Branch chases Dakar glory

Isaac Pheko - BG reporter
Thursday, 20 December 2018
Branch chases Dakar glory

Local off road two-wheeler 450cc champion Ross Branch is expected to leave for the 2019 Dakar Rally on 26th December 2018. The highly competitive rider this week confirmed that he will not just participate but go for pole position against some of the best motorcycle riders in the world in the biggest motorsport event on the planet.

Thus far Branch has worked hard in preparation for the epic 10 0000 km offroad race across South America, which happens to be one of harshest desert terrain in the world. The talented rider has won just about every accolade having been the African offroad champion and multiple 1000km Toyota Desert Race winner. Having conquered everything that local and continental racing has to offer, Branch looks to hoist the blue, black and white flag in the biggest and longest motosport circus on the  racing calender.

However, Branch is currently P140 000 short of the estimated P1, 8 million required to compete in the odyssey across at least three countries in the Americas. Branch said he is likely to take out a personal loan to make up the total. The Dakar Rally, which originated in Africa comprises different categories including trucks, production cars and special vehicles.

Branch will be racing a KTM Dakar spec replica motorcycle. As part of his training Branch recently showed scintillating form after winning the 3000km Kalahari Rally that was staged in Mafikeng, South African.  Branch won the elite 450cc category in one of the longest offroad races in the African continent. The Kalahari rally is three times the length of the epic 1000km Toyota Desert Race.

Nevertheless, the dominant rider said he is still getting to grips with the navigation system which is expected to guide him during the epic race. “I am currently with friends and family  in the Okavango Delta, I am taking time to train and familiarise myself with the navigation system that I will be using.” Furthermore, Branch said his KTM rally bike has been shipped to South America where he is expected to find it upon arrival. The rider said he   will be working with a support team based in South America. “I am hoping to do the best I can and fly the Botswana flag. I will be the country’s sole representative during the race and I am feeling great both mentally and physically.”

The KTM rider said he is a private entry in the Dakar and has no major sponsor. As part of   promoting Botswana, Branch said he will try and lure international riders to come and compete in the popular 1000km Toyota Desert Race next year. Branch will emulate his compatriot Vincent Crosbie by being the only Motswana to compete at the epic race. Batswana fans can expect a live update during the race. “Some of Branch’s sponsors at the Dakar include Pick n Pay Botswana, Armstrong Attorneys, Ultimate Cycle Base, Van and Truck hire, Clean All Services. The rider is expected back in Botswana on 21st January.

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