Leisure, fun in Off Road racing

SHARE   |   Sunday, 08 February 2015   |   By Ontlametse Sugar
Motsumi Lekone at last year's Desert Race Motsumi Lekone at last year's Desert Race

To some it is a sport, but to others it is a lifestyle and just a matter of unwinding and relaxing, the same way someone will relax under a tree during their leisure time. While some may consider it a very expensive hobby, to those that are into it, it means family fun and the chance of spending time together, riding even with their small kids. Peak Yamaha's Marketing Personnel Monique Tyrer does not only sell the bikes to those who wants to compete only, or to those that racing is their hobby, but rather she and her husband are involved in racing, in which they are part of the Gaborone Motorsport Club. When talking about what they do, Tyrer said that in their shop they have both off road, motorcross and road bikes. She said that they have the off road bikes that do not actually require any license for one to drive, as long as you are 16 and above.
Off road and motorcross races are always exciting. The riders can just go to a place where they can make noise with their bikes and let people watch. Around Gaborone this usually takes place in Mmopane where there is wide open space to do their thing. It is always evident that it is fascinating to many, but off road and motorcross bikes do not come cheapn itself is what makes it even more complicated for an average Motswana, because the costs of these are usually similar to what a car can even cost. Tyrer said that other than off road racing which is for those that re 16 years and over, there is the motorcross, which can be done by the whole family since kids from the age of 3 can even do it.
"This one is even more fun and very interesting to watch, and that is where you can see the bikers jumping up and down, it is very exciting,” she said.
She said above all this they emphasise on protective gear, which is very compulsory in order to avoid any fatal injury, especially the necessity of a big durable helmet. She appreciated as to how the culture is growing in Botswana, both as a sport and a hobby, revealing that this year as Gaborone Motor Club they aim to bring Motocross of Africa Nations to Botswana for the first time, and that a lot of new staff are coming up. She said that people should stop thinking that it is for certain people, but rather come along if interested because it does not take much. Tyrer said though there is no training institution for rookies, as club members they are always supportive to help the new members, and it does not normally take them a day to be able to ride themselves with ease. She said for those that want to compete in races, they have to register with Botswana Motorsport in order to get a license to be able to compete in competitions like the popular Dessert Race and other off road races both internationally and locally. She said that for starters it is always a good idea to start with 125cc engine, and then progress to 250cc or even advance further if they have the strength.
"You have to start with the smaller engine, so that it won't kick you when you try and start. My husband has been driving for about 15 years and he still uses a 250 engine, but there are those who can go up to 500cc," she added. Tyrer encouraged that more ladies and kids come on board, because riding off road bikes is just so much fun, and that they should not be scared about anything. She said that every now and then they engage in family fun days, where families can come together, everyone with their own bike and ride just like people will do with bicycles. She said that the kids use the automatic ones without the clutch, but as they grow up they then get introduced to the manual ones. She revealed that at the moment their top of the range off road is P82 000, which might look too expensive to many especially with something that is just a hobby to them. One Lekone Motsumi, who competes in races said that the reason why there are not many Batswana who are part of the luxurious sport is because of affordability, and also because Botswana does not have trained marshals who can run the competitions here either for fun or as a competitive sport. He revealed that when not competing he also races for leisure, in which he gives back to the community for people to appreciate the sport, and also to let the young people who cannot afford that to experience just how it is to ride on that bike.
"The reception of it is growing, and many Batswana are doing it for leisure, even though they are not much into the competing aspect since there are certain requirements for that. So people just opt to have fun with the bikes both for off road and motocross," Motsumi said.
13 year old Brady Armstrong rides a 125cc MX Rider in motocross, and his dad Gregg Armstrong of Armstrongs Racing Projects revealed that the 13 year old will be racing with a car this year in South Africa. He said that he is looking forward to seeing his son ride a car.

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