Though still a tough challenge competitors on this year’s Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race from can heave a sigh of relief.
When they take off this Friday drivers and riders can expect no new hidden terrors on the route for what is round four of the Absa Off Road Championship.
The 1000 Desert race is the only marathon event on the off road calendar which also incorporates a round of the Dakar Challenge, with the winning crew eligible for a free entry into the 2013 Dakar Rally in South America.
“There is about 100 kilometres of new terrain, but the changes have been designed to create some additional special spectator points,” said race Director Alan Reid.
Reid said the changes are mainly on racing section two and take competitors through a quarry and some river beds in the Kolobeng area.
“For the rest the Donaldson Prologue route remains unchanged and competitors will be faced with the sort of challenges for which this race is famous,” he said.
Kumakwane where the race headquarters and the designated service park (DSP) are located is expected to be a beehive of activity beginning the evening of Thursday as thousands of revelers gear up to witness one of the entertainment spectacles in the country.The DSP and access roads have again been maintained and improved by locally based competitor Keith du Toit and his team from Babcock Botswana.
“Once again we are grateful for the co-operation we have had from the Kumakwane local authority, and Dr Kruger and Festus Malan who allow us to use their land for race headquarters,” Reid said. “The village of Kumakwane will again be setting up public areas for local traders to sell food, drinks and other wares.They will also sell parking vouchers and the village will reap substantial financial benefits from the race,” Reid said.
Reid added the Botswana police would also play a major role in the smooth running of the race. The police will deploy 500 uniformed and plain clothes officers as well as patrol cars, motorcycle patrolmen, a helicopter and other equipment along the route. There will be a strong police presence at the DSP and at public areas.
For those with a head for statistics the route will travel past about 450 homesteads and 28 villages north, east and west of Kumakwane. The route also passes through areas controlled by three land boards in the Thamaga, Kweneng and Kgatleng districts.
Reid added that this year more local business concerns – including G4S Security, Generators Botswana, O3 Water and Bokomo Botswana – were joining hands with the race as minor sponsors by providing products or services.