Race day lived up to all expectations and there was not one class that failed to deliver world-class racing action.
More importantly though a lot of people were impressed with how well the track held up and despite a few little breaks to get some water down, before the premier classes, due to the time of year and the lack of rainfall, the amount of dust that started to be a small problem but one that Zimbabwe Motocross Federation and Bogwheelers team were incredible in sorting out and not to mention their ability to get it done quickly and also in order not to lose any time on the day, which ran like clockwork.
The day started with a few demonstration races from the young PeeWee riders who put on a great little race that got the big crowd ready for the action that ensued after the little bikes went and parked for the day. They were followed by the 50cc class which saw a South African team dominance, initially with Ethan Williamson leading the pack out the gates followed by teammates Christian Berrington-Smith and birthday boy Jake van Schoor. The big surprise of the day was Maicom Tabula (Uganda) who set to business and saw off both Berrington-Smith and Van Schoor to finish second behind Williamson. Berrington-Smith despite his wrist I just hung on for 3rd.
Another South Africa vs Uganda battle was fought out in the 65cc too, with Jordan van Wyk (South Africa) continued on his success he has seen over the last few rounds of his own national championship and went on to win the heat, beating his teammate Liam Botha, who in turn fended off a last-ditch effort from Ugandan Alon Orland.
The first Zimbabwean victory came in the MXLites with Daiyaan Manuel taking the first heat after a big fight with Ugandan Stav Orland and SAs Luke Grundy. One big loss to the class was Emmanuel Bako, when the doctors ruled Zimbabwe’s big hope out with a broken collar bone after FP1.
There was no surprise, however, in the ladies' class, with Leah Heygate (Zambia) taking her home nations first win of the weekend with a flag to flag victory. But and it was a big but, for second place as a three-way fight was seen between the South Africa lady riders Jayden’s De Lima, Tiegan Reed and Jenna Bohling, who ended in that order but swapped out at several times per lap and was definitely one of the big highlights in terms of race action from day one.
It was quite unique to see how the Vets and Masters played out because literally from start to finish the top 5 Vets ran as top five overall, and the top five Masters followed them in 6th to 10th place overall as well. South African Trio Brett Bircher, Craig Kruger, and Stuart Liang turned out to be the top 3 in the Vets and Dale Holiday (Zambia) beat the stalwart of this event South African Geoff Den ( who has now raced in every MXoAN since inception in 1999) and Tony Riddell (South Africa).
In the 125 class we saw the first of the few independent riders hit the podium, with Davin Cocker taking the last step of it, just bettered by an incredible ride from Tristan Grainger(Zimbabwe) who also was not far off South Africa’s Dalton Venter who went on to top the podium in the “NO FEAR” class. On a separate note and one worth mentioning was a top-six ride from Ugandan Fortune Sentamu, who had his best finish ever.
The top two in MX2 are not only countrymen but also teammates back home in South Africa too, and after there outing here in December for the end of season Summer Series, also run by the Bogwheelers, their track knowledge definitely paid dividends and it was first place for Kerim Fitzgerald and second for his Red Bull KTM teammate Josh Mlimi. Zimbabwe’s hope came through for the 3rd place and Regan Wasmuth was not too far off but will be looking to catch the two South Africans in tomorrow heat 2 and 3.
One of the best finishes for team Kenya came from Rolf Khiara who finished a credible 5th overall in heat one.
The hype around the MX1 class was not unfounded, but the pressure on the riders eventually caught up with them, well SAs Maddy Malan, who had an early crash snapping his peak off his helmet and firing the young rider into attack mode. Everyone expected a big fight between Malan And Zimbabwe’s Jayden Ashwell, who also seem to be caught out by the pressure and had to follow the unexpected but also highly underrated Zimbabwean Josh Goby, whomhole shotted and lead for three laps. He was eventually caught by his countryman Ashwell, who went on to win and by Malan who finished second after having to fight through nearly the entire field of 450s. Botswana had its first podium in the first 450 race, with D’Artagnan Lobjoit coming through with about 5laps to go to finish 3rd.
After a day like today, one can only wonder what day two is going to bring with two heats of racing still to come on the final day of action from the 2019 Motocross of African Nations at Donnybrook Park in Harare, Zimbabwe. We can’t wait to show the world how strong African Motocross is and with the close to 100k people reached via our social media-based Live Stream Commentary and video posted onto the Zimbabwe Moto X page and shared on the other three platforms we used today, it seems people all around the world were also impressed with the effort put in by ZMF and the team behind day one of this spectacle.
And we are ready to go for tomorrow’s action too...
For those looking to get to the event, Donnybrook Park is on Arcturus Road in Harare, and race action starts on Sunday at 08:30.
- Entry Fee is ZWL10 and kids U12 Free.
For more information please feel free to contact Tel: +263 71 862 8705 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2019 FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations is proudly sponsored and assisted by:
- FIM Africa
- Bogwheelers MX Club
- Tandamanzi Drilling
- Stumble Bloc
- Union Hardware
- Yamaha Marine Centre
- Ice Feed
For any other information please contact Jamie Kerwin (email@example.com) or Jaco Deysel (webmaster@fim-Africa.com)
Issued on behalf of Motorsport Zimbabwe by Greg Moloney
Photography Supplied by: #FAST