Biker kid aims high

Oratilwe boasts 3 cham­pi­onships

Sowetan - - Front Page - By Karabo Led­waba

A 10-year-old biker who stole the show at the 107th ANC man­i­festo launch in Dur­ban on Satur­day as­pires to be an in­ter­na­tional star. Oratilwe Phiri show­cased his skills out­side Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium and had the crowd go­ing wild.

“I want to be a very good biker. The best in the world, ac­tu­ally,” he said. Oratilwe, who at­tends Avalon Steve Jobs School in Jo­han­nes­burg, learnt to ride mo­tor­bikes when he was five years old un­der the guid­ance of his fa­ther. He al­ready has three cham­pi­onships to his name. The young star was the 2015 Mo­toSA Pocket Bike Novice cham­pion, the 2016 Mo­toSA Pocket Bike Stock Class cham­pion and the 2017 SBMSCS Pocket Bike Stock Class cham­pion.

“My dad taught me to ride five years ago and I wasn’t scared,” he said. Oratilwe said his five-yearold lit­tle brother, Amo­he­lang, had also caught his pas­sion for mo­tor­bikes and won his first cham­pi­onship last year. “He is ac­tu­ally do­ing very well. He’s a cham­pion,” he said.

Oratilwe said he prac­tised on week­ends but the in­ten­sity in­creased dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion sea­son.

Some­times he com­petes against older kids who have had bik­ers in their fam­i­lies for gen­er­a­tions.

The young biker was in­vited to Dur­ban be­cause of the skills he had show­cased at a bike fes­ti­val in Kyalami, Jo­han­nes­burg, last year.

He said he loved the re­ac­tion of the crowd out­side the sta­dium on Satur­day.

“It was a huge crowd. I en­joyed it a lot,” Oratilwe said. He said he was ex­cited about the year ahead be­cause he would be mov­ing onto rid­ing mo­tor­bikes for adults and his first adult model will be the CDR 150.

How­ever, his fa­ther Thabiso Phiri said it was an ex­pen­sive sport be­cause chil­dren out­grow their bikes.

Phiri said they were in dire need of a spon­sor for Oratilwe to reach his full po­ten­tial. “Our prob­lem is mostly gear, race en­tries and travel costs. A lot of his bikes I’ve had to learn to fix as much as pos­si­ble un­less it’s some­thing big, then I take it to a me­chanic,” he said. “I prob­a­bly spend around R2,000 to R3,000 a month for Oratile alone to race. That nor­mally doesn’t in­clude big bike re­pairs,” he said.

Phiri also owns Ti­tan Bikes Rid­ing Academy, which teaches chil­dren to ride mo­tor­bikes.

“I es­pe­cially want to bring this sport to the black com­mu­nity,” he said.

The young biker said he will now be teach­ing his mom to ride a bike so that she too can join the fam­ily gang.

/ JACKIE CLAUSEN

Mul­ti­ple cham­pion Oratilwe Phiri was the cen­tre of at­trac­tion at the ANC 107 man­i­festo launch out­side Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium when he showed off his grav­ity-de­fy­ing bike-rid­ing skills.

/ SUPPLIED

Amo­he­lang, 5, and Oratilwe Phiri, 10.

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