NAIROBI, Kenya, March 7- Kenyans riders ruled the roost as the first round of the FIM Central Africa Motocross Challenge came to a dramatic end at Jamhuri Park racetrack on Sunday.
Captain Shivam Vinayak was all smiles when the hosts trounced Ugandan counterparts hands down. The hosts rode their bikes in spectacular fashion racking-up all the six categories at stake.
But the inspiring performance of Ugandans in the junior MX50 class was a clear indication that the neighbours were regrouping for the future.
Maina Wanjigi won the MX50 class despite close attention from Ugandan riders Sentamu Fortune, Wazir Omar, Paddy Blick.
Another podium position for Ugandans was delivered at MX1 by Israeli born Asaf Natan who fought tirelessly on his 2010 Honda 450cc model to finish second overall behind Kenyan go-getter Shivam Vinayak.
Shivam who is smarting from victory in the premiere round of the previous weekend’s Cross Country Challenge in Selenkay vowed he will not relent on his aggressive ride this season.
“It feels good to win gain. This year, I have entered many events and set a benchmark to excel in all of them. Having not practiced, I was struggling to come to grips with the bike in the first two heats,” said Shivam.
Ugandans may have struggled in the senior races but their Captain Arthur Blick Jnr. staunchly admitted the sport is improving splendidly as a result of the good humored rivalry with Kenyan riders. Cruze Muigai emerged the victor of the MX2 class as his cousin Tutu Maina romped home third.
Uganda Maxime Van Pee’s podium hunt was dealt a major blow with an excruciating puncture that dipped him to 6th place in the MX2 tussle. For quite some time, Van Pee was left to mull over Tutu’s and Cruze’s hard charging antics.
“It was something akin to chasing flying bullets. These Kenyan boys are just too fast. I didn’t except this kind of pace but it was also unfortunate that I was unable to finish the second heat when got on a flat tyre,” said Maxime.
MX65 supremacy was such a volatile charge pitting Kenyans Rolf Kihara and Murigu Njiiri.
Kihara, who graduated from MX50 to MX65 this year, was back in the grove though compelled to fight every inch of the way prior to pulling through.
Murigi who has also moved-up to the ranks to the MX65 category took the first heat before Kihara got the situation back to level terms. Both riders went into the third heat deadlocked 37 all but Kihara pulled through after claiming the third heat and eventually victory with verve and vigor.
Allestair Blick, son of Arthur Blick Jrn and Ali Omar were the highest placed Ugandans at MX65 cruising home 4th and 5th respectively.
Apollo Mbuki’s fearless and flat out attitude was hardly in vain when he returned to the MX85 competition victorious.
Apollo graduated to MX85 last season and had to contend with playing second fiddle to Ivan Guya. But after Guya’s graduation to MX125, it was his time to call the shots.
“I fell ill in the first race in January and it was exciting to make a strong comeback,” said Mbuki.
Mbuki led a rare clean sweep by Kenyans when he raced ahead of Samir Anwar and National series leader Masalule Kituyi.
The sole Ugandan Fatuh Kigundu at MX85 could only watch helplessly as he managed 6th overall place.
Ivan Guya won the MX125cc class followed by Adil Khan and Mwai Kibaki who completed the exhilarating Kenyan dash to the podium.