- Category: Cross Country Offroad Racing
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Event moves from metropolitan Kumakwane to rural Jwaneng
Fresh initiatives to provide growth and future sustainability to the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race will be in place for this year’s event, round four of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, from June 27 to 29.
The race is the only marathon event on the Donaldson calendar, and is the halfway mark in the championship. The event carries double points counting towards the cross country championship, and over the years has grown into the biggest sporting and social event in Botswana.
This year there is an added attraction with an invitation motorcycle event to run in conjunction with the Toyota 1000 Desert Race. The motorcycle race will be run on June 27 and 28.
Both events count towards the Dakar Challenge which offers the winners free entry into next year’s Dakar Rally in South America. The Toyota Desert Race will be organised by the South African National Off Road Association (SANORA) which is the custodian, organiser and promoters of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship.
The invitation motorcycle race will be organised by Botswana Motorsport which was recently granted full membership of the FIA and FIM, the world controlling bodies for car and motorcycle racing.
“The fresh initiatives we have taken this year came after a review of last year’s race, and discussions we had with the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) and Botswana Motorsport (BMS),” said Richard Schilling, chief executive officer of the South African National Off Road Association (SANORA) and president of the FIA Cross Country Commission.
Chief among the changes is relocating the event from Kumakwane, on the outskirts of Gaborone, to Jwaneng which is 160 kilometres west of the Botswana capital. Jwaneng is also home to the world’s richest diamond mine.
“The switch is based on a request from BTO,” Schilling said. “The Toyota Desert Race provides a major financial injection to areas in which the event is held, and the move creates the opportunity for rural communities to also benefit from the race.
“There is also a safety aspect in moving from a metropolitan to a rural location, and every effort has been made to make the route environmentally friendly.”
Schilling added SANORA would continue to collaborate with Botswana Motorsport in sharing skills and improving expertise in particular spheres of motor racing. This was an important element in the relationship between SANORA and BMS.
“The huge interest the Toyota 1000 Desert Race generates is indicative of the popularity of motor racing in Botswana, and cross country in particular,” Schilling said. “SANORA has always had a solid working relationship with the Botswana government, BTO, Botswana Land Board and the Botswana Police Services.
“The Toyota 1000 Desert Race holds a special place in the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, and we will be working closely with our Botswana counterparts to ensure the future growth and sustainability of the event.”
Schilling added that being a part of the Dakar Challenge had provided the Toyota 1000 Desert Race and the motorcycle event with added impetus. The Dakar Challenge also heralded Botswana’s acceptance into the international cross country racing community.
Schilling also paid tribute to Toyota’s loyalty to cross country racing in South Africa and Botswana, with this year’s event the 33rd edition of the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race. Botswana telecommunications giant Mascom will again be a part of the race as communications partner, with Puma Energy also renewing their association with the event.
The qualifying race to determine grid positions for the Toyota 1000 Desert Race will be held over a 100 kilometre route on June 27. Crews will then face two days of racing over a course of approximately 450 kilometres on June 28 and 29.
Both day two and day three of the race will be run over two loops of the course with a compulsory 15 minute halt at the end of the first lap. With the move to Jwaneng, the route for this year’s event is completely new and it will be the third time this season crews have ventured into uncharted waters.
The final route has been completed and is typically Botswana. This means a tight course with plenty of sand, thorn bushes and trees.
- Category: Cross Country Offroad Racing
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Springbok legend heads for Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race
They say that once bitten by the motor racing bug you are hooked for life and the latest victim is Springbok utility back Stefan Terblanche.
Now chief executive officer of the South African Rugby Legends organisation, Stefan will have his third taste of cross country racing at the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race from June 27 to 29. The race is round four of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, and Stefan will co-drive for former South African champion Terence Marsh, in the Regent Racing Nissan Navara, in the Imperial Automotive Celebrity Challenge.
“After his first appearance with Archie Rutherford in 2012 we were pestered by Stefan for another crack at racing,” said Marsh. “He got his wish on the Toyota Dealer 400 in KwaZulu-Natal last season and again sat alongside Archie.
“Now his pestering has paid off again. He desperately wants to add the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, the only marathon event on the Donaldson series calendar, to his impressive list of achievements and I am delighted to have him in the car with me.”
Marsh added that Terblanche could almost be termed an ‘old hand’ at navigating, and his previous experience would be a major help on the blue chip event in the Donaldson Cross Country Championship.
One of the most popular players of the recent Springbok era, Terblanche played in 37 Tests and scored 19 tries – including four on his debut against Ireland. Terblanche started his career at the Boland Cavaliers under former Springbok coach Nick Mallett, and went on to captain the Sharks and had overseas stints with Ospreys, in Wales, and Irish team Ulster.
A fullback who was equally at home at centre or on the wing, Terblanche was twice a Currie Cup winner with the Sharks in 2008 and 2010. Terblanche is also the second rugby Springbok to compete in the Donaldson series this season, with former Springbok lock/flank AJ Venter co-driving for Marsh on the Toyota Dealer 450 in Mooi River.
Other celebrities to have competed this year are TV personality Marius Roberts and former Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey who was the first footballer to take part in the Imperial Automotive Celebrity Challenge.
The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race is this year based in Jwaneng approximately 160 kilometres west of Gaborone. Competitors will complete a qualifying race over a 100 kilometre route on Friday, 27 followed by two days of racing over 450 kilometre routes on Saturday, 28 and Sunday, 29 June.
- Category: Cross Country Offroad Racing
- Hits: 7337
Father and son teams set the early pace in overall and Class A title chases
After three rounds of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, a two horse race looks to have developed in the Special Vehicle overall and Class A championships.
A combination of reliability problems and missed races from teams highly fancied for honours at the beginning of the championship, have contrived to see two teams break away from the rest of the pack. Both are father and son combinations and between them they have won all three races so far this season.
Gerhard du Plessis and his 16-year-old son Hardus, in an ageing Jimco, are the only Special Vehicle competitors with a 100 percent finish record this season. A win and two podium finishes gives them a nine point cushion at the top of the overall and Class A leaderboards.
A timely win – their second of the season – on the recent Nkomazi 450 in Mpumalanga has taken former champions Quintin and Kallie Sullwald (Elegant Fuel BAT Venom) into second place in the overall championship. For the Sullwalds it was the best possible recovery after failing to finish the Toyota Dealer 450 in Mooi River.
The big losers so far this season are reigning champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen in the Motorite BAT Viper. A second successive non finish in Mpumalanga dealt hopes of back to back titles a heavy body blow.
Two early season non finishes also put another pair of former SA champions, Hermann and Wichard Sullwald (Elegant Fuel Stryker) on the back foot. KwaZulu-Natal crew Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell (Dirt Sport Components Porter) also failed to finish the Mooi River event and, after missing the Nkomazi 450, are also in a spot of bother where the championships are concerned.
As matters stand in the overall championship the second placed Sullwalds are a comfortable 20 points clear of Daniel Brookes and Gavan Gray in the Ducatus Property BAT in the overall standings. After failing to finish the opening race of the season, Brookes and Gray have put together two solid races, including a maiden podium, to go three points clear of Class P leaders John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten in a Zarco.
Fifth in the overall stakes are Capetonians Derick du Toit and Craig Gray (CRC BAT) who missed the opening race. They trail Thomson/Zermatten by three points and are two clear of newcomers Arthur Barnes and Anthony Usher (BAT) who also failed to finish the Mooi River race.
Class A sees the du Plessis and Sullwald combination leading Brookes/Gray, du Toit/Gray and Barnes/Usher. The likes of Hutchison/Stassen and Gibson/Campbell have slipped off the radar and will be desperate for good results on the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race – which carries double points – to revive their title challenges.
Reliability problems for other crews have also propelled Swaziland based driver Thomson and Zermatten into a commanding lead in Class P. The pair are the only Class P crew with a 100 percent record this season.
Two successive wins have helped Thomson to a healthy 24 point lead over veteran Rob Wark in the driver stakes. Wark, however, alternates driving duties in the K9 Racing Aceco with Jeremy Woods, and that hands Thomson a distinct advantage.
KZN driver James Watson (BAT) trails Wark by seven points with John Telford and Nic Goslar next up. Among the co-drivers Wark’s navigator, another veteran in Ashley Thorn, is in second place with John Thompson, who sits alongside Watson, in third place.
The next event on the Donaldson Cross Country Championship calendar is the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race in Jwaneng, Botswana from June 27 to 29.