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National MX News : Namibian Inter-Series
09.10.2006 Beginnings...

Ten years ago the first Inter-Series was hosted

Invitations to races in Namibia for South Africans already took place in the 1980's and the families de Kock from Windhoek and Becker from Gobabis achieved that riders from Transvaal were able to facilitate the trip to Namibia.
However, it became really "international" only in 1997. Kroemer pleaded with the chairman at the time, Eckhard Waldschmidt, for a chance to finally organise a race with European participation. Waldschmidt demanded a financial plan, which Kroemer presented shortly afterwards. The Namibian Breweries and Shell Namibia provided the financial back-up! Now the biggest problem had to be solved: motivating a German MX-racing team. In the town of Pirmasens, (Palatinate) there was a renowned team which Kroemer knew well: The Becker Team. Team-manager Lutz Gerlach had enough guts to make the trip to Africa, together with his best riders Andy Stäbler and Markus Volz. On the grounds of their participation, the three Austrians Albin Maurer, Ewald Kropp and Roland Korak, dared to board the same plane. Also part of the action were the top-riders from South Africa. The first race of the Inter-Series was able to take place and the superior first "Open Namibian Champion" was Markus Volz from Germany!
This first "Inter-Series" was a grandiose success and everyone at the WMCC wanted more, so in 1998 another Inter-Series was to be held. The Namibian Breweries as well as Schell Namibia were part of it. Again the Becker-Team was engaged, with a crew that consisted of Markus Volz, Joachim Krivograd, Helmut Schiller and Lutz Gerlach. They were joined by Albin Maurer from Austria and the South African top-riders Ryan Hunt, Freddie Fourie, Gareth Swanepoel, Neville Bradshaw and Terence Monk. After two exciting weekends Markus Volz from Germany won the sought-after title, ahead of Freddie Fourie and Rainer Becker from Namibia.
In 1999 the action continued. Apart from the Becker-Team with Joachim Krivograd and Daniel Hoffmann, came two guys from Denmark and stormed the hearts of many female fans: Kent and Jacob Almar. The South Africans were strongly represented by Brett Brito, Freddie Fourie and Gareth Swanepoel. In the end, after exciting races, Kent Almar won the day's races, while Freddie Fourie (South Africa) got himself the Open Nambian Champion title.
The Millennium-Race 2000 was one of the highlights in the history of the Inter-Series. The supporting programme alone required a great deal of organisation: cultural dancing-group, Picanini-kiddies-fair, Wet-T-Shirt competition and of course exciting races on both weekends. Main sponsors were again the Namibian Breweries and Shell Namibia. The riders were well chosen: From Russia came Vitali Tonkow and Sergej Garin, Boyd Karsmakers from the Netherlands, Albin Maurer, Valentin Wutte and Benjamin Rutter from Austria, Markus Volz, Gunnar Schuster, Joachim Krivograd, Helmut Schiller and Lutz Gerlach from Germany. South Africa was strongly represented as well, with Ryan Hunt, Brett Bircher, Minalc Constantinou and Terence Monk. For the first time riders came from Angola, namely Jose Teixeira, J.E. Carapinha and J.A. Fernandes. While the day's victory went to Sergej Garin from Russia, Markus Volz won his 3rd Open Namibian Champion title. Unfortunately the day was overshadowed when the German Helmut Schiller had a bad crash.
The year 2001 was even better, since now their was world wide talk about this event. The Namibian Breweries and Shell Namibia continued their sponsorship! Kroemer was able to acquire some real talents: Rok Sitar from Slovenia came for the first time to Namibia. From Switzerland two riders came, namely Harry Näpflin and Kevin Zollinger, from Germany Collin Dugmore, Gunnar Schuster, Hermann Waterhölter, Christian Lechner, Maria Franke and Timo Hannuschke. Ryan Hunt, Marc Ramsey and Karl Stegen came from South Africa. Andreas Hirschbügel was the rider from Austria. For the first time we had a rider from Sweden, namely Markus Alden. Botswana was represented by Ross Branch. Zimbabwe sent their Number One, the strong Warren Thorne as well as his fellow countryman Dale Holliday. From Zambia we had Russel Foyle and for the second time from the Netherlands, Boyd Karsmakers... and Boyd won the Open Namibian Champions title ahead of Collin Dugmore and Gunnar Schuster. In the supporting programme there was a great Freestyle-event, in which the French Kevin Burcklen made the stadium boil over with excitment. The first real Freestyle on African soil. In Namibia!
Now the Inter-Series has even been heard of in Namibia itself! Apart from the Namibian Breweries and Shell Namibia, who again acted as sponsors, Air Namibia joined us in 2002 with a main sponsorship of this major event. PLAY acted as main sponsor of the Freestyle show. Now the WMCC was able to develop its full potential. A great number of participants from Europe were flown in, like the Germans Dennis Schröter, Daniel Siegl, Hardy Schadenberg, Steffen Albrecht, Christian Lechner and Thomas Rang as well as the juniors Maria Franke, Dominique Thury and Philipp Hahn. John Abbot came from Australia. From Switzerland Daniel Huser, from the Netherlands the winner of the previous year Boyd Karsmakers and fellow countryman Erwin Robins. From Denmark Jakob Almar and from Sweden Markus Alden. From Estonia came the 17 year old Aigar Leok. Zambia sent a noteworthy contingent of riders like Russel Foyle, David Reeve, Kelvin Clulee, Barry van Blerk and Clive Watkins. From Zimbabwe we had Warren Thorne and Dale Holliday. South Africa was represented by Gareth Swanepoel, Hentie Hanekom, Beau White and the juniors Calleb Tennant. From Botswana came Ross Branch, and Jose Teixeira from Angola who never leaves out a race. I'm sure I have left out the one or other name, the number of riders was just enormous and the largest ever seen at the Gallina Moto Cross Park. Participants from 16 nations were present! Daniel Siegl from Germany won the title Open Namibian Champion, with Aigar Leok (Estonia) and Erwin Robins (Netherlands) on 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The PLAY-Freestyle-Show had a good international cast as well: Kevin Burcklen (France), Mike McGow (Canada), Martin "Murph" Schenk (Austria), Klaus Meyer and Hannes Ackermann (both from Germany).
2003 began with bad news. Schell Namibia and PLAY drew back their sponsorship! The Namibian Breweries as well as Air Namibia continued their support and Cymot acted as new sponsor for the Freestyle-Show. The MX-world was talking about this event in Namibia and the WMCC was planning on using this moment of fame. For the first time a rider from the USA was interested and so Carter Gurnee was to ride here, sponsored by Air Namibia. Four renowned riders from South Africa applied as well: GP-rider Tyla Rattray, the US-AMA-Champ Grant Langston, AMU-Champion Karl Stegen, as well as Geoff Den. From Germany distinct riders such as Collin Dugmore, Daniel Siegl, the 3x Open Namibian Champion Markus Volz, Dennis Schröter, Hardy Schadenberg, Jan Zirfas, Frank Jansen-Teitz, Dominique Thury, Maria Franke, Philipp Hahn and Thomas Denk. Switzerland was represented by Patrick Kasper and Daniel Huser. From Austria Michael Staufer, the Netherlands were represented by Boyd Karsmakers, Mart de Jong and Erwin Robins. Sergej Garin once again rode for Russia. We had riders from Kenya like Ian Dykes. Ross Branch and Chris Cloete came from Botswana. Exciting races took place at the Gallina Moto Cross Park in front of 4.000 spectators and Daniel Siegl secured himself the Open Namibian Champion title for the second time. He was followed by Grant Langston (South Africa) and Dennis Schröter (Germany). The Cymot Freestyle show attracted round about 2.000 spectators and Kevin Burcklen (France), Hannes Ackermann (Germany) as well as the South Africans Juan du Plooy, Jeffrey Hodson, Matt Cohen und Ryan Ronnacher demonstrated a spectacular Aerobatics-Show.
In the following year 2004 the WMCC received another blow, as Air Namibia only wanted to sponsor the "IFMXF Freestyle World Cup" which took place in Namibia that same year. In the end, a half-hearted support for the annual Inter-Series was arranged thanks to the effort by Horst Schnelle. Kroemer was able to acquire a respectable number of participants despite this set-back. Main sponsors were the Namibian Breweries with Tafel Lager and Pepsi, while Cymot acted as main sponsor for the Freestyle X-Fighters Show. In that year the South Africans showed some special interest and top riders like Ian Topliss, Adriaan Nel, Dewald van den Berg and Geoff Den were part of the action. US-boy Carter Gurnee was there again, as well as Mart de Jong from the Netherlands and Russel Foyle from Zambia. The Estonian Avo Leok brought along his young nephew Martin Leok. For the first time we had a man from Belorussia come to Namibia, named Tyletski Yaugeny. From Botswana Alastair Sayer and Ross Branch arrived. Gunnar Schuster, Benjamin Kolberg, Frank Jansen-Teitz and Andre Adrian came from Germany. Kenya was represented by Ian Dykes. Despite it not being a year with a record number of spectators, many said that they witnessed the best and most exciting races ever shown on Gallina! The name of the title was changed to "Namibia International Champion" which the Estonian Avo Leok won, followed by Gurnee (USA) and de Jong (Netherlands). In the Cymot Freestyle X-Fighters show the first ever "backflip" on Namibian soil could be witnessed. Werner van der Merwe jumped this extraordinary trick. He received support from his fellow countrymen Ryan Ronnacher, Jeff Hodson, Gary Robertson, and Alastair Sayer from Botswana.
A great change was to occur in 2005. The Committee of the WMCC decided to let F & H Promotions host this event in future. One can say up front that neither F & H nor the WMCC were satisfied with the results of this new co-operation. The acquisiton of the riders was handled by Ingo Waldschmidt (F & H) while the press-work stayed in Kroemer's hands. Air Namibia acted as main sponsor, while the Namibian Breweries were content with a minor sponsorship, which was a big loss after so many years.
The following riders came from Germany: Gunnar Schuster, Collin Dugmore, Robert Sturm und Benjamin Kolberg. From the Netherlands came Boyd Karsmakers. Ross Branch represented Botswana while Cody Visser and Jayden Ashwell rode for Zimbabwe. Karl Stegen represented South Africa and Jose Teixeira Angola. It was also great to see the Kenyan Ian Dykes again. Despite some weak participation in the Open-Class, good sport was offered. Collin Dugmore (Germany) succeeded after 4 attempts at becoming "Namibia International Champion", followed by Ross Branch (Botswana) and Boyd Karsmakers (Netherlands) One of the highlights of this event was the wedding ceremony of the Karsmakers couple on the Tabletop at Gallina.
Concludingly one can say: Keep it up! Despite withdrawing sponsors (the Namibian Breweries cannot identify themselves anymore with MX-sport, but still sponsor the supporting programme Tafel Lager Battle of the Bands). The WMCC is and stays the only sports organiser which annually, for 10 years now, hosts a major international event. Sponsors in the future will appreciate that!
Author: Bernd Kroemer ... [back]
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