The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Tanya Muzinda Dressed to Thrill

The eight-year-old Eaglesvale School Grade Three pupil has now acquired a brand new Kawasaki 65 motorcycle which she is going to ride during this year's motocross Summer Series.

The Summer Series is the country's premier motorcycling event and explodes into life today at the home of motorsport in Zimbabwe -- Donnybrook.

Although the racing season has wound itself down, the local motorsport world is just on the verge of gearing it back up again with the staging of this exciting event over four days from today and then next Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

This year's Summer Series has attracted an array of local and international riders and among them is Muzinda, one of the youngest Zimbabwean girls who are into motorsport.

Muzinda, who is also into karting, has this year been competing in the Pee Wee Class, a section which is designed for riders under the age of nine, and she came second overall in this year's national championship standings behind her training partner Big "BJ" Chitima (Junior).

Next year, Muzinda will be moving up a class, graduating into the 65cc B Class and the talented young rider is taking no chances as she prepares for the title assault next season.

On Monday a well-wisher bought her a brand, spanking new Kawasaki 65 bike which she will first have a feel of during the 2012 Summer Series at Donnybrook, starting today.

Muzinda's dad, Tawanda, confirmed yesterday that his daughter has acquired a brand new machine that she will sample during this year's Summer Series and then in next year's national championship.

Next year, Tanya will be graduating to ride in the 65cc B Class and with the help of a well-wisher, we've managed to get her a brand new Kawasaki 65.

"The Kawasaki 65 has got six gears and Tanya has been practising with it since Monday and she will be riding it during the Summer Series.

"In the Summer Series, Tanya will be competing in both the Pee Wee and the 65cc B classes but next year will see her racing entirely in the latter class," Tawanda Muzinda said.

And it will be interesting to see how young Tanya will handle the pressure while riding on her new machine during this year's four-day Summer Series in which she will be competing against fellow top local junior riders in both the Pee Wee and 65cc B classes.

In fact, competition is expected to be stiff in both the junior and senior sections during this year's Summer Series which has also attracted a large number of top international riders from the United States, South Africa, Botswana, Uganda and Zambia.

Gary Grainger, the chairman of the Bogwheelers Club who run motocross in this country, said that most of the international riders had arrived in Harare by yesterday ahead of the opening day of the 2012

Summer Series at Donnybrook today.

"All the American riders are here and about 12 riders have also arrived from South Africa. We are also expecting a couple of riders to come in from Zambia, Botswana and Uganda," Grainger said.

The 12 South African riders will be led by Wyatt Avis who came third in last year's Summer Series behind Briton Sam Simmons and Zimbabwe's champion rider Ashley Thixton in the main MXI Class.

Avis is back in Zimbabwe for this year's Summer Series where he will be joined in the MXI Class by fellow South African Royce Grissin.

Another top South African rider Merrick Sparg will compete in the MXII Class while his compatriot Brad Cox will be carrying "the Rainbow Nation's flag" in the 125cc Class.

Two other top South African riders - Josh and Jonathan Malimi - will race in the 85cc and 50cc classes respectively during this year's Summer Series. Grainger said the presence of these top South African motocross riders and that of three American competitors -- Jerrad Fisher, Cole Barbieri and Dare DeMartile -- will add some spark into this year's Summer Series.

But all eyes in this year's Summer Series will be on exciting Zimbabwean rider Jayden Ashwell who competes in the main MXI Class.

On his day, Ashwell is just a joy to watch and he will definitely be the man to beat in this year's Summer Series. But Ashwell is likely to be pushed all the way by his local arch-rival Thixton who came second in last year's Summer Series.

Thixton is reported to have "built his bike up from scratch" and is "spoiling for a fight" in this year's Summer Series where he will once again be back competing in the main MXI Class.

Another top Zimbabwean rider Sean Mitchell is also expected to fight for the first podium place in the MXI Class. A number of top local junior and senior riders such as Ryan Masimo, Tristan Grainger, Davin Cocker, Daiyaan Manuel, Cory Versfeld, Ricky Whyte, Mudiwa Chigumba, Kuda Mhene, Mike and Tafadzwa Mawarire, Regan Wasmuth, Doug Mellor, Cameron Thixton, Francois Swan, Reagan Bond and Broc Thomas will also take part in this year's Summer Series.

Action today starts at 9am at Donnybrook and there will be a full bar and catering. Entrance fee for this year's Summer Series has been pegged at US$5 per person and thousands of local motorsport enthusiasts are expected to throng Donnybrook today for the opening day of this exciting event. Donnybrook is adjacent to Harare's eastern suburb of Mabvuku and can be accessed through Arcturus Road or Mutare Road.

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