Arthur Blick Jr has lived half his life on two wheels

Saturday December 15 2018

Career Of Highs. Blick Jr goes airborne. PHOTO

Career Of Highs. Blick Jr goes airborne. PHOTO BY JOHN BATANUDDE 

By ANDREW MWANGUHYA

KAMPALA. If there is timing, few would perfect it like Arthur Blick Jr. He waited and waited – and then acted. To perfection!
Blick Jr announced he was leaving the competitive motocross track this week, leaving as a champion both at home and in the region; leaving as a legend. And boy does his legend live on!
At 42, and after 22 years riding competitively, it was clear it was a matter of time. Actually, observers have over the years suggested that Blick Jr retired long ago, only being around riding as hobby.
But Blick Jr is a competitor, and deep down he must have been burning with desire to just win one more.
Come 2018, where three-time champion Maxime Van Pee missed part of the season as he recuperated from injury, and Blick got his final hooray, winning the MX1 National Motocross Championship with a race to spare. What a way to step off the stage!
“It is definitely hard to believe that this day has finally come,” Blick Jr told Daily Monitor mid-week, “But after a lot of praying and thinking over the last couple of months, I have decided to hang up my boots and retire from competitive motocross competitions.
“This decision has not been easy at all, my entire life has revolved around motocross, (but) it’s been a true blessing from God, one I’m thankful for.”
11 or 13?
And a blessing it has been! Thirteen unprecedented national titles, two of them coming in 1997 and 1998 when the event – then done on a grass track - was called the National Motorcycling Championships, and the other 11 as National Motocross Championships are not mean feat.
Add two East African Motocross Championships titles to his name, one in 2017 and another last weekend and you have a truly undisputed MX1 king, whose name will forever be etched in the sport’s echelons.
“I can humbly say that I have achieved more than I ever could have imagined,” said Blick.
“I have gone on as hard as I can, for as long as I can and our sport is tough and very expensive. It takes a huge amount of sacrifice, hard work and discipline to stay on top.
“I feel that I have contributed enough to help make our sport better off than when I came into it.”
Federation of Motorsport Clubs of Uganda (FMU) president Dusman Okee agrees. “Arthur Blick has contributed immensely to the sport and the Blick family legacy,” said Okee.
“Even the likes of James Akena (former President Obote’s son) joined motorsport because of Blick. But more importantly, Blick planted a forest and more kids are coming through because of him. “We shall not see Arthur competitively on the motocross track again, but we shall continue seeing Arthur in sponsorships, teaching kids and elsewhere because he is that much to the sport.”
One of those kids that grew looking up to him, Van Pee, actually went on to interrupt Blick Jr’s winning.
The selfless one
“He was always ready to help,” said Van Pee, “He is the one who convinced our dad to bring us to the track even when we didn’t have bikes.
“He did not keep knowledge to himself. He was always humble and respectful. He was also very competitive but was never out to hurt anyone. He won fairly.”
Behind that fair man and the success is Blick Jr’s wife Noela, who stuck with her boys through thick and thin. The other magic was no. 99, which they had to protect from any mediocrity.
All the bikes Blick Jr and his children Alistair and Paddy Jr have raced on over the years have iconic 99 on them.
“That was the number on my dad’s (Arthur Blick Snr) bike while he was riding together with uncle Paddy (Blick),” explained a cheerful Blick Jnr, when we visited his Speed Engineering Garage on Rubaga Road, “So we took it on.”
Born at Nsambya Hospital to Arthur (Snr) and Grace Blick on May 4, 1976, Blick Jnr went to Jack and Jill for his nursery before spending his early part of primary school at Buganda Road PS. He later went to Katatumba Academy in Mbarara for his secondary lessons.
He pursued a degree in Business Management at Makerere University and on completion took over his dad’s Speedway Engineering Ltd garage which remains his family’s main bread earner.
Infiltrating Bukenya territory
Blick Jr’s best gift from his dad and mum came during his vacation - his first bike. He was to do enough racing until he won his first national motocross title in 1999. He had started a journey to invade Wycliffe Bukenya’s territory. “If you had to be the best at the time you had to beat Wycliffe,” admitted Blick, “And I beat him for my first title.
“Wycliffe was a very aggressive rider. He was a good rider but very, very aggressive. So I always worked twice as harder to match him.” Blick has since dominated the motocross arena to devastating effect.
Blick followed his debut title with another one a year later but his adventurous self saw him fail to defend it in 2001.
“I took a break from motocross and decided to try motor rally along with my cousin William for the next two years,” he explained. “But I returned to motocross in 2003 and won the next three national titles (2003-05), the first time to win three titles in a row.”
However, tragedy struck in 2006 as Blick broke his foot while racing in Jinja, thus failing to defend the title. That is the year a new name emerged- Asaf Naten. Naten went on to win the championship.
But Blick went on to claim two more, including this year’s before he finally listened to his inner self to leave the stage. But hey, he is not gone off the wider motorsport. He will now focus more on motor rally, where he is the 2015 champion.

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