Motorsport enthusiasts are in for a thrilling four day treat as the Mascom Kalahari 1000 km desert race celebrates its 30th anniversary this June. After being moved to the warmer September month due to the World Cup in South Africa, the annual motorsport event has now moved back to its normal winter calendar month of June.
However, for this year, the race, which has been a two-day event in the past, has now been extended into a four day event following the addition of motorbikes and quads into the race. Just like the Toyota Desert Race (TDR), the 750 km event, which has been dubbed Mantshwabise 1000, will be done in two loops over two days.
The event will kick off on the 22nd of June with two loops of 250 km and complete on the 23rd with another 250 km single loop.
Addressing the media at the launch of the TDR this week, Alan Reid, the chairman of Four Wheel Drive Club of Southern Africa (FWDCSA), said though the bikes and quads have always been part of the TDR, they felt the bikes and quad race to be a ‘new stand alone’ event.
The FWDCSA chief says they are expecting more than 65 million pula worth of racing equipment to roll into the country during the four-day event.
As was the case last year, this year’s race will have its headquarters, otherwise called Designated Service Point (DSP), in the small village of Mmankgodi.
According to Reid, the village was chosen as the new race headquarters for safety reasons as well as to avoid the bustle and hustle of Game City, Gaborone, which was becoming a logistical nightmare.
He says the race will be based in the village until 2013, when a new DSP is expected to be announced.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), Myra Sekgororoane, has lauded the race, which is being touted as the country’s biggest sporting tourism event.
Speaking at the TDR launch, the BTO CEO said the race gives the country an opportunity to promote itself as a tourism destination of choice. Sekgororoane says the BTO, which will be partnering the race for a second year in a row has seen this potential hence its decision to be part of the event.
According to Sekgororoane, surveys in the past race have shown that the annual event was worth P7 million to Botswana.
The BTO chief pointed to the growth of the race into a four-day event as a testimony to the success and popularity of the race. She says in celebration of the race’s 30th anniversary, a parade has been billed for Gaborone on the eve of the TDR.
The race, which is sponsored by local cellular network giants, Mascom, will this year have two new additional sponsors, Monster Energy drink as well as Africa’s new fuel suppliers, Puma Energy.