South Africa takes top spot
at the MX of African Nations.
9 September 2014
Published with Permission.
Written by Laren van der Westhuizen
The SA Team. Image courtesy Brodalka Photography.
In 1999 Zimbabwe launched the very first inter country championship
in Africa called the AMU, (African motorcycle union). The
race was world class and on a world class track in Donnybrook
Zimbabwe. Since then the series moved to Morocco, South Africa,
Kenya, Namibia and Zambia to name a few and also changed its
name to FIM Africa. This year, the event moved to Zambia for
the 2nd time. This time though, it was held on the Mopani
mine track in Kitwe in the copper belt. The mine assisted
in making this event one of the best to date. Kevin Bohling
and his team did a fantastic job on the track and was perfect
on both days. Most riders commented that it was a fun track
to ride with some BIG jumps and some technical sections.
The day started with the 125 class, otherwise known
as the kamikaze pilots. Heat 1 got off to a flyer and it was
clear that SA had a strong team here, with Reid Sinnicks and
Peter Thompson to back him up. Joshua Mlimi was riding as
an individual rider and got the holeshot in heat 1. As hard
as Reid Sinnicks tried, he could not make the pass. Peter
Thompson rode out of his skin to bring home a solid 3rd for
SA. In heat 2 and 3, Reid Sinnicks reversed the role and left
the chasing to Joshua Mlimi. Reid seemed to get stronger and
stronger through the day and was your eventual 125 winner.
Joshua Mlimi was 2nd ahead of Peter Thompson and a great ride
from Thor Kituyi from Kenya who busts the biggest scrubs I
have seen. Zambias Scott Heygate was 5th.
The big guns of the MX1 class were next and Botswana
would have an opportunity to score their first official win
in an FIM Africa event, with Ross Branch. Win is exactly what
he did and in doing so re-wrote the history books with not
only Botswanas first official win, but 5 FIM Africa
titles. The battle would be for 2nd between team SAs
Wade Den and individual rider from Congo, Frank Verhoerstrate
who displayed incredible corner speed. Wade did enough to
hold onto 2nd and Frank 3rd. Zambias Carl Agente rode
well to beat a strong contingent of Zimbabweans and score
valuable points for Zambia.
The MX lites was once again a Zimbabwe versus SA affair
and it was clear that those would be the 2 countries going
for the title. SA scored big points in this class with a win
from Janes Van Sandwyk and a 3rd from his younger brother
Wikus. The 2 brothers were separated by former SA champ, now
riding for Zimbabwe, Regan Wasmuth. Regan tried hard to upset
the apple cart and was able to win the first heat, but Janes
was relentless in the next 2 and Regan had to settle for 2nd.
Regan was happy that his teammate, Josh Goby was able to race
for 4th and pick up some much needed points
Team Manager Grant Foley congratulates Janes van Sandwyk
on his win. Thanks Fox and Ekerold Yamaha on behalf of Janes.
The 65cc class saw another Zimbabwean win a heat,
Davin Cocker was on form, but just failed to to get the starts
he needed in the remaining heats and left the winning to young
SA star rider, Jono Mlimi. Zimbabwe did pick up BIG points
in this class as they finished 2nd with Davin Cocker, 3rd
with Tristan Grainger and 4th with Regan Bond. Christiaan
Cilliers had a big crash in heat 3 and only managed 3 points
which put him down in 5th.
The MX2 class was where the crowd went mad. Zambian
rider, Bradley Lionnet was freshly back from the USA and a
top 10 result at Lorettas and rode like a demon. He won all
3 heats setting some of the fastest times. 1min36secs was
the fastest time of the day. Whilst he put on a riding display,
the rest were left to fight over 2nd. Once again, a South
African stuck his nose in the action and picked up what points
he could and that was Zane Farquharson. Zane really kicked
into another gear in Zambia and hanging on to Brad for a few
laps helped his pace. Zimbabwes Ashleigh Thixton rode
a 125 and was quick enough to beat a hard charging Dart Lobjoit
from Botswana. Dart was fast, but a few mistakes cost him
The 50cc Class was an excellent display of what we
have to expect in the years to come. These little guys raced
a relatively rough portion of the main track and it was incredible
to see the skills of these little guys. The day belonged to
young Daiyaan Manuel who is on top form this year and got
three out of three wins. James Thompson rode like a star,
he managed a third in the first heat but once he got the feeling
of the track managed two second places to follow for a second
overall for the day. Young Emmanuel Bako got third overall
for the day.
The ladies class was one of the most anticipated on
the day. 5 Zambians, 5 South Africans and 1 Ugandan went head
to head for the honours. In practice and qualifying it was
clear that Zambian rider Leah Heygate would be hard to beat.
The young lady who rides without gloves knew the track and
had all the jumps dialled. In the racing however, Nanda Swiegers
with her international experience, got the holeshot and began
a battle with Leah. Brittany Cuthbert was back in 3rd, but
not really in the groove yet. Nanda would eventually do enough
to win but with the Zambian breathing down her neck. In heat
2, Brittany Cuthbert found a turbo button and went 3 seconds
a lap quicker. She caught her SA teammate Nanda and made the
pass for the lead. Nanda tried to fight back, but Brittany
was riding with some determination. Brittany won the heat
ahead of Nanda and Leah a distant 3rd. Toni Jardine was a
solid 4th. It was all to ride for in heat 3. Nanda made it
3 holeshots out of 3 and this time Brittany was down in 4th
off the start as Leah Heygate and Victoria Van Breda got great
starts. Brittany took some time to get going, but slowly picked
off the riders 1 by 1 and on the final lap, dived on the inside
of Nanda and took the lead. There was nothing Nanda could
do and had to settle for 2nd. Leah Heygate was 3rd, Toni Jardine
was 4th, Victoria Van Breda was 5th and Jenna Bohling was
Team Captain Nanda Swiegers, Team Manager Grant Foley and
young James Thompson.
The Vets class gave Zambia another chance to celebrate.
Dale holiday won all 3 heats and was only under pressure in
the final heat from team SA rider, Geoff Den. Uganda had reason
to celebrate as their team captain, Arthur Blick finished
on the podium in 3rd. Shaun White from Zimbabwe made a return
to action for the event and finished 4th ahead of teammate,
The masters class was a Zimbabwe domination. Blaize
Thomas has long been one of Zimbabwes top riders and
he dragged his brother Shane along for the ride as they finished
1 and 2. Mark Bradford from Zambia was 3rd.
When the final results were posted, Botswana was 6th overall.
They had some great results, but not the depth that was required
to really challenge a podium. Uganda was 5th and are showing
signs of real improvement, but I have to say that it was Kenya
in 4th that really impressed me. They have come a long way
and have some young stars in the making. Zambia got 3rd, but
it was Zimbabwe and SA that were tie on points at the end
of the event that stole the show. After a heat by heat count
out, SA took top honours and retain the FIM Africa title.
On behalf of the SA Team they would like to thank FIM
Africa, Motorsport South Africa, Portable Shade, Mopani Mine,
Grant Foley, Monster Energy and Dirt Nurse and anyone else
that was involved in making this such an amazing event!
The Ladies Team. Natasha Rugani, Toni Jardine, Anais Steenkamp,
Brittany Cuthbert and Nanda Swiegers.
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