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FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations 2012

Posted on August 31, 2012 at 3:25 AM

 

 


How Uganda won the Africa Motocross Championship

Team Uganda Getting Ready for the Race

 

On Sunday 26 August 2012, Uganda was crowned the Africa Champions after accumulating most points during the FIM-Africa Motocross of Africans cup that was held in Busiika Uganda Motorsports Arena. This must have come as a pleasant surprise to the fans who attended in their multitudes to support Team Uganda that was up against an immensely talented Zimbabwe team and Team Kenya that has made Uganda a second home having competed here several times during the FIM East and Central Motocross Challenge events.


 

Uganda’s final announcement as the Africa champions 2012 must have come as a huge surprise to most fans having spend the whole day listening to  “Simudzai mureza wedu weZimbabwe”  beat only being interrupted occasionally by Kenya’s  “Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu” and only once by the Zambian Anthem.  South Africa’s lone ranger, the little giant Cameron Durow did a solo effort to represent “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” as he got the first podium place in all but one heat of the MX65. The 9 year old did with his bike what Ugandans only watch in fiction movies and his free-style riding was reminiscent of the X-Games on DSTV. Probably that’s the only reason why Zambian Regan Wasmuth beat him in the first heat, as he lost some time wooing fans to his one man team. Am sure Uganda will never forget him.

 

All this while, the Uganda Anthem was not played. At least not during the races. And when it was finally played at the close of the races, it was euphoric. It was the first time since my primary school days to see so many Ugandans stand still as the Oh, Uganda... beat filled the air. Everybody stopped and I felt tears burning my eyes the same way it happened back in 2005 as I watched Inzikuru run for gold in Helsinki.

However, the question on most Ugandan fans’ lips has been, “how come?” At the prize giving ceremony, when Arthur Blick was handed the trophy, I saw signs of disbelief on the faces of some dignitaries present and the beautiful usher I was standing with let it out to me, “of course Uganda had to fix this, right?” she said, as she passed the trophy to the Hon. Minister of State for Sports Charles Bakkabulindi to hand it over to the team captain. Although, this lady was attending motocross events for the first time, she had followed the event closely and was aware, the whole day; Uganda’s National Anthem was not played during the heats.

 

Am sure her question reflected on the minds of many of the thousands of fans that had thronged Busiika, not helped by the fact that in motocross all the competitors’ positions are gauged by the first person to complete the heat time plus one lap.

The explanation

 

This has therefore prompted me to explain a little to followers of motocross, how Uganda eventually became Africa champions without necessarily having to win a single heat. This event was attended by 6 countries including Zimbabwe 13 riders, Kenya 21 riders, Zambia 4 riders, South Africa 1 rider, Ivory Coast 1 rider and the hosts Uganda 40 riders.  However, Ivory Coast did not score as they did not qualify.

Although, there has been a lay explanation that Uganda only managed to be champions due to the big numbers of competitors that were fielded in each category, this is not exactly true.

 

In this championship, points are considered for the best 2 individuals in every run for ever competing team. Also to be considered is the fact that points in motocross do not reduce significantly as they regress from 25 for the heat winner, 22 runners up, 20,19,18,17,16,15,14,13 and so on. Uganda’s best two positions were mainly 2nd and 3rd and many 4th positions than any other attending team per heat per category. This helped Team Uganda accumulate most points while Kenya and Zimbabwe who tied on 610 points had many 1st positions but their 2nd best riders usually came several places behind Ugandans.

 

This is the basic reason Uganda managed to win this championship by ensuring high point positions for every run without needing to win it.

The issue of numbers came in handy where Uganda managed to field more than 2 riders per category thus forming protection for the fast riders and making it difficult for other teams to run over them. Teams like Zambia and South Africa could not field riders in some categories.

Not a fluke

 

While many fans did not understand how Team Uganda managed to be champions, there has been debate in equal measure on whether or not Arthur Blick and his team had a genuine chance against especially Zimbabweans had they committed to win this. The fact is Zimbabwe was immensely talented and their bikes are about the best one can find on the continent and with South African riders failing to make it, Zimbabwe saw themselves  as the real bet for this championship. They were however un prepared for the preparations Uganda had made as a team.

 

Uganda has had training sessions this year. From the time FMU learnt that they had finally won the bid to host this event after 10 years of trying, lobbying started to ensure that some experienced trainers set foot on the pearl to ensure that the team can ably compete with seasoned champions of the continent. In March 2012, the Motocross Clubs, Speedway and UMX got in touch with German champion Jurgen Kuppers who spent a week doing some good work with the riders in Garuga. He put a lot of emphasis on the youngsters and reported immense progression in the 50cc, 65cc, 85cc and the MX125.

 

He later returned in July to follow up with this training.

In May, the Federation of Motorsports Clubs of Uganda contacted FIM for a professional trainer. After a lot of lobbying, a former world champion from the Netherlands John van den Berk was sent over and he too did a week in Uganda. His concentration was on Busiika track as that would be the venue for the event.

 

Therefore, Uganda is Africa Motocross champion on merit through hard work and investment. We hope other stakeholders like government and sponsors pick on this and get associated with winners by injecting considerable resources. After all motorsports are the single most crowd pullers on a given weekend of all sports in this country. Isn’t that something!!

See Team Results.

 

Report by: Reynolds Kibira Kadok

FMU-General Secretary 2012

reyonldsk[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk

 

 

Categories: FIM Africa News, FMN News Uganda

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