DOUBLE BONUS FOR TOYOTA KALAHARI BOTSWANA 1000 DESERT RACE
There is a double bonus this year for the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, round four of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, in Botswana from June 19 – 23.
The event, the only marathon race on the Donaldson Cross Country Championship calendar, has again been included in the Dakar Challenge for cars. This offers a free entry to the 2014 Dakar Rally in South America to the winning crew, with Southern Africa one of only four continents to be part of the event.
This year, however, in recognition of the exploits of South African competitors on recent Dakar Rally events the organisers,
Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), have also included motorcycles in the Dakar Challenge. The Dakar Challenge for motorcycles will be run on June 20 and 21 with both the car and motorcycle races again organised by the Four Wheel Drive Club of SA in association with the SA National Off Road Racing Association (SANORA).
“This is terrific news not only for cross country racing but for motorsport in Southern Africa,” said SANORA chief executive Richard Schilling. “It is also a feather in Botswana’s cap with the race developing over the last 30 years into the biggest single sporting and social occasion in Botswana.
“The manner in which the people of Botswana have adopted the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race as their own event is remarkable. The enthusiasm for the race has to be seen to be believed, and is a great advertisement for cross country racing in Southern Africa.”
Schilling added that a prestige event like the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race also provided Botswana with major financial benefits, with a further spin-off in that it highlighted Botswana’s potential as a tourist attraction. Apart from generating foreign currency the race also provided temporary employment for a large number of people, and encouraged entrepreneurial skills.
Southern Africa competitors are also given the opportunity to display the technological and competitor skills that have seen the Imperial Toyota Hilux team finish on the Dakar Rally podium two years in a row. This highlighted the competitive nature of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship which is the most competitive of its kind in the world.
“The long term objective is to align cross country racing in Southern Africa with the international fraternity,” Schilling added, “and there is no better opportunity for us to make strides in this direction than with the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race.
“We are also delighted to see competitors from Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Germany competing regularly in the Donaldson Cross Country Championship.
“We would like to see more international competitors compete and test in Southern Africa on a regular basis and, in this respect, the awareness created by the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race is important.”
The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race will again have its headquarters at Kumakwane, which is approximately 20 kilometres north west of Gaborone.