Collin Matiza Sports Editor
DAIYAAN “D” Manuel was the toast of the day for five young Zimbabwean riders who took part in the opening round of the 2020 South African National Motocross Championship series at Rover in Port Elizabeth on Saturday where he stormed to victory in the ProMini Class.
Thirteen-year-old Manuel was among three St. John’s College’s pupils, who were part of the five Zimbabwean riders, who competed in round one of the seven-round South African Nationals at Rover on Saturday where he led from the front to emerge as the overall winner of the ProMini Class ahead of South Africa’s Bryce Petersen.
His fellow Zimbabwean rider Emmanuel Bako, who is now a Form One pupil at St. John’s College in Harare, also did well at the same event where he came third overall in the ProMini Class as two young Zimbabwean riders managed to raise their country’s flag high with two places on the podium.
There was a strong field of 20 riders in the ProMini Class in the most challenging sandy track of Rover and Bako did extremely well as he got a hole shot in the first moto and was leading for five laps but with two more laps to go, he made a small mistake, dropped his bike and got passed by Manuel who was at one stage lying in third place.
And after getting past Bako, Manuel did not look back as he went on to claim the first step on the podium at the end of business on Saturday after producing a solid 2-2 performance and sent a strong message that he is the rider to beat in this class this year.
Manuel’s brilliant performance on Saturday has forced most South African riders in the ProMini Class to pay attention to the young Zimbabwean biker who has started the new season flying with confidence.
Manuel is now a Form Three pupil at St. John’s College in Harare.
Another St. John’s College pupil Emile Croisette (10) took part in the 65cc Class and finished 14th overall with 20 points.
There were 25 riders in this class and the first three places went to South African riders Jordan van Wyk, Trey Cox and Jack Pullen.
In the seniors section, Zimbabwe’s Regan Wasmuth (17) took part in the main MX1 Class for the first time in his career and he did not show any ghost of inferiority complex as he fought his way through the field valiantly to finish eighth overall much to the delight of his father and trainer, Warren Wasmuth.
“Although Regan failed to get a place on the podium, I think finishing eighth overall was great for him considering that he was competing in his first MX1 race in which he faced some seasoned South African riders and he went toe-to-toe with them,” Warren Wasmuth said from Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Another top Zimbabwean rider Tristan Grainger took part in the 125cc Class where he came 17th overall. There were more than 20 riders in this division.
Up next for the Zimbabwean riders is round two of the 2020 South African Nationals which is scheduled for March 28 at Cape Town’s Zone 7 track.