The route for the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana from June 24 to 26 has been fine-tuned and will again provide competitors with a massive challenge.
The race is round four of the Absa off Road Championship and represents the halfway mark in the series. Again organised by the Four Wheel Drive Club of Southern Africa it could have a massive effect on championship challenges throughout the various classes in the Production and Special Vehicle categories.
Some intense battles have developed in both categories and the only marathon event on the Absa series calendar could make or break some championship hopefuls. The event is notorious for a sting in the tale, and in recent years has produced triumph and heartbreak over the last 100 kilometres.
Race headquarters and the designated service area will be situated at the village of Kumakwane, about 25 kilometres North West of Gaborone. Facilities at the site have been upgraded, and Kumakwane will act as race headquarters for the next two years.
“We have fine tuned the route and a number of changes have been made inside a similar framework to last year,” said route director Andre Strauss. “Good rains in some areas have also forced us into changes and, as usual, it is going to be a tough challenge that utilises the best terrain Botswana has to offer.”
The Donaldson Prologue to determine start positions for the race is similar to last year but has been shortened and includes bush terrain, river crossings and thick sand. The prologue will cover a distance of 58 kilometres with the route running north-west from Kumakwane towards Molepolole and back to the start via Gakgatla.
This year’s day one route is much the same as last year’s day two, but with some alterations that include sections not used for many years. There are also some completely new sections and distance has been added to make up the 250 kilometre loop as it heads towards Molepolole.
Good news for competitors is that on day two the 210 kilometre north-east loop, has been opened up and is not as tight as was the case for the 2010 race. This loop will also be run twice and because of heavy rain certain sections of last year’s route have been eliminated, and competitors will now head north of Kapong Road on about 50 kilometres of new terrain.
The Donaldson Prologue will start at 12:00 on June 24 and the race at 08:00 on June 25. Prologue and day one survivors will face another 08:00 start on the final day of an event that over the years has become the single biggest sporting and social occasion in Botswana.
The Toyota 1000 Desert Race is now run in conjunction with “The Mantshwabisi” motorcycle and quad race on June 23 and 24 with the new marathon event run over 750km. The race is a non championship event but draws riders from all over Southern Africa.