Amidst the symphony of revving engines and flying dirt at the 2023 Motocross of All African Nations (MXOAN) event in South Africa, one name stood out - Stav Orland of Uganda.
Stav Orland wasn't just a participant; he was a dominant force. Winning all three heats in the MX2 category, he clinched the overall title for that class.
Even though Uganda finished a respectable fifth in the overall standings, Orland's victory was a testament to his unyielding training regime and dedication.
“My training, hard work, and perseverance have paid me off,” he intimated.
Orland's advantage also came from his prior experience racing against South Africa's best. He had finished second in the third round of the South African Motocross season back in March.
And from then, he set out to get the better of them. Ahead of the race his determination to beat the South Africans on their own turf was palpable.
“Exposure is critical for any rider to race at different grounds,” he stated, adding, “I am privileged to have trained and raced against the best in South Africa.”
“It gave me an edge over other riders. Honestly, my training and hard work have paid off."
"I encourage other riders to get more exposure, test different race tracks. It's the only way they can compete with other super nations."
While Stav's achievement was undoubtedly the highlight, Team Uganda faced a series of adversities.
A significant hiccup was the delayed delivery of their bikes, restricting them to a single practice session before the main event.
“I would like to thank Team Uganda. You have overcome so much,” team leader Reynolds Kibira shared his gratitude to the team.
“First, the uncertainty of the bikes stuck at the airport for days. You did not have the benefit of testing the sandy track beforehand."
Despite these challenges, Uganda's spirit remained unbroken. They secured second place in the 65CC, 125CC, and MX2 classes, though their overall standing was fifth.
Kibira poignantly noted, “Amidst adversity, believing against hope and giving their hearts out against Africa’s best, team Uganda, you [are] the best.”
With the curtains drawn on this year's championship, the spotlight now turns to Morocco, the hosts for the 2024 edition.
And as Team Uganda reflects on their journey, with lessons learned and successes celebrated, they'll surely be gearing up for an even more formidable return.