Motorsport: 'Paddy Blick was a star'

By Fred Kaweesi

Motorsport has grown from rallying to motocross, enduro, 4x4 off-road, etc thanks largely to the solid foundation left behind by the late Paddy Blick.

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MOTORSPORT

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Inaugural Armed Forces Appreciation Motocross Championship

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Motorsport has registered incredible success down the years. Over the last three decades, the sport has grown into a huge brand with an enthusiastic audience close to over 15,000 people at motorsports venues every weekend. The sport has grown from rallying to motocross, enduro, 4x4 off-road, buggy championships, karting and vintage runs — thanks largely to the solid foundation left behind by the late Paddy Blick — widely regarded as the founding father of the sport in the country. It is now 15 years since he passed on. In a 2014 interview, Paddy’s sister MAGGIE KIGOZI opened up to FRED KAWEESI on the life of Paddy and what the celebration means to the Blick family and Ugandan sports in general. Here some excerpts from that interview:

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What made Paddy special in motorsport?

Paddy, my eldest brother, was a superb motorcycle rider. He also brought what this generation calls ‘cool’ or ‘swagger’ to the sport. He was very handsome with a superb figure which he kept well-toned by jogging, bicycle riding and playing football. He was a vet by training from the University of Illinois.

Locally, his main competitor was my other brother Arthur. Fans filled the stadium to cheer either one or the other or both. They were role models to many young boys who aspired to be like them.

You used to race as well. Tell us about your experience as a rider back then?

I was a sportswoman. I was the junior tennis champion and also the African women’s tennis cham-pion. I owned a 120cc motorcycle that I rode to school and later to university. This made me an experienced rider but I always found racing hot, dusty and noisy. I therefore participated only occa-sionally. I remember winning a few races even against the men.

I was a crowd favourite. I remember walking from the paddocks after winning a race to where my parents sat in the pavilion. Spectators kept giving me money in coins. I filled all my pockets and hands before pouring it all in my mother’s big bag. The crowd loved the fact that a woman won the race against experienced rid-ers.

How did it feel being the first female rider and competing in a dominantly male sport?

Competing with men is the norm for me. I had four brothers and no sisters. Since I owned a bike from senior five when I was 17 and rode every-where, I was a very competent rider. Technology does not know gender. With a good machine, I could compete and often win.

How did you decide to end your motorsport career?

It was never a career for me — it was an efficient, cheap mode of transport. It ended when I left the country in President Amin’s time. My husband had fled for security reasons and I followed. In Zambia, I did not take up the sport again.


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