Saturday February 22 2014

Moment of reckoning for Van Pee as season gets underway

Van Pee performs acrobatics with his bike in a previous event.

Van Pee performs acrobatics with his bike in a previous event. He starts the season with a new bike. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA  

By Fredrick Musisi Kiyingi

Kampala- The new season gets underway with the first round of the Mountain Dew MX Championship at Uganda Motorsports Arena- Busiika tomorrow.

The major highlight of the offseason was Arthur Blick Junior’s announcement to return from retirement and compete for a record 11th title in the MX1 class.
His return and Maxime Van Pee’s decision to feature in all championship races for the first time in four seasons, has set the stage for an exciting battle.
For Van Pee, 20, this seems like the best opportunity to win his first career title since 2009. That year, Van Pee lifted the MX2 crown but has struggled since moving up to MX1. Having had some training stints in Europe, Van Pee is undoubtedly a better competitor at the moment.

And his opponent, Blick, won’t take the youngster lightly when they kick-start their bikes tomorrow.

“He has age on his side, motivation and determination to achieve his goal (winning first title),” Blick told SCORE. “Training in Europe is also an advantage for him but he must be consistent to stand a chance,” added Blick. The veteran also warned Van Pee not to disregard the threat posed by defending champion (MX1) Jesse Kamstra, and Kiggundu brothers Talha and Fathu, who have upgraded from MX2.
“It is going to be an exciting season,” Blick declared.

But the mother of all battles is expected be in the MX85CC category where reigning national champion Alestair Blick will go head to head with his sibling Paddy Blick, Wazir Omar, Aveev Orland, Stav Orland and Fortune Sentamu, the 2013 MX65 winner, who is competing at this level for the first time. Ali Omar and John Schrier can also be considered contenders.

This race will pit together four champions, three of them having upgraded from the lower category.

It is a parade of the country’s motocross cream and the future of in the sport.
While Alestair goes into the race as favourite by the virtue of being defending champion, Ali (MX65CC champion 2011, 2012), Wazir (winner MX65CC, 2011) and Ssentamu (MX50CC, 2012 and MX65CC, 2013 winner) have what it takes to carry the day. The fight for the MX65CC crown this season is also expected to a tough one.
Waleed Omar, Ben Nsumba and Aslan Farooki, who have all graduated from the MX50CC, have a good chance. Then there is Joshua Mwangala, Sharifa Nanswereka and new entrant Jannele Paulsen, also waiting in the wings.

Kiggundu brothers Ahmed Tamale and Moses Lutwama will start as clear favourites for MX2CC class title but will be pushed all the way by Ashraf Ndikulwange, Jojo Williams, Michael Ntayiro and Ham Kamstra who has upgraded.

Isabella Blick will fancy her chances against the likes of Imran Nkurunziza, Habib Kiggundu, Ashraf Junior, Kikago Rayvon, Zeb Byaruhanga, Zalwango, Esther Mwangala and new entrant Rajvir Liddar in the 50CC category.

Isabella won the 50CC junior category last season.
For the very first time, local riders will stage an extreme freestyle acrobats show.
UAP who have offered insurance cover of about Shs25m are among a host of sponsors for the season.

2013 champions
MX 50 Junior: Isabella Blick
MX 50: Waleed Ali Omar
MX 65: Fortune Sentamu
MX 85: Alestair Blick
MX 2: Fatuh Kiggundu
MX 1: Jesse Kamstra