Zim top female motocross rider Tanya in Belgium
TOP Zimbabwean female motocross rider Tanya Muzinda finally teamed-up with her international manager Stefy Bau of Italy in Lommel, Belgium, at the weekend as she moved a gear up in her historic monthlong tour of Europe in which she will take part in a number of high profile international races.
Tanya (11) left Zimbabwe two weeks ago accompanied by her parents Tawanda and Adion; and her first port of call was Bologna in Italy where she took part in the 2016 Italian Motocross Championship on July 24 where she competed against some top junior and senior female riders from Europe.
In fact, all the junior and senior female riders were grouped together and there was a strong field of 25 bikers with Tanya being one of 12 Under-17 competitors in this section.
Riding her brand new KTM 85cc bike, Tanya found the going tough in her new surroundings in Bologna, finishing in 25th position in the race that was won by the four-time World Women Champion, Kiara Fontanesi of Italy, who was on a Honda.
Fontanesi (22) won the women’s world title in motocross in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. She is also the first woman to win the world championship four times in a row.
Although Tanya finished last in last Sunday’s race in Bologna, she took solace in the fact that she became the first female rider from this part of the world to compete on European soil and had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of taking part in the same race with a World Champion — Fontanesi of Italy.
Tanya’s father, Tawanda, said his daughter “was chuffed” by the experience she got in racing against a seasoned rider like Fontanesi.
“Tanya had a great experience but the track at Bologna was totally different from what she was used to (in Zimbabwe) and compounded by the long trip from Zimbabwe and being the youngest among the girls who were riding bigger bikes and who are professional racers in Europe where they race in Grand Prix, she did a good job and now we are waiting for the next event in Belgium at the weekend,” Tawanda Muzinda said from Bologna last week.
After racing in Bologna last Sunday, Tanya and her parents flew to Eindhoven, Netherlands, where they stayed for two days before they were joined there on Thursday by her United States-based international manager, Bau of Italy, who flew there from her base in Florida.
Bau is a former three-time world women's motocross champion. And upon her arrival in the Netherlands on Thursday afternoon, Bau, who is facilitating Tanya’s month-long tour of Europe, quickly took “Team Tanya” to their “new base” in Lommel, Belgium, where the young Zimbabwean rider was the centre of attraction for the Belgian and European media at the weekend.
On Saturday, Tanya had interviews with the European media ahead of another Grand Prix event and she was also involved in a video game of motocross in which the Belgians were promoting and had asked her to be part of ahead of this last weekend’s big competition.
Speaking to our sister paper The Herald from Lommel at the weekend, Tanya’s father, Tawanda, said Bau and another volunteer from Qatar, who specifically flew from the Middle East to be part of Team Tanya, have now put up a training programme for his daughter after having assessed the race she took part in in Bologna; and everything is being done “in a smart and professional way”.
“We are currently in Lommel and I think we will be based here until next weekend but we will be shuttling between Netherlands and Belgium for both training and competitions, all this courtesy of Bau, her Italian connections and Axo, who are now Tanya’s international sponsors,” Tawanda Muzinda said.
Apart from meeting the Belgian and European media ahead of the weekend’s Grand Prix in Lommel, Tanya signed a helmet that was worn by world men’s motocross champion Tony Cairoli of Italy during this event.
In fact, Tanya was Cairoli’s “guest of honour” during the weekend’s Grand Prix in Lommel.
Cairoli is an Italian eight-time Grand Prix motocross world champion and widely regarded as one of the greatest motocross riders of all time.