Home » Sports » New World Order in Motorsport

ONCE upon a time, the exciting motorcycling sport of motocross in Zimbabwe used to be dominated by the likes of Ewan MacMillan, the Thomas brothers Shane and Blaize, Trevor Thixton, the Whyte brothers Jamie and Shaun, Dougie Mellor, Roy Pistorius and Barry Frederiksen. These riders used to illuminate the race track at Donnybrook Raceway in Harare in the 1980s and 1990s with their superb riding skills which left spectators spellbound.

But all these riders have since hung up their helmets or are now riding socially as father-time has since caught up with them. This, however, has not left motocross poorer in Zimbabwe.

The past three years or so have seen a new breed of young, talented riders emerging from the shadows of these great motorcyclists.

In fact, there’s a “new world order” in Zimbabwean motocross as the once elitist sport is now being dominated by a host of both black and white riders who are just a marvel to watch as they do battle on the famous Donnybrook track in Harare.

For the past two decades, motocross was mainly the pastime of the rich.

The word rich as some would know it may not apply in this country, but certainly racing is for those who have a bit of money to play around with.

As such, the sport (of motocross) will perhaps be branded elitist although if you have been down to a race track of late, there is nothing elitist about it as it is now being enjoyed by scores of both young kids and old fellas who always make their way to Donnybrook once every month to test their motocross riding skills there.

Initially, there was some concern over the fact that motocross in Zimbabwe had not really spread its wings throughout the community or territory.

But for the past three or four years now, the old faithful have returned to the pits to keep the sport alive in the face of outrageous prices, declining sponsorship and sometimes a lack of spares.

Temba Mazvimbakupa, of the Zimbabwe Motorsport Federation, said it appeared that the biggest problem facing the sport was the lack of awareness and community responsibility by the large motorcycle assemblers and agents.

Admittedly, in the last couple of years, the number of motorcycles being assembled and imported has dropped but even in the better years, the large motorbike firms held back.

They made and still make their money from the sales of motorcycles to Zimbabweans and one would have thought they would play a large part in the development of the sport.

Instead it is the oil companies and a couple of firms and individuals who make accessories together with the small garages who are keeping this exciting sport alive in Zimbabwe.

And Mazvimbakupa had this to say: “Main circuit racing is attracting more and more high profile international sponsors who are teaming up with local competitors. They are sponsoring individuals and teams who are doing well on the track .

“Monroe Racing Team of South Africa are now the official sponsors of Zimbabwean speed queen Tiffany Fisher, who graced the podium last Sunday during the fist national main circuit race of the 2015 season.

“This coming Sunday action returns to the home of Zimbabwe motorsport – Donnybrook – where another breed of exciting young riders, including (female biker) Tanya Muzinda, will be in action on the motocross track.

“Motorsport is now the fastest growing sport in the country, attracting more and more sponsors, you certainly don’t want to be left behind. Come and join (one of the fastest) growing sports brand in Zimbabwe.”

True motocross, just like main circuit racing, is also attracting more and more young competitors who all have the backing of their parents who are really passionate about this sport.

Among the upcoming riders are the likes of Kuda Mhene (Jnr), Daiyaan Manuel, Ryan Masimo, Davin Cocker, Regan Wasmuth, Reagan Bond, Emmanuel Bako, Jordan Dewdney, Big “Bj” Chitima (Jnr), Ricky Whyte, Majaji Musariri, Jayden and Wade Ashwell, Ashley Thixton, Mudiwa Chigumba and the exciting female biker Tanya Muzinda.

All these riders are expected to be at Donnybrook tomorrow when the second motocross event of the year gets underway.

If the last motocross race meeting at Donnybrook is anything to go by, spectators will be seeing another close contest in tomorrow’s event.

In the opening race meeting of the 2015 season held on February 8, Cameron Thixton dominated the main MX1 Class in the absence of the country’s champion rider Jayden Ashwell but with the latter expected to be back on the track in tomorrow’s event, he could find it hard to collect points.

Josh and Broc Thomas will also be in contention in this class.

Daiyaan Manuel, who dominated the scene in the 65cc A Class the last time out, is unlikely to feature in tomorrow’s race meeting as he is still recuperating from a leg injury he sustained during the Southern African Challenge in Lusaka, Zambia, last month.

But Mhene (Jnr), Chitima (Jnr), Muzinda and Reagan Evans, who all had fine rides in the last event at Donnybrook, will all be back in contention in the 65cc A Class.

In fact, 11-year-old Mhene (Jnr), who is fast establishing himself as one of the top junior riders in Zimbabwe, is expected to have fully recovered from a “freak accident” which saw him injuring his leg at his school – Lomagundi College – earlier this week. Regan Wasmuth will be the “man” to watch in the 125cc Class in which he will be battling out for the top honours with Davin Cocker, Bradley Perry, Ryan Webb and Justin John.

In the 85cc A Class, it will be a continuation of the battle between Cocker, Reagan Bond and David Evans while another close contest between Emmanuel Bako, Travis da Silva, Jordan Dewdney and Lee Chigumba is expected in the 50cc A Class.

Racing tomorrow starts at 10am and entry fee has been pegged at US$5 per car for the spectators. There will be full bar and catering.

Source : The Herald