Botswana motorcyclist, Vincent Crosbie, is eyeing 2017 as the year he aims to write history and fly the Botswana flag at the World’s most grueling race, the Dakar Rally. After being a crew member for Zambian motorcyclist David Reeve at this year’s rally, the local cyclist is now aiming to be the first Motswana to compete at the event. “This was not an easily taken decision. I thought very hard about whether to compete at the rally or not and eventually I decided to do it,” Crosbie explained. “I don’t know if it is stupidity or bravery, but it has always been my dream not just to participate but to compete and finish the race,” Crosbie said when asked what may have peaked his interest in participating in the race.
Having spent time at the rally, the local rider says he is well aware of what he is getting himself into when he goes to compete at the rally. “This race is the most difficult considering that riders have to do 9000 kilometres in 14 days, all this without any road markings or the use of global positioning system (GPS) but just a map. Whether going there as a rider or just a crew member, this is a very hard race. It tests you both mentally and physically as sometimes there is no possibility to sleep. As a crew member at the race, there was a time when I had to spend two sleepless nights fixing Reeve’s motorcycle,” Crosbie reminisces.
On why he chose 2017, which is two years away as the year he wants to compete at the race, the local rider said there were a number of factors that influenced his decision. “As you may recall, I have just returned from a broken leg injury I incurred this past year and have just restarted competing again. I believe I need time to get myself ready, both physically and psychologically for such a grueling race,” Crosbie replied.
The local lad says between now and the 2017 Dakar Rally, he will compete in as many competitions as possible to get himself ready. Aside from competing in local races, including in the Kalahari Toyota 1000 Desert Race, Crosbie says he will also, from the 23rd of May to June this year, compete at the National Series in South Africa. “Other races I intend to compete in are the Africa Championships billed for Kenya in June, the Amageza series which is expected to come to Botswana in August as well as the Rally Ollibiya which is held at Morocco in October. These are tough races which I hope will help me prepare for the 2017 Dakar Rally,” Crosbie said. Apart from the races, the local cyclist says he will be planning a tour of Botswana through the wilderness to prepare himself for the Dakar Rally.
This he says will be done without the help of a GPS or tarred roads. The other reason is to give himself time to raise the much needed funds to compete in the race. “This race is very expensive to compete in. Our initial budget for the race, based on this year’s race is around 1, 5 million Pula. This money is to cover all expenses involved in competing at the Dakar Rally and includes among others, registration fees, licenses, crew member fees, motorbikes, Hotels, Flights, and all other race related costs,” Crosbie explained.
He says from now on, he will be embarking on a mission to solicit sponsors to help him with the costs. The local lad said to reciprocate the generosity of sponsors, he will do all he can to give them exposure. “Depending on the value of sponsorship, I will avail space in my racing apparel, my motorbike and in my facebook pages and blogs for sponsors to brand themselves.
We will make a plan whereby they can do this for all my preparatory games as well as at the Dakar rally,” Crosbie explained. With the Dakar rally garnering more than 1 200 hours of TV broadcasting in 190 countries, and with 332 media on the rally at any given time, Crosbie says the opportunity will give sponsors a chance to be seen by millions across the world. With more than 664 competitors and at least 4, 5 million spectators the Dakar Rally is one of the biggest races in the World.