The number of solo cyclists entered to compete in this year’s Botswana Kalahari Challenge has increased tremendously this year.
Of all the cyclists who have entered their names to compete this year, a third are solo cyclists while the remaining two thirds will be in teams.
Speaking in an interview, Gaborone Cycling Club (GCC) Media Liaison Officer, Peter Sekwale, said of the more than more than 300 cyclists have registered for this year’s event, at least 100 will be in the individual/solo event and the more than 200 remaining will race in more than 100 teams.
Of the total number of cyclists who have entered to race, at least 50 % are from South Africa, with Botswana making only 35% of entries while the remaining are from other countries. This year’s race, which will boast of My Spar Botswana as its main sponsor, will kick off this coming Saturday at the Wharic Park in Gaborone.
According to Sekwale, while the increase in solo cyclists competing is a welcome development, it has come more as a surprise as the race is mainly a team event. He however said despite the rise in the numbers of cyclists entering the competition as individuals rather than teams, there will be no changes in the way the race is organized, saying it will continue to give team cyclists priority as a way to encourage cyclists to compete in teams rather than as individuals.
He said as such, even the prize money will go more into racing teams than to individual cyclists. “While the team event will be divided into different categories as is the norm in our events, there will not be many categories in the individual events. Most of the prize money will go towards team events, making it the most attractive in the race,” the GCC Media Liaison Officer explained.
Sekwale said as such, besides walking away with P3000 cash for winning their race category, the team event’s overall winners will also win P6000 cash, making their total prize money rise to salivating P9000 cash. The runners up team and the third team on the podium in the teams’ overall categories will go home with P3000 and P1000 cash prizes respectively.
As is the norm, the GCC Media Liaison Officer said the team event will be divided into different age categories with the winners of each category, their runners ups and third positions earning themselves P3000, P2000 and P1000 in that order. Things will however be different in the individual event where there will only be the men and ladies’ categories and no age divisions.
My Spar Botswana will be this year’s event’s main sponsors, having forked out at least P150 000 towards the race. Other sponsors will include Mascom Wireless Botswana and Botswana Tourism Organization who have sponsored the race with P54000 and P37000 respectively.
Meanwhile, there is hope that local riders will continue dominating the race as they did in last year’s edition. Local solo cyclists Nevelle van Zyl and Tim Hammond, who came first and second in last year’s event are expected to lead Botswana’s charge for dominance.
Things will be a little bit different in the team category where upcoming young cyclist Thato Madimabe will be teaming with Jabu Tabolane who was part of last year’s winning team. The 19 year old Madimabe will be replacing Tabolane’s partner of last year, Tumisang Ramasankate who is still nursing an injury he incurred when he crashed into an emergency medical vehicle during the Joburg2C cycling race in South Africa. Meanwhile, Sekwale said there will be no radical changes in this year’s racing route with only the village of Ranaka eliminated from the route.
After their first 30km into Mmokolodi Nature reserve on Saturday, the riders will then cycle another 30km within the nature reserve before doing a 40km ride to Lekgolobotlo where they will spend the night. The race will then conclude on Sunday at Wharic Park.