Following an unsatisfactory display at the World Championships in Belgium in July, the Zimbabwe BMX team is back on the road again with 19 riders set to compete in the South Africa Age Group Series at the Alrode BMX Arena in Johannesburg this weekend.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
This event acts as the first leg of the All-Africa Series between Zimbabwe and South Africa, while the second leg will be held at Harare BMX Club on November 15, 2015.
Zimbabwe BMX Association president Paul Denslow told NewsDay Sport that Zimbabwe would send a team with a mixture of familiar and new faces to South Africa.
“Zimbabwe BMX is sending a mixed team to compete at this exciting event, consisting of riders who have competed all over the globe and new riders who are yet to experience such level of international racing. The aim is to expose the newer riders to a higher standard of racing,” he said.
“The team will be led by two Olympic hopefuls, Penias Tenthani, who will represent Zimbabwe in the elite class, and Scott Donaldson, who will compete in the junior elite class. Supporting these two riders will be a group of world-class riders such as Luka Drysdale, Matthew Denslow, Kirsten du Plooy, Tyla Shae Donaldson and Campbell Wright.
“In the junior age groups, we have former world champion Rebekah Oberholzer, Daniel Collet, Nathan Horner, Ben Oberholzer and Graeme du Plooy. All these riders have competed on the world stage and have the pedigree behind them to be a major force at the upcoming event,” Denslow added.
Thenthani, who has been receiving occasional assistance from Miekles Foundation’s Phil Ellse, and represented Zimbabwe in the elite class at the World Championships in Belgium this year, will be racing in South Africa for the first time in three years.
Denslow revealed that the Zimbabwe team also includes Sean Drysdale, who will be competing in the 50 to 55-year cruiser class, and Jasper Schweppenhauser (elite class), who is making a return to the sport after a long layoff due to injury.
The Klien brothers, Chase and Keagan, will be looking to launch their international careers as it will be their first time to compete in such races.
Long-serving national coach Taffy Machingaidze looks to guide the team to success yet again as Dirk du Plooy takes up the team manager’s role.
“We want to prove to the world that Zimbabwe is a powerhouse in the world of BMX racing,” Denslow concluded.
Sean Drysdale (45 and over), Penias Tenthani (elite), Scott Donaldson (junior elite), Jasper Schweppenhauser (elite), Luka Drysdale (15), Ryan Chalmers (14), Jarod Ellse (14), Mathew Denslow (14), Campbell Wright (13), Mitchell Siddle (11), Graeme du Plooy (11), Ben Oberholzer (10), Nathan Horner (8), Daniel Collett (8)Keagan Klien (8), Chase Klien (6)
Kirsten du Plooy (14), Tyla-Shae Donaldson (13), Rebekah Oberholzer (7)