The National Motocross championships on Sunday were the biggest that Speedway Motor Club (SMOC) has had in recent years. The Mountain Dew and Total Uganda sponsored event held at the specially revamped circuit at Lubiri grounds in Mengo featured 10 time national champion Arthur Blick, and seasoned competitors like Jesse Kamstra, Hood Semugooma, Yasin Bukala and other rides from the Blick family.
It was Yasin Bukala who won the biggest contest of the day; The MX1 category. The Native from Kyotera, a small town in Rakai District, put up a virtuoso performance. He dominated all three rounds, collecting the maximum 75 points available. He all but ruined the legendary Arthur Blick’s comeback. Blick visibly looked rusty. He struggled all day and eventually couldn’t manage a podium finish.
However, by far, the highlight and centre of attraction on the day was renowned freestyle motocross rider Jarred Van Vuuren, a teenage sensation from South Africa. With a track ramp specifically built for him, he did exactly what the SMOC flew him in to do. Thrill the crowd. He emptied his bag of tricks; doing flips, back-flips, summersaults, double-grabs, cliff-hangers. You name it he did it and executed them with absolute precision. And he really played to the crowd. He occasionally brought his bike to a halt; put his hand over his ear in effort to amp up the crowd as they chanted for more.
Lubiri was the perfect location for the Motocross championships. Unlike most recent championships at multiple sprint-ways like Garuga, the Lubiri grounds are much bigger and spacious allowing better visibility and mobility for the fans. But most importantly, they are proximally located right in the middle of the city.
Gates opened at 9am and by 10am, fans had started trickling in their numbers. The 10,000 shillings entrance fee afforded fans a complimentary Mountain Dew soda to cool off the mild mid-afternoon heat. By 12am, a mammoth crowd had gathered around the multiple tracks.
Riders were competing in 5 different categories. The 50cc, 65cc, 75cc, 85cc, MX2 and MX1 which in that particular order, rank is of engine strength and age. Waleed Omar won the 50cc category. Fortune Ssentamu, one of USPA’s sports icons of 2012, won the 65cc category; Alistar Blick took the 85cc while Talha Kiggundu won the MX2 category despite losing the 3rd round.
Ultimately, fans had a great time at Lubiri. Enjoying local riders’ dominating performances and Van Vuuren’s scintillating theatrics and capped by a musical performance by Bebe Cool during the prize-awarding ceremony. I’m looking forward to how SMOC will top that next year.
In addition to flagship sponsors Mountain Dew and Total Uganda, the event was also sponsored by IAA/ Resolution Health which provided emergency medical coverage for the riders, UAP/ AON which covered the riders’ third-party liability at races, FotoGenix Limited which provided event equipment and Safe Solutions which covered all potential fire hazards.
TOP 3 RIDERS PER CATERGORY
Waleed Omar (70 points)
Ben Nsumba (69 points)
Aslan Farooq (62 points)
Fortune Ssentamu (70 points) Paddy Blick (64 Points)
Wazir Omar (64 Points)
Alistar Blick (72 Points)
Ham Kamstra (64 points)
Ali Omar Yasser (64 points)
Talha Kiggundu (72 points)
Fatuh Kiggundu (67 points)
Ntayilo Ssemakula (56 points)
Bukala Yasin (75 points)
Jesse Kamstra (64 points)
Hood Semugooma (53 points)