(Langmead & Baker)-Cyclists converged in Solwezi at the weekend, as Kansanshi Events and Kansanshi Cycling Team partnered to host the first round of the North-Western Schools Cycling Series at Trident College.
Some 140 students took part in the event, the majority from Educore’s Trident Prep School, Kabitaka, and Trident College. Other schools taking part included Makole Community School, Mushitala Primary and St Charles School for the Deaf.
A noticeable trend throughout the day of racing was the emergence of extremely talented young riders, who had clearly spent the holiday season training hard.
Margaret Ngoma: Fourteen and Flying
Mushitala School’s Margaret Ngoma made it clear to all that she was continuing her rise from last year. Lining up in a combined race, against riders much older than her, as well as against boys her own age, Ngoma surged to the front and never looked back. Half way through her race, she had over a minute’s lead on the rest of the field, and by the finish she had more than doubled it.
Gift Puteho: Esperanto Star Still Shining
Gift Puteho had an eventful 2022, in which he featured alongside global mountain bike superstars in the film Esperanto, and then suffered a broken arm while cycling in the USA. Evidently, he has recovered well from the injury, as he dominated the junior men’s category, and beat all but one of the elite men.
Davies re-established his mountain biking dominance from last year. Although an elite national title still eludes him, Kawemba has proven to be almost unbeatable in Zambian cross country mountain bike racing, and Saturday’s race was no different. Davies powered off the front of the race right at the start, and never looked back. In the end he crossed the line easily over two minutes ahead of the field.
The schools cycling series has become a de-facto showcase for the Kansanshi Schools Cycling Program, in which elite riders from the Kansanshi Cycling Team provide coaching and equipment maintenance to schools around Solwezi. Many of the up-and-coming riders who won their categories have come up through this program, and their enthusiasm for cycling has infected other young riders around Solwezi. After the COVID pandemic left a lull in entry numbers in its wake, the healthy entry tally and infectious enthusiasm of the young riders is a great sign for 2023.
“Today we had a great turnout of riders, beautiful weather, and lots of new faces on the podiums. It’s a great start to the year, and we can’t wait to host the next one,” said event organiser,” Theresa Roomer.
Round 2 of the series will be on the 13th of May, 2023, and will be the first such event hosted on the Kansanshi Golf Estate. Though it is a school’s event, categories are available for riders of all ages—adults included.