Southern Africa one of five Dakar Challenge hosts
The Toyota Botswana 1000 Desert Race will this year celebrate its 38th anniversary with the year’s event forming part of the Dakar Challenge for cars and mototrcycles.
The 1 000 kilometre race is the only marathon event on the Donaldson Cross Country Championship calendar and was run for the first time in 1975. Between 1975 and 1980 the race was known as the Trans Kalahari Road Race and quickly carved a niche for itself on the South African Motorsport calendar.
Toyota South Africa took over sponsorship of the race, run at the time in the Northern Cape, in 1981. The race moved to Botswana in 1991 and over the years has become the single biggest sporting and social event in the country and is followed annually by crowds of up to 80 000 people.
This year’s car event will be run from June 21 to 23 with the motorcycle event on June 20 and 21. The car race will be round four of the Donaldson Cross Country championship with race headquarters again situated at Kumakwane which is 25 kilometres North West of Gaborone, the Botswana capital city
The event is made up of a prologue of approximately 65 kilometres on the first day to decide race start positions. Days two and three of the race see competitors complete two loops of approximately 230 kilometres each. At the end of the first loop on day two and three there is a 15 minute compulsory stop at the designated service park at Kumakwane.
The route incorporates minor changes each year with the terrain varied. The route includes bush, river crossings, dry river beds, thick sand and hard surface gravel roads.