Gaborone: Event route and format changed

REVAMPED ROUTE AND FORMAT FOR TOYOTA KALAHARI BOTSWANA 1000 DESERT RACE A revamped route that not even Toyota 1000 Desert Race veterans will recall and some changes to the race format add some interesting early twists to this year's Botswana...

REVAMPED ROUTE AND FORMAT FOR TOYOTA KALAHARI BOTSWANA 1000 DESERT RACE

A revamped route that not even Toyota 1000 Desert Race veterans will recall and some changes to the race format add some interesting early twists to this year's Botswana event from June 13 to 15.

The race is round four of the Absa Off Road Championship and, in the best traditions of the event, is going to provide competitors with a searching test. The organisers, the Four Wheel Drive Club of South Africa, have delved into their box of tricks to come up with some radical changes that will add a new dimension to the blue chip event on the Absa calendar.

"The changes are designed to breathe some new life into the race," said Skean Drummond, chairman of the organising committee. "Changes to the route and the race format are also designed to provide a new challenge to competitors and to provide something a little different for spectators."

An early change sees the prologue for this year's race start and finish at Kumakwane on the outskirts of Gaborone. The 95 kilometre route provides a little bit of everything that competitors can expect over the next two days in the race proper.

"The route offers fast tracks, thick sand, river crossings, rough bits and there may even be some wet patches," said Drummond. "It will be a good indication of what crews can expect during the race."

>From the start at Game City in Gaborone the route will take competitors east towards Kapong, Bokaa and the Thagale River where there will be a service point. This is about 140 kilometres into the route and while service crews will be allowed to work on cars, there will be no refuelling.

>From the service point the route to the designated service point at Hatsalatladi takes in Dikgonnye and Medie. The DSP is 250 kilometres into the route and includes a compulsory 15 minute decontrol.

The second loop takes competitors to within 50 kilometres of the Central Kalahari Game reserve. The route goes past Boatlename towards Medie and back to the finish at Hatsalatladi, with crews then embarking on an 80 kilometre open section back to Gaborone. Day two sees crews make their way to Molepolole where there is an optional refuel point. At 07h15 cars then move off in convoy to the 08h00 restart at Hatsalatladi. The route takes in Bothapatlou, Ngware and Marotswane before swinging north to Kudumelapye and Metsibutlhoko to the DSP at Ditshegane.

At this stage crews will have completed 200 kilometres in mostly sandy conditions. There will be a compulsory 15 minute decontrol at the DSP before crews take of on the final leg of the race.

They will head south towards Monwane and Thamage and then, over rough terrain, to Molepolole and Kumakwane where the race effectively finishes. Crews are allowed a five minute decontrol to travel 2,4 kilometres to Mokoledi where their race times are recorded.

The final touches will see crews make their way via a five kilometre open section to Game City where they will take the chequered flag. For the winners of the Production and Special Vehicle categories it will be time for the popping of champagne corks, while for others it will be a case of better luck next year.

-credit: absa

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