Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race headquarters moves to Kumakwane

Gary Bertholdt - Picture by Motorpics.

The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race in Botswana from September 24 to 26 will break new ground this year.

Race headquarters for what is round six of the Absa Off Road Championship, and the only marathon event on the series calendar again organised by the Four Wheel Drive Club of SA, will move away from the Game City complex in Gaborone. This year race headquarters, along with the start/finish and the designated service point, will be located at the village of Kumakwane about 25 kilometres west of Gaborone.

“Moving away from Game City is simply a matter of logistics,” said race chairman Alan Reid. “Urban development has caught up with Game City which is one of the busiest complexes in Gaborone over weekends.

“In recent years the traffic and human congestion has become a problem in what is the biggest annual sporting event in Botswana. We decided to move away from Game City, and after discussions with the relevant local authorities it was decided to base the event in Kumakwane.”

Route director Andre Strauss said the finishing touches were currently being applied to a route that would include about 200 kilometres of completely new territory. The route will be a challenge for competitors and embraces all the various types of terrain that Botswana offers.

“We are using elements of routes that were utilised in races from 2004 to 2009,” Strauss said, “but about 200 kilometres of the course has never before been used. There are several river crossings, and although the water level is low these are going to be challenging.”

The 72 kilometre Donaldson Prologue to determined grid positions on the Friday before the race will give crews an idea of what to expect. The prologue route runs north west from Kumakwane towards Molepolole and back to the start via Gakgatla and includes bush terrain, river crossings and thick sand.

The Saturday route will be made up of a 243 kilometre section to be run twice. This will takes crews from Kumakwane to Lentsweletau via Mmanoko and will double back to the finish via Kopong.

Conditions on this section are more hilly than on the prologue and are technical and challenging. The 207 kilometre route on the Sunday will also be completed twice and is the “friendlier” of the sections – but has a sting in the tail in the form of a stretch of deep river sand.

“The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race is never an easy event, and this year will be no exception,” said Strauss. “It is not the sort of route that takes the fun out of the race, but it is going to offer a challenge and good results won’t come easily.”

The Donaldson Prologue on Friday, September 24 will start at 12:00 and the race on Saturday, September 25 at 08:00. . There will be another 08:00 start on Sunday, September 26 for those who have survived the prologue and day one.
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