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What to expect at The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race


ONE of the biggest social and sporting events of the year will take place in Botswana, this weekend. Locals and visitors from South Africa and neighbouring countries will turn out in their droves to catch the action. What event could possibly arouse this much interest? The Toyota Kalahari Desert 1000, of course and our diehard adventure nut, Justin Jacobs, will be there.

Here is some information on what to expect:

The race is the fourth round and the halfway point of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship.

After being based at Kumakwane, on the outskirts of Gaborone, for a number of years, the race has moved to Jwaneng, about 160 kilometres west of the capital. The move to Jwaneng – considered to be the world’s richest diamond mine - was at the request of the Botswana Tourist Organisation (BTO).

The race brings huge financial benefits to areas which stage the event and the BTO authorities are keen for other regions to benefit. “There are 19 designated spectator points along the route, along with numerous vantage points, well-known to the local population,” said route director, Adri Roets. “The area had good rains in the wet season and vegetation is nice and green. The route, however, is going to be dry and very sandy with all the rocks, bushes and tree stumps part and parcel of this race,” explained Roets.

The 100-kilometre route for the 27th June qualifying race, to determine grid positions, will take competitors from Jwaneng towards Sese before branching off to Mokhamma. The course then doubles back to the finish at Jwaneng. On day two of the race, competitors will complete two loops of approximately 225 kilometres, with a 15-minute halt at the designated service point in Jwaneng, at the end of the first lap. The route again takes crews towards Makhomma, Lefhoko and Maokane before doubling back to the finish.

The third and final day will also see competitors complete two loops of approximately 190 kilometres, with another compulsory stop after the first lap. This time, the route heads towards Sese, Tshono, Tsonyane and Lefhoko on the way to the finish. Competitors in Class G in the Production Vehicle category will complete a 60-kilometre qualifying race. Crews will then complete one lap of the day two and day three courses. The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race and an invitation motorcycle and quad race on 27th and 28th June, to be organised by Botswana Motorsport, are again included in the Dakar Challenge. The winners of the desert race and the invitation motorcycle race will receive free entry to next year’s Dakar Rally in South America.

Race headquarters, the Start/Finish lines and the designated service park will all be located at the Jwaneng Sports Complex and adjoining showgrounds. Public access to these areas will be restricted, but spectator points on the route are open to enthusiasts, at no charge. The qualifying race on Friday, 27th June will start at 11.30am and the race on Saturday and Sunday, 28th and 29th June begins at 8am.


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