Young wins in Botswana
JUNIOR Zimbabwean female motocross rider LeighAnne Young wowed other motosport fanatics when she scooped the 125cc Class title during the final round of the Southern Africa Championships series which was recently held in Francistown, Botswana.
Young’s remarkable feat saw her becoming the first ever female rider from Zimbabwe to win the regional motocross title.
The event in Botswana was the fourth and final round of this year’s Southern Africa Challenge series whose other rounds were held during the year in Zambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe; and there were more than 34 participants.
And 15-year-old Young won all her six races in the Southern Africa Challenge series in which she amassed a total of 120 points to emerge victorious in the 125cc Class.
Young commented that she was proud to be crowned the Southern Africa Challenge’s 125cc Class female champion considering she had stopped participating regularly.
“I’m very happy to be the first young female rider from Zimbabwe to receive this title.
“It feels so good especially given that I was skipping many events because of school commitments.
“I’m determined to start being competitive from this point onwards and want to participate in as many events as I can and I also owe it to my dad (Ray) who has always made sure I prepare before every race and supported me through every practice session,” she said.
Leigh-Anne is now looking forward to take part in the Zimbabwe Summer Series at Donnybrook in Harare in December where international and regional riders are expected to participate.
Meanwhile, there was no stopping another young Zimbabwean motocross rider Jordan Dewdney during the same final round of the 2016 Southern Africa Challenge series in Botswana where he swept the board in the 50cc Class. Fresh from finishing third overall in the 50cc Class in the tough seven-round 2016 South African National Championship Series, Dewdney was a just a ball of fire in the fourth and final round of the Southern Africa Challenge event in Botswana, winning all the three heats in the same class to take the first step on the podium.
Dewdney was just a joy to watch as he took to the laps and jumps in style, giving spectators something to savour after completing a lap.
But since the nine-year-old Lilfordia Primary School pupil missed the Zambian round of the series at the beginning of the year, it was not possible for him to be crowned the overall winner of the four-round competition whose penultimate round was held at Donnybrook in Harare last month.
A junior rider from Botswana, Nathan Berrie, won the championship as he did all the four rounds, starting the year 60 points ahead of Dewdney but the talented Zimbabwean rider won all of the heats in the three other races he did and ended up 16 points behind the overall winner. Two other young Zimbabwean riders, Tristan Grainger and Kuda Mhene (Jnr), also competed in Botswana last weekend where they did themselves and the nation proud by taking the first two places in the boys 85cc Class.
Grainger, the son of Gary Grainger, the chairman of the Bogwheelers Club who run the motorcycling sport of motocross in Zimbabwe, rode brilliantly in the 85cc Class, outfoxing the field to come out tops in this section followed by fellow Zimbabwean Mhene (Jnr).
Another top Zimbabwean junior rider Daiyaan Manuel also did well in Botswana, coming first in the 65cc Class.
Team Zimbabwe’s Ashley Thixton also made a statement when he took the first step on the podium in the MX2 Class. Other Zimbabwean winners included Declan Barret, who came third in 50cc Class, Tristan Versveld (third in the 65cc Class), Mudiwa Chigumba (third in the 85cc Class), Joshua Gobey (second in the 125cc Class) Ryan Webb (third position in the 125cc class) and Luke Wheeler who came second overall in the MX1 Class.
All these Zimbabwean riders are now expected to take a short break before they start preparing for the seasonending Zimbabwe Summer Series which is scheduled to be held at Donnybrook in Harare during the second week of December.
This year's Zimbabwe Summer Series, which is set to be held on December 14, 16 and 18 at Donnybrook, will consist of two Supercross (night racing) events and one motocross competition with all the top junior and senior riders from South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia and the hosts Zimbabwe expected to take part.