More than one hundred teams have been registered to take part in the grueling 200 km Subaru Kalahari Mountain Bike challenge this year.
The two days event, which will be entering its sixth year and is sponsored by Subaru Botswana, is scheduled for the weekend of July 24.
According to Peter Sekwale of the Gaborone Cycling Club, the race, which is run in teams of two people, has attracted a lot of international cyclists from southern Africa.
Apart from cyclists from Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, the race will for the first time feature a team of top Kenyan mountain bike riders in Davidson Kamau and David Kinjah.
The duo, which is having a very fruitful year, having won the 2010 Tour de Rwanda and finishing in the top ten in the ABSA Cape Epic 8 day event this year, will be among the favourites to dethrone the team of Andre and Paul Cordes to clinch the race.
The two Kenyans come courtesy of Kenyan Airways, Travelwise and Time Projects. Both the Kenyan riders come with a wealth of experience with Kinjah who is regarded as one of Kenya’s greatest riders having participated in races overseas as well as captaining the Kenyan Cycling Team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
According to Sekwale, the first stage of the race will start at Game City, Gaborone, and take the riders on an epic journey passing through the villages of Mmankgodi, Manyana and Lekgolobotlo before heading to Lobatse, where they are expected to spend a night.
The second day will see them ride from Lobatse to Gaborone through the villages of Otse and Ramotswa.
The race will end at the Gaborone Yacht Club.
Among the local riders expected to perform well in the event will be the teams of Angus Boxshall and Warren Lane as well as Ezekiel Sibande and Jabu Sondelani, all from the Gaborone Cycling Club.
The Cordes brothers, who are the defending champions and have won the race successively for the past two years, will be favourites to win the challenge for a third time in a row.
Meanwhile, Sekwale says they are facing some difficulties as they are forced to change the race routes time and again. He says due to the fact that people have fenced their fields, they have again this year been forced to find alternative routes for the race.
He says another challenge is the removal of race course markers by people, which may result in confusion among riders as to the race course.
Subaru Botswana has sponsored this year’s race to the tune of P50 000.