The Herald (Harare)

8 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Motocross - Locals Break Gender, Race Stereotypes

For many people cars are a mode of transport to get to a destination. It is unimaginable to pay for fuel and maintenance so that one can skid in the dusty, rough terrain roads. Cost is the biggest reason why so many people are not able to take part in motocross.

This is largely so because the bill of items such as entry fees, food, gases for bikes and vehicles and maintaining them is quite prohibitive.

In Zimbabwe, motocross used to be a preserve for the elite. White people who had the resources and means to engage in the sport mainly did it.

Black children would play with plastic balls while their counterparts would be skidding with bikes and racing cars.

However, in recent times there are black parents who have broken the tradition and have invested heavily in their children to do the sport.

Families such as Mawarire, Chigumba, Mhene, Muzinda and Chitima have carved their name in the sport.

In some quarters, motor racing is preserved for the boys but the youthful girl, Tanya Muzinda, is proving to be a phenomenon in this sport.

The seven-year-old has already bagged several medals in the sport.

However, it is the money her parents are prepared to fork out for her training and maintaining of the bikes, which is astonishing.

"It takes a lot of sacrifice in this sport. I want her to grow up to be a professional woman and be a champion. This will take determination from us parents and the help from corporate world through sponsorship. It is the expenses of the equipment and the resources required by this elite sport that has scared many away. I bought her first bike for US$2 000 and the whole kit for US$900," said Tanya's father, Tawanda Muzinda.

Another black youngster who has invaded the elite sport is Big Junior Chitima, son of the legendary Zimbabwean top rally driver.

"I have to religiously follow my practising schedule, I look up to my father who is a disciplined rally driver," he said.

Most of the youngsters practise at Donnybrook motor race. Other black children who have represented the country include Mike Mawarire, Tristan Mawarire, Mudiwa Chigumba, Kuda Mhene and Ryan Masimo. Depending on the route one goes, the amount which can be spent on keeping a bike running can vary greatly. Two-strokes generally require a little more maintenance, but when it comes time to rebuild the engine, they're usually much less than a four-stroke. Regular maintenance such as regular oil changes, air filters, tyres, chain, sprockets, and fluids gobble money. Motocross is a form of motorcycle racing held on enclosed off-road circuits. The sport evolved from motorcycle trials competitions held in the United Kingdom. Motocross is a physically demanding sport held in all weather conditions.

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