Chicago-based Kenyan rider Apollo Mbuki, riding a Honda 250cc four stroke bike led compatriots Ngugi Waweru and Rohan Gandhi to a 1-2-3 finish in MX2 class as hosts Kenya emerged the overall winners of the FIM Motocross of African Nations championship at Jamhuri Park racetrack on Sunday.
Kenya clinched the overall title with a total of 618 points followed by Uganda on 597 with Zambia taking third spot on 296.
Kenyans who struggled in the junior classes against fast-paced South African riders had their campaign for the title effectively sewn up after registering podium positions in all classes apart from Veterans and Maters class which went to Zambia.
Ugandan Aviv Orland riding a KTM85 became the first ever Ugandan African champion after he led compatriot Fortune Emanuel Ssentamu to a 1-2 finish in MX85 as Kenya's Ethan Nyachae completed the podium dash in his KTM85 machine.
Another Kenya rider Elias Sherman cleared the ground with all his opponents in MX125 as Zambian Scott Heygate came in second followed by Rolf Kihara of Kenya.
"It was a tough race against the rest of Africa. I won the first race but fell off my bike to settle for second in the preceding heat. I'm glad to have won the third race and indeed coming out first in Africa," said Sherman.
Awesome riding skills
Rose Branch of Botswana emerged the winner in MX1 beating Ivan Guya of Kenya and Maxine Van Pee. Branch who won the African title in 2009 displayed awesome riding skills with his peerless ride treating spectators to some great moments.
"I'm happy to be back in Kenya after many years. I was here prior to the continental championship in 2007 to train young riders and I must admit Kenyans have improved with time. The track was dry and dusty and it took me some time to get used to the conditions which are quite different from what we have back home," said Branch.
London based Kenyan student Ivan Guya who has been riding for 14 years was all smiles and happy with his performance despite coming in second. "Rose is such a fast and experienced rider. I have raced with him on three occasions and enjoyed every bit of it. I know I have quite a bit of things to work on but so far so good," said Guya who is a Civil Engineering student at Brunel University in London.
The ladies open saw the Zambian duo of Leah Heygate and Jenna Bohling finish first and second ahead of Kenya's Maxine Wahome.
Asaf Natan of Uganda won the combined Masters and Vet. Blick who is a 10 times Ugandan motocross champion and the reigning national rally champion was all smiles after the race.
"When we participated in this competition in 2007 in Kenya we were novices in the sport. But I'm happy that Ugandans have stepped up their level of competition and are able to take on Kenya head on." Blick said.
The FIM Africa continental championship will be held in Botswana in August next year. The event in Jamhuri was graced by the FIM Africa President Ray Wilson.
Pee Wee Class: 1. Miguel Katende (Uganda) 54 points, 2. Hayley Calder (Kenya) 53, 3. Trey Garner (Kenya) 47; MX50 Class: 1. Neil Van Der Vyver (South Africa) 60, 2. Kyle Townsend (South Africa) 43, 3. Jaiden Takkunnen (Kenya) 38; MX65 Class: 1. Hayden Tully (South Africa) 60, 2. Troy Muraour (South Africa) 49, 3. Jet Takkunnen (Kenya) 41; MX85: 1. Aviv Orland (Uganda) 60, 2. Fortune Ssentamu (Uganda) 47, 3. Ethan Nyachae (Kenya) 41; MX125: 1. Elias Sherman (Kenya) 57, 2. Scott Hygate (Zambia) 48, 3. Rolf Kihara (Kenya) 43; MX2: 1. Apollo Mbuki (Kenya) 60, 2. Ngugi Waweru (Kenya) 51, 3. Rohan Gandhi (Kenya) 43; MX1: 1. Rose Branch (Botswana) 60, 2. Ivan Guya (Kenya) 51, 3. Maxine Van Pee (Uganda); Vets & Masters: 1. Asad Nathan (Uganda) 54; Ladies Open: 1. Leah Heygate (Zambia) 60, 2. Jenna Bohling (Zambia) 49, 3. Maxine Wahome (Kenya) 47.