Zambian Motocross and Enduro Riders have recently achieved outstanding results on and off the track. We see great potential and aim to provide opportunities, especially in 2024, for the Riders and Zambia to shine. Uplifting the profile of Motocross and Enduro in Zambia and inspiring young Zambians to reach their goals.
Her jaw clenches, staring ahead at the first bend. The ground starts to thunder, each rumble, a vicious threat. The war zone is splayed out, ready to devour those brave enough to try. The courageous child in her pounds on the walls of her heart. The rumbling grows louder. 5 seconds to go. The gates open; a mother trembles with her nails between her teeth. Let the games begin.
“Thank you all for being here. Let’s go out there and give it our all. One Zambia! One Nation!” Smiles beam and hands clap as she looks around, memorising the crinkle of familiar eyes, hoping they’ll still be there when the weekend is over. It’s an honour to support, compete and represent their country together. Sharing the same goals, wearing the same colours, living the same dream. This year in Cape Town, for the Motocross of African Nations.
She races round each dreaded corner, braces against each jump in the sky and each hesitant turn of the throttle. But, still, they keep coming, one by one, blurred spots of colour flashing past until all she can see ahead of her is the shine of the motorbikes. The rush of the race begins to fade, and her erratic heart starts to slow. Yet, no… she was told: ‘go out there and give it your all’. Is this it? This couldn’t be how it ends… She did the early mornings, the ‘one more rep’s. It’s only her fault for aiming for the stars and falling before she could even leave the ground.
Overwhelmed, frustrated, and disappointed, she returns to her Zambian team where words of comfort and encouragement coax a wavering smile from her previously downturned lips. They all walk together and gather near the medic tent – a fellow junior rider had a bad crash. Although their spirits are fragile, they stand together and attempt to ignite one another’s hearts regardless. There, her previously extinguished fire starts to splutter, burning courage and hope where there wasn’t before.
“All right, boys and girls, this is the last round. Give it all you’ve got. You need to start taking the inside line in the corners and being more aggressive. Leah: really good start, keep it up. Watch the breaking bumps. As we’ve said, each of your names are on your bikes, that’s who you are racing. You are not riding somebody else’s race. Race the track. And, finally, do not leave here with regrets!” For the last few races of the day, they gather by the side-lines, cheering for Zambia, proudly waving their flag, screaming ‘one Zambian. One Nation!’, propelling their team to produce the best results they can.
She hangs on, knees clenched to the bike. Her hand is stuck on the throttle. Faster. She’s the first around the corner. Holeshot! She switches to the inside line and tears down the first bend, letting the jump propel her through the air. She can do this. 15 laps. Let’s go. Shift a gear down. Break. Breathe. Angle the bike through the uphill bend. Shift a gear higher. Stand up. Hold tight with your knees. She lets the bike flow over the bumps. She can hear the other riders’ provoked engines growling behind her, inching closer and closer. Nevertheless, still, she dances, up the hill and in the air. Pushing faster. Moving. On and on. She will not give up on herself. The chequered finish flag waves ahead of her as she rides over the last jump, pumping her fist in the air. Proud to be wearing these colours.
At the end of the day, there is only us and our relentless hope: reluctantly dancing, trying to avoid stepping on each other’s toes, and occasionally failing. And I know people quiet the song, pause the dance – but when you go home and fall asleep, hope will gently shake you awake and you’ll have no choice but to dance again, your footsteps echoing with the weight of it all.
This year the MXoAN was hosted by Motor Sport South Africa(MSA) in the beautiful coastal city of Cape Town, South Africa at the Zone 7 track in the Cape Farmland area. This mammoth competition attracted representation from 11 countries across the African continent amounting to the involvement of over 200 participants. Some of the countries who participated this year were Tanzania, Namibia, and Madagascar which presented some strong competition. Throughout the competition the excitement was palpable. It was impressive to see that the sport expanded so far across the continent and the participation illustrated the level of interest and pride that made many travel from afar.
Zambia Motor Sport Association sent a delegation of 23 riders to participate in this annual event. The terrain was challenging as its very different from what the riders were exposed to at the Zambian MX race facilities and the competition was fierce. Regardless, our riders gave it their best.
Naturally, the highlights for our team was, the strong performance of Leah Heygate, who won her the Individual Ladies Title for the 7th consecutive year whilst being the only Zambian lady rider on the team she also managed to take the 2nd place trophy of the Ladies Country Overall. Master riders Dale Holiday and Nick Heygate finished first and 1st and 3rd in their class as Individual Overall and secured a 1st place victory in the Masters Team Overall. MX1 AND MX2 both won 3rd place for Team Overall. The junior riders did not achieve any podium positions however gained invaluable experience for the future. It’s impressive to see the rising talent in these classes grow. Through all the victories Zambia walked with the 3rd place trophy, whilst South Africa and Zimbabwe claimed 1st and 2nd position respectively. Well done Team Zambia and all other countries!
The competition as a whole was well organized. From the initial online registration to the prize-giving ceremony, all was well planned, thoroughly thought through, and punctual.
A massive well done and thank you to Motor Sport South Africa for organizing and hosting us.
Next year the event is destined for Morocco. Already, Zambia MX is looking forward to representing MXoAN 2024.