Zim top fe­male mo­tocross rider Tanya in Bel­gium

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Collin Ma­tiza Harare Bu­reau

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.

Tanya Muzinda

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