The Head of Competitors Department at Dakar Rally, Xavier Gavroy, heaped praises at the Kalahari 1000 Desert Race, saying it is well secured and organised.
“There is tough security, the Police and the organisers did a good job to make sure that the event went well; it was well managed and secure,” said Gavroy last week in Kumakwane.
He said though it cannot be compared to the Dakar Rally, the Kalahari Desert Race continues to be impressive and can develop into a big race. He said he was impressed with the sponsorship that the race is getting and the government’s willingness to get involved in the event every year.
Some law enforcers at the Race said this year’s event was an improvement when compared to last events in terms of security and general behaviour. However, there were incidents of some people being robbed of their valuables. Botswana Police Director of Traffic, Katlholo Mosimanegape, said he is not sure of the incidents of theft, fights and stabbing. He referred this publication to Thamaga Police as he said they were supposed to be the ones handling the event.
He said with the absence of camping, it was easy to control the spectators. He said there were some who were camping illegally and said the Police took them out of the camping site as camping was strictly not allowed.
“This year was a bit better than the rest. But as it is always an occurrence at this events, only few people misbehaved,” said Mosimanegape.
When quizzed about Batswana’s alleged tendency of having a ‘racing mentality’ during this Race, by speeding on local roads in a bid to emulate their professional racing heroes, Mosimanegape said this year was different in terms of behaviour on the roads around the Race routes when compared to last year’s.
Mosimanegape said most people who went there went to watch the racing spectacle and concentrated on that.
The Thamaga Police Station Commander could not be reached for a comment at the time of going to press as his mobile phone rang unanswered.
Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy of Toyota have notched up their second consecutive title. This means they will be competing in the Dakar Rally of more than 8 000 kilometres next year in January as Kalahari 1000 Desert Race is accredited as one of the feeder races to the Dakar Rally.
This time around, the Dakar Rally has added Bolivia and replaced Peru to form a three country race with Argentina and Chile.