heads Trevor Thixton and Lofty Versfeld will compete in the Masters’ section.

Leagh-Anne Young and Tadiwanashe Nyamupfukudza will fight for the top honours in the Ladies Class.

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