The African Motocross championships were a marvel; according to host country federation head Dipu Ruparelia.
Uganda played host to the FIM Africa Motocross of Africa Nations Championships at the Victoria Race Track in Garuga.
The continental championship was returning after two years of disruption from the Covid pandemic.
Riders from South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe joined hosts Uganda to put up exciting category races in the two days.
However, South Africa came top with the overall victory as well as individual titles in the respective classes.
South Africa registered victories in four of the seven categories.
Jayden Proctor (MX1), Callan Broskie (MX2), Breece Romans (MX125), and Aiden Retief (MX65) were all sublime as they asserted themselves throughout; sweeping their respective categories to claim African MX titles.
South Africa collected 654 points but it is the victory that could easily have been snatched by Zambia.
Zambia finished second just one point behind South Africa.
Two victories; in the veteran category by Dale Holiday as well as the ladies class by Leah Heygate helped Zambia to a successful outing.
Hosts Uganda settled for third position overall.
Uganda’s finish was spiced up by Malcom Gift Sebuguzi’s victory in the MX lite class.
Sebuguzi topped two heats and came second in one. It was however a hotly contested class with South Africa’s Ronald Graven pushing the Ugandan to the limits.
Team captain Alestair Blick finished third in MX1, Miguel Katende came second with a heat win in MX65, Fatuh Kiggundu settled for second in MX2, and James Akena second in veteran class.
“Our expectations were to come in top three. There was a battle between South Africa and Zambia but at least we managed the top three.
“South Africa had all their top riders and we tried to battle with them for the points,” said Alestair Blick.
Kenya finished fourth followed by Botswana and Zimbabwe respectively.
Next year’s round of FIM Africa will be hosted in South Africa.
The much awaited continent’s top showpiece in motocross, the Mountain Dew FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations (MXOAN) Championship came to close over the weekend at Victoria Raceway Track, Garuga.
Hosts Uganda managed a third place finish overall whilst South Africa (SA) and Zambia dominated the first two positions respectively.
However, there was alot left to be desired by parents of debutant riders, who lined up to represent their country.
For debutants, it was another experience all together as some parents narrate.
“Having my son represent his country, was a great honor and indeed a big experience for him,” says two-time National rally champion ‘Super lady’ Susan Muwonge, mother to Filbert Lawrence Muwonge.
“Him finishing 10th on his debut, for team ‘Kacungwa’ its impressive, as there were many riders in his class and was racing against them for the first time,” explained Muwonge.
Filbert’s manager, Pius Ssentamu added; “I credit our rider Filbert Lawrence Muwonge, for his persistence and resilience, he adapted swiftly to the all through muddy terrain, and put up a pretty good performance.”
Competiting with different countries never raised any phobia, since Filbert has taken part in CAC, and aced a couple races across the borders.
“With this in mind, an Apple never falls far from the mother tree,” said the jovial manager.
Just as the Muwonges, Joshua Muwanguzi, father to Abigail Muwanguzi one of the five riders that represented Uganda says, he of course felt so good seeing his daughter race, finish third overall in 50CC seniors, and walk home with a trophy.
“I am happy for my daughter getting a third place on her first country representation, I am anxiously looking forward to 2023 edition in South Africa,” said the broadly smiling Muwanguzi.
Rashid Makumbi, father to Ashram Makumbi and Jamairah Makumbi starts with outlining challenges that included; foreign team syndication where countries like South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe fielded riders with respective roles.
“They had pacesetters, defenders and front runners, thus the reason why South Africa and Zambia dominated the top three positions,” explained Makumbi.
He then added that, riders from the outstanding Nations had proper competition bikes, with wet weather tyres, suspension, and sprays that would see their bikes not stuck with mud holds.
Makumbi confessed that his daughter Jamairah faced biggest number of riders for the first time in her class. This created inner fear in her which psychologically affected her with even the muddy track on Saturday.
He recommended team training, team work, unity and asked fellow parents to avoid jeopardising the sport with politics.
Great performance was witnessed from Larry Sekamwa, who rode as ultility rider for team Uganda.
“It’s unfortunate my son was underrated by by those who picked the score riders for Team Uganda, from far gate and would only chase front pack, personally I knew he would excel, I am actually not pleased with third place finish just as he is, he would have done better,” said Eddie Sekamwa, who doubles as a rider parent and proprietor, Kyakaigo Sports Arena in Fort Portal.
He added, more lessons were learnt from the race itself, they will be much prepared for 2023 as a team.
Team manager Uganda veteran rally co-driver, George Ssemakula who is also a rider parent, trainer and director Semka Riding Academy says, the event seemed big for all the debutants.
“It’s had big number of starters in all classes, which put alot of pressure on our riders.”
“The track itself was quite challenging to the kids, it was pilled a lot, muddy with water splashes, which was a must design by FIM officials after safety and under prepared track stories had been raised,” Ssemakula outlined.
“We however had some outstanding performances from our riders right from the Pee class and MX Veterans.”
Uganda’s future in Motocross is promising and brighter, as confessed by FIM-AFRICA president, Marco Comona in his interview at end of event at Garuga.
Victors South Africa are the next hosts for 2023 MXOAN edition, with the continental body FIM-Africa pushing organisers to have it run in nearest states of Johannesburg or Pretoria, at dates to be outed soon.
Uganda’s MX team has once again put a stamp on its intentions of winning FIM Africa Central African Motocross challenge title, after a two-year covid-19 hiatus.
Uganda hosted the first round of the regional championship at the Victoria Racetrack in Garuga over the Easter weekend.
A dominant performance saw Uganda garner 1245 points while Kenya could only manage to collect 566 points.
Tanzania the other East African country missed out on final nations classification, as they are yet to be affiliated to the world motorcycle body (FIM).
Living to their billing and didn’t disappoint the big crowds that turned up for the event, were the Katende brothers, Miguel and Jonathan who dominated the MX65 class with a 1-2 position finish.
Uganda dominated all junior classes from 50cc to 85cc as well as the MX2, MX1, and Veteran classes.
Jamaira Makumbi won the 50cc, beating Kenya’s Dylan Hatanga by 13 points, the class defending National champion Filbert Muwonge managed to finish third on his debut with 47 points.
Jerome Mubiru who came second on day one, took command of the MX85 class, winning the last two heats on day two to beat Kenya’s Ryan Tiren. Uganda’s Mubarak Ssenoga Mayanja finished third overall in the same class.
Kenya’s only consolation was in the MX125. Alex Kandie was dominant with Peter Magwa coming in third behind Uganda’s Apollo Milton Akena.
Kenya raised up again in the Ladies’ class with a 1-2 top finish through their riders Natalie Kandie and Ivan Yongo.
It was a hotly contested affair in MX2 that Kylan Wekesa commanded from the go as he also put in a row against MX1 riders Maxime Van Pee and new team captain Alestair Blick Jnr.
Tanzania had a two-man team representation after arriving on race day, and could only participate in two heats. Massoud Seif Khamis and Nassor Said Mohamed finish third and fourth respectively.
Uganda now puts her focus on preparing a formidable team that will represent the country in the continental championship, FIM Motocross of African Nations (MXOAN) set to be held in August at the same venue, Garuga Entebbe.
The growth rate and engagement of women in motocross is quite impressive for Uganda that’s in line with hosting two international events in 2022.
At race fronts, in the Junior classes, Abigail Katende took command of 50CC Jnrs waiting to be crowned champion.
She(Katende) didn’t easily sail through to winning a class title on a total of 285 points but had fierce battles with Faith Deedan and Mary Nakabugo until the last round.
This saw Abigail scope two tittles, as the best 50cc Jnr and best lady rider for the same class.
Battling with boys in the 50cc elite, Jamairah Makumbi proved mightier until the last race, when she only lost the title by nine points to class victor Filbert Muwonge who gunned a total of 279 points. Muwonge got into a nail-biting situation when Makumbi won the second heat, and could only best breathe when he won the last heat of the three.
Abigail Mwagala had a clean sheet celebrating her title victory in 65CC ladies as she had no direct competitor, but try to match the top boys in 65.
The Lato Milk-sponsored Katende brothers, seemed unbeatable in 65 categories, as they dominated the 1-2 positions in almost all the season races,2021.
More talent prospects were witnessed in 85 with Jerome Mubiru dominating, and Shamilah Kateete commanding ladies, as her big sister Shadia Kateete commanded 125 categories.
Kylan Wekesa was fully blazing all season in 125CC, Paddy Roldin Blick in MX2 as his elder brother Alestair Blick Jnr who also juggles around motor rally navigation with their father Arthur Blick Jnr won MX1 title, and latter won veteran class after only participating in three races from a sabbatical.
2022 seems promising with more talents under recruitment.
Published by: FMU Media Photography by: Innocent Mutaawe