DIAMONDS & DIRT LADIES COMPETE
AT THE FIM MOTOCROSS OF AFRICAN NATIONS
9 September 2013
By Michelle Smith
At the very last minute Motocross South Africa (MX SA) was approached
to help arrange a South Africa ladies wild card team to compete
at the FIM Motocross of African Nations event that was held on the
30 August to 1 September at Syringa MX Park in Muldersdrift.
We rallied in record time and arranged seven girls to compete at
the event. In a matter of two days, together with FIM Africa and
MSA, we had them registered, entered and in the case of two Bloemfontein
ladies, on their way to Johannesburg to compete at the event.
The Overall winners: 1st Brittany Cuthbert, 2nd Leah Heygate
(Zambia), 3rd Amy-Leigh Sawyer.
Our ladies were:
Top Womens MX riders Brittany Cuthbert, Amy-Leigh Sawyer and
Nokuthula Radebe. Top Off road rider Taye Perry and young up and
coming off road Rider Anais Steenkamp. Lastly two Womens MX
riders all the way from Bloemfontein, Samantha Erasmus and Bianca
Jonker, who recently competed in the massive North Vs South MX challenge
Our ladies went up against three very accomplished Zambia girls
namely Leah Heygate, Emma Gantley and Jenna Bohlig. Unfortunately
Jenna had a fall in practice on Saturday and cracked some of her
ribs which sadly put her out for the rest of the competition.
It was clear that Leah Heygate was the lady who would compete with
our top rider Brittany Cuthbert after the blazing pace both ladies
set in practice.
Some of the SA ladies and Zambia ladies with SA MX Legend Grant
Langston. (Rich Sutherland Photography)
Brittany Cuthbert aka the Holeshot Queen, lived up to her reputation
and was out of the gates like a bullet. Amy Sawyer was in second
with Leah Heygate right behind them. Leah quickly overtook Amy and
started chasing down Brittany. The pace was incredible and Brittany
pushed hard to hold off and stay ahead of Leah all the way to the
finish. Amy Sawyer held on to third until on the second last lap
where she went down and struggled to get going again. This allowed
the entire field to pass her.
We had a great battle for fourth and fifth between Taye Perry and
Anais Steenkamp. Taye managed to pass Anais but sadly on the last
lap Tayes bike stalled and it allowed the Anais to pass and
cross the line for third. Taye did not finish.
Everyone knew that an intense battled had now brewed between Brittany
and Leah. A few laps in, Brittany made a mistake in the front and
went off track. This allowed Leah to take the lead and take it to
the finish. Amy Sawyer had better luck and came in for third. The
fierce battle for fourth and firth between Taye and Anais again
ensued and this time Taye held on to take fourth and Anais fifth.
This is how close the racing was between Brittany and Leah.
Everything was on the line for this one. Winner takes all! Would
it be Brittany or Leah?
Straight out of the gates Zambian rider Emma Gantley went down and
unfortunately it put an end to her great race day.
Leah took the lead but it was clear that Brittany had no intention
of letting her get away. Four laps in and up at the top of the track
Brittany had just managed to edge past Leah as they came back into
view, but then Leah managed to edge back into the lead as they got
to the next corner.
Now heading into the back straight Leah over jumped slightly and
that seemed to effect her pace into the sand rhythm section. Brittany
managed to keep great pace and the ladies passed almost side by
side over the finish line jump as the last lap board came out.
Leah went wide around the next corner and Brittany saw the opportunity
and took the inside line pulling away just in front of her. It was
a nerve wrecking minute as the ladies went out of view at the top
of the track again. As they came back Brittany was still in the
lead with Leah on her tail. It was a race for the finish with only
a few turns left.
At that moment Leah made a mistake and went over a low berm and
off track. Brittany pulled away and made her way through the last
few corners to take the win. Leah quickly got back on track but
it was too late and she took second.
Amy Sawyer took third again with Taye and Anais once again in fourth
and fifth respectively.
Some of the SA Ladies as well as Michelle Smith and Noleen Roome
from Motocross SA
pose with Beaulah Schoeman from FIM Africa.
1 - 97 Brittany Cuthbert 57
2 - 41 Leah Heygate 54
3 - 94 Amy Sawyer 38
4 - 93 Anais Steenkamp 37
5 - 95 Nokuthula Radebe 30
6 - 91 Samantha Erasmus 29
7 - 96 Taye Perry 26
8 - 42 Emma Jane Gantley 21
9 - 92 Bianca Jonker 17
This was an incredible experience for each and every lady and there
was some incredible racing. Missing from the field was injured Zimbabwe
rider Victoria van Breda who surely would have brought another level
of excitement to the mix. All eyes will now be on the 2014 event
For more information about Diamonds & Dirt please go to www.mxsa.co.za/dd
Additional photo's courtesy of Rich Sutherland Photography. Go
to our Photographers page for full contact
Overall winner Brittany Cuthbert. (Rich Sutherland Photography)
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