|Posted on September 2, 2019 at 9:20 AM|
Day 3 dawned with absolutely ideal conditions for motocross, clear skies and cool early morning ambient temperatures, which suited the riders, who took to the warm-up sessions, for a taste of what the Bogwheelers team had done to prep the track overnight and to ensure it would rip up into a perfect motocross battlefield. Speaking of warm-up... the temperature not only reached the 29°C mark but more importantly the heat of the track action, literally from the first gate dropping.
The 50cc class saw a continued dominance from the South African riders, Ethan Williamson and Christian Berington-Smith along with one of the biggest surprises from the first race, Maicom Tabula from Uganda. The three put up one of the best races on the day, although they battled a bit more than any other class with the sandy track and their small wheels. Williamson was able to go back to back with the first win, in heat 2 and his teammates Berrington-Smith and Jake van Schoor managed to force the Ugandan off the podium in heat 2.
Heat 3 saw Williamson get caught up in some traffic with the less experienced backmarkers being stuck in the now much ripped up surface at Donnybrook Park. This was Berrington-Smiths chance to pounce and show that his wrist injury was no longer a factor and finish top in the final race action. Tabula was arguably the most fired up to get back onto the podium and fended off the South African 50cc force behind him, to end 3rd just centimetres behind overall 50cc African Nations Champion Ethan Williamson, whose second in heat 3 was good enough to give the Capetonian his first major International title. Due to the dominance of the SA team in this class, it was inevitable that they would take the 50cc class honours for 2019.
In the 65cc class, day one winner Jordan van Wyk (SA), who usually follows up first heat wins with more victories, suddenly realised the magnitude of the event and its ability to bring other riders out of their shell and onto a platform to show their abilities. He fought valiantly, to say the least, but fellow compatriot Liam Botha stepped up for the weekend's second win. He too saw that this incredible platform to race on requires nonstop commitment to secure victory. In the final heat, a third different winner hit the top step and gave Alon Orland (Uganda) their first in the 65cc class. Shared spoils made the overall very close, but it was the consistency of the Ugandan that saw him take the individual title of African Nations Champion but the combined efforts of the South Africans saw them win the team title.
Arguably the best and closest race action of the 2019 competition came from the MX Lites, with some of the front runners not only matching lap times of the 125s but nearly as quick as the 250 class too. Daiyaan Manuel wanted some more wins, to back his first heat win with the first win of day 2. The Zimbabwean was so quick that he would also go on to obtain the overall fastest lap award in the junior classes. However, he was pushed hard by Ugandan Stav Orland in the final race. Orland seemed to be inspired by his brother Alon’s win just minutes before the last 85cc race and went on to win, creating history by becoming the first set of brothers to win back to back heats in Motocross of African Nations event. It was not enough though to beat Manuel for the individual title nor South Africa for the team championship.
The first rider to win 3 races out of the 3 heats was Zambian, Leah Heygate, who was unmatched in her class. The title was easily taken by the Zambian leaving South Africa's finest to fight for the latter part of the podium and secure SA another class title in the 2019 MXOAN. Credible performances coming out of their team riders Tiegan Reed and Jaydene de Lima as well as from the young Kenyan, Maxime Wahome, Hannah Watson (Zambia) and home nation favourite Celine Goodinson.
Vets and Masters were one of the biggest gates of the weekend and despite the efforts of all the other competing nations to beat the South Africans, it was not meant to be. Even with the big crash from the man seen as the favourite in the Vets, Brett Bircher, his teammates rallied and went on to win both the team and with his demise, Craig Kruger took the individual championship trophy.
The Masters did give Zambia one reprieve and their top man, Dale Holiday managed to win the individual but Team SA once again proved to be too strong for the rest and won the team title.
We previously mentioned the lack of fear when it comes to 125 riders and this was indeed evident in the races for honours in this class. SA rider, Dalton Venter won the second heat and backed up his first days win, but was pressured by the independent entry of Davin Cocker and local hero Tristan Grainger. In heat three Grainger hole shotted and opened up a big advantage and looked odd on for the win, but lady luck just never played her cards right for the Zimbabwean and he crashed out. He got up and finished the heat but that left the battle out front in the hands of Cocker, who was lying just behind his fellow compatriot, and Venter. Using his head and not willing to risk losing the chance of individual glory, Venter settled for second in the race and first in the class overall. Cocker to the first and only win for an independent rider on the weekend. Team South Africa also went on to take yet another team award for the 125 class.
The second 3 for 3 came in the MX2 class where South Africa's Kerim Fitzgerald dominated proceedings despite pressure from his teammate Josh Mlimi. Mlimi would take second in both races on the day also giving him a three our three in terms of seconds on the weekend. Regan Wasmuth (Zimbabwe) had to settle for three out of three thirds, but nearly lost the bottom step of the final podium to the other South African Johan Vogelesang with a lap to go. South Africa was once again too strong for any other nation and finished top of the team competition with Fitzgerald crowned 2019 African Nations champion.
Finally, in the premier MX1 battle, two riders stood out amongst the rest and the crowds lined the track to watch the Zimbabwean captain Jayden Ashwell, fight off the 2018 African Nations Champion Maddy Malan (South Africa). Ashwell’s goal was to turn his number 2 plate from 2018 into the number 1 plate for 2019 and on home soil too in front of his country. This turned into reality when he won heat 2 and sat comfortably behind the SA based Malan in heat 3, allowing Malan a top step finish and the fastest lap award for the senior classes.
Third overall would go to D'Artagnan Lobjoit (Botswana) but third in heat three ended up in the hands of an ecstatic Scott Heygate from Zambia.
One chink in the South African arsenal came in this class and the lack of their top gun Tristan Purdon, who attended the event supporting his team, but due to his aspirations for the National Championship in 2019 and sponsors contract obligations, he was unable to ride the event. This gave Zimbabwe not only the individual award for Ashwell, but also the team award and thus stopped the clean sweep from South Africa in the team awards.
Having secured all the rest, South Africa were crowned the 2019 FIM AFRICA Nations Champions, followed by Zimbabwe and a new powerhouse in Motocross on the continent Uganda!
Therefore, the decision to host the 2020 event in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, was a very good call by FIM Africa. The riders and teams were very excited about the prospect of being welcomed to Uganda in 2020 for the next exciting edition of the incredible story that is Motocross of African Nations.
For more information please feel free to contact Tel: +263 71 862 8705 or Email: [email protected]
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 protected]) or Jaco Deysel ([email protected])
Issued on behalf of Motorsport Zimbabwe by Greg Moloney
Photography Supplied by: #FAST
Categories: FIM Africa News, FIM News
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