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Motorcycle body keen to build on gains of 2022 in another busy year for motorheads



Motorcycle body keen to build on gains of 2022 in another busy year for motorheads

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 29 – The 2022 Annual Motorcycle Awards went over with a bang at Nairobi Polo Club recently with the motocross and enduro family predicting yet another season of adrenaline-packed action and innovation.

Julie Wahome -the Director of Beyond Sports at FIM Africa whose mandate revolves around overseeing the women in motorcycling, environment, medical, leisure and touring commissions for Africa- underscored the need to strike the right note by approaching motorcycling holistically.

 This, she says, will create an enabling safe environment for motorcycling in the country to blossom.

Just like the global motorcycling body FIM, Motorcycle Sports Federation of Kenya (MSFK) is not just a sports federation but also an organization that strives to explore ‘Beyond Sports’ activities-by and large.

All in all, Wahome, who also sits on the MSFK Board as the chairperson of the Motorcycle Commission, emphasises the need to strike while the iron is hot, ostensibly to cut the mustard across the board.

“We have seen a very close relationship working with the Women’s Bikers Association and we have been involved in a lot of community as well as road safety development programs,” Wahome quips

Road Safety Development

“We hope that we will be able to work together especially in the area of road safety development and safety for boda bodas around the country as well as growing the leisure and touring facet through bringing people into the country to just ride,” Wahome explains. 

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Asked about partnerships, Wahome went on to explain: “For the first time we actually formed a very successful partnership with the Private Bikers Association of Kenya (established in 2014 by representatives of different stakeholders) which is the largest biking association and we managed to work with the organization to bring them under the Federation’s fold.”

 MSFK has also witnessed a very close and fruitful relationship working with the Women’s Bikers Association.

This, as Wahome would put it, has worked to whip up the much-needed enthusiasm of lady riders in the county.

Women in Motorcycling

“As far as the initiative of female riders is concerned, it all starts with the recruitment of new young riders into the sport. We have seen an increase in the number of lady riders lately.”

“What’s more, we have support and special programs for the ladies as well. Last year was the first time we ever ran a ladies’ category which was fantastic. We will continue to promote the junior and lady riders and indeed continue to push them up through the ranks,” Wahome expounded.

Julie Wahome the chairperson of the MSFK Motorcycle Commission. PHOTO/COURTESY

Apart from the busy National Motocross and Enduro Championships which have captivated enthusiasts for donkey’s years, Kenya also hopes to make its presence felt in the region and across the continent.

This year, Kenya will be hosting the FIM Central Africa Challenge (CAC) over Easter holidays ahead of the return competition in Kampala later around December.

Good-Humored Banter

Any sporting encounter between Kenya and Uganda has over the years set tongues wagging and hearts pounding.

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The fabled CAC (the equivalent of Victoria Cup in golf and rugby’s Elgon Cup) is traditionally a gigantic fixture in the region.

“There has been some good-humored rivalry between the two countries (Kenya and Uganda) with riders and spectators bantering over who will carry the day at the CAC. This has undeniably added the much-needed zest and vigor for the racetrack troops. We will also be looking forward to taking part in the Motocross Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Cape Town in August this year,” she explains.

The second round of the Kenya National Motocross Championship was called off earlier in the month due to the prolonged drought and water shortage which compromised safety on a wider aspect.

But with the current torrential rains pounding several parts of the country, riders are counting the days to the next race with great expectations.

Dylan Hatanga who ruled the 50cc (now in 65) last season is brimming with confidence. 

While collecting his trophy for the 50cc category at Nairobi Polo Club, Dylan remarked: “My season was good honestly. From the onset I had this feeling inside me that it was going to be a more challenging ride for me; that I was going to lose some and win some, but to my surprise, I totally bossed the track.”

He quipped: “I trained hard through and through; and I’m glad the hard work paid off.”

Girl rider Atete Benzinge finished third in the 85cc category and is hoping to ride even harder in the season, a campaign she candidly admits is something akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. 

“The 2022 season went well. Despite my third overall in the 85cc championship, I am really glad that I won the lady rider of the year award. This year I am hoping to win the 85cc championship and see how it goes. Last year I only participated in CAC 2 which was in December and I got 4th in 85cc.  The cutthroat competition against Lewis Ogonyi and Wahome Mutahi has also instilled the much- needed resilience in and made me a strong rider,” Benzinge says.  

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Outgoing National 50cc Enduro Champion Max Cavenagh who has moved up to 65cc. PHOTO/COURTESY

Cavenagh Brothers

The sons of former KNRC Champion and legendary Alastair Cavenagh (Tommy and Max) will also be back in the saddle during the second round of the national enduro series at Kedong on April 1.

The two brothers, who only started enduro in 2022, managed to win the championship titles in their respective 50cc and 65cc classes and are now moving up to the 65cc and 85cc category, respectively.

“I have always liked riding from the time I was young. I started at the age of 3 and I’m loving it in a competitive environment. We had some bad races but racked up the title in our first season of enduro,” Tommy says.

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