By Johnson Were
There were mixed trends in motocross this year that had great impact towards the performance of riders both on the local and international scene and most especially the national team in the regional and the continental events.
Generally there was steady improvement in standards among the young riders and their numbers went up. This also contributed to the good performance of Team Uganda on the international scene.
Alistair Blick had the best season ever, beating his traditional rival Ali Omar who has ruled the 85cc category for two consecutive years, locally and internationally.
Team work and parents will
The success of these young riders depended much on the will of parents who were ready to go a step further and invest, not only money in purchasing bikes, but also time to bring these future stars to competitions.
Machi Farooqui, Aslan Farooqi’s mother, called it modeling the child into a bright future and that is why they invested heavily in the kid.
“I can assure you that sportsmen are very bright once nurtured well and for that reason we invest in our child and I train him myself,” Machi explained. “The only problem is that corporate firms don’t understand the difference sports can create in their business, so they undermine sports and don’t want to sponsor activities. We who know do invest there,” Machi, who doubles as manager at Safe Solutions, added.
Other parents like Arthur Blick, Joseph Mwangala, Major Muhammad Kiggundu, Ali Omar, Byaruhanga, Van Pee and others believe that Government has not done enough for sports in this country and would wish to see its intervention by waiving taxes on sports equipment, for example.
Ali Omar Snr, the father of Wazir, Waleed and Ali together with Nawaz Farooqi the father Aslan explained that a parent must part with no less than sh1m in a local event on a single rider if they want good results.
“You have to part with $20,000 (sh49m) a year for your child to compete favourably in both international and local events,” Nawaz stated.
“It’s incredible that we spend such money on the sport but that is the reality. A new bike goes for $7000(sh 17.5m), on top of spare parts, and protective gear for the rider. We must also cater for transport for both local and international events,” Nawazi added.
The riders registered for competition rose to 73 from less than 50 in the previous seasons. There was a marked increase in the junior classes of 50cc (17 riders), 65cc (10), MX 85 (5 riders).
The emergence of four female riders, Isabella Blick, Esther Mwangala, Amina Zawedde and Shadia Nakibuuka, in the 50cc and 65cc classes will lay the foundation to the building of a female riders’ fraternity.
Whereas some federations could not honour their calendars, motocross successfully honoured both their local and international calendars. A number of professional instructors were invited and the skills they gave to the young riders contributed much to their achievements.
This could be the way to go if they are to continue dominating in the region.
South African Nick De Wit, Daniels Sedlak, Jurgen Coopers, among others, were in the country and trained riders in different skills which paid off.
Trophies in the cabinet
In the FIM Africa Central African Motocross Championship and the FIM Africa Championship, the young riders excelled with Waleed Omar winning the 50cc category, while Fortune Ssentamu, Wazir Omar and Paddy Blick produced a 1-2-3 finish in the 65cc class.
Alistair Blick won in the 85cc while Ashraf Ndikulwange and Maxime Van Pee came second and third overall in the MX125 and MX1 respectively.
Despites all the achievements in motocross, internal wrangles have started emerging and if not handled well, will tear the sport apart.
It is upon such misunderstandings that some riders did not travel to Nairobi for final round of the FIM-Central Africa Motocross Challenge, eventually failing Uganda to retain the title they won in 2012.
The 2013 stars
Waleed won the FIM-Central Africa (FIM-CAC) motocross championship in the 50cc category in Nairobi. He also climaxed the season with the national title in the same category.
Nsumba won bronze in the FIM-Africa championship in South Africa and finished second in the national championship only after failing to compete in the final round following his invitation to Zimbabwe super motocross series the same weekend.
Alistair Blick won the FIM-Central Africa Motocross Challenge in Nairobi and went on to win the national championship in the 85cc category.
Fortune Ssentamu won silver in the Africa championship in South Africa, and also won the FIM-CAC challenge before sealing the national title.
After Arthur Blick Jnr’s retirement in the MX1 Open class, Asaf Natan would inherit the winning form having been runners-up to Blick several times. But this was not the case.
He competed in a few events in which he even did not live to expectation, leaving Jesse Kamstra and Yasin Bukala to rule the category which climaxed with Karmstra being crowned national champion.
Like Natan, Bakunda limped in all the championship events he participated in. Even in the absence of Blick and Maxime Van Pee in the MX1 category Bakunda didn’t live to the expectation.
After Yannick Duyck elevating to the MX1 category, the expectation was for Tamale to rule the 125cc category, but youngsters Fatuh Kiggundu and Talha Kiggundu reigned instead.