Ssebuguzi is the perfect gift at FIM Africa Championship
What you need to know:
Gift Ssebuguzi managed to finish top in his category.
With both South Africa and Zambia in town for the Mountain Dew FIM Motocross of African Nations 2022, top places were always going to be hard to come by for Ugandan riders.
And indeed, of all the riders who took to the track, only Gift Ssebuguzi managed to finish top in his category.
South Africa and Zambia dominated all but one category on the weekend.
Ssebuguzi did the magic in the first and final heats of the MX85cc to become the only African champion from Team Uganda at Garuga Sunday evening.
It was the third heat on day two that made the difference for the young Ugandan rider.
Having taken the first heat of the competition on Saturday, Ssebuguzi lost out to South Africa’s Ronald Graven in heat two Sunday morning.
The two riders had to be separated by the final heat and this left fans on their toes until the checkered flag was raised to confirm Ssebuguzi as the winner.
It was a race that had it all as Graven, at first teamed up with fellow South African Caden Weise to make life hard for Ssebuguzi.
Graven then lost balance midway through the race and his fall saw Ssebuguzi take charge of the race but only for the time being.
The Ugandan rider was next on the floor and Graven looked set for the win until his next fall that gave Ssebuguzi the lead yet again.
While in pursuit of the eventual winner, Graven collided with his teammate Caden to leave Ssebuguzi in pole position.
There were no mistakes thereafter as the Ssebuguzi raced to the African title with 57 points, nine ahead of Graven and 10 better than Weise.
Not strong enough
Even before Saturday’s first heat, it was expected Uganda would struggle to have the championship stay home.
Top riders like Maxine Van Pee, Fortune Ssentamu, the Omar brothers, Waleed and Wazir were all absent from Team Uganda.
The former team captain got held up with work in Congo and couldn’t make it in time for the event and this left his successor Aleistair Arthur Blick as the only force in the MX1 category.
The skipper got hurt on Saturday after a heavy fall in practice but held on to finish third in his class.
Miguel Katende finished third in MX65 while Aliestar Blick got the same position in the MX1.
Ssebuguzi in MX85cc and Hon. James Akena in the masters completed Uganda’s podium places at the championship.
FIM Motocross of African Nations 2022
Gift Ssebuguzi -(57) Uganda
Ronald Graven -(48)South Africa
Caden Weise -(47)South Africa