This year’s Subaru Kalahari Challenge has registered over 200 cyclists, a more than 40 percent increase compared to last year’s participation.
The cyclists are from as far afield as the United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.
The media liaison for the Gaborone Cycling Club, Peter Sekwale, revealed during a press briefing recently that over and apart from the hundred teams already registered, a substantial number of people has been placed on the waiting list in case any of the riders decides to drop out at the last minute. Sekwale also appealed to the public not to remove the orange sticks that will be put up as markers for the route the riders will be taking on the weekend of the race.
This year’s race promises even tougher competition among riders as cycling greats have registered for the mountain bike challenge.
Amongst the praised contestants for this year are Yolande Speedy ÔÇô South African Woman’s Champion and Olympic representative, Paul and Andre Cordes ÔÇô South African cycling champions, John-Michael du Preez ÔÇô Under 23 South African champions and Fiona Coward the Sabie Experience organizer.
The popular mountain bike race, which is scheduled for July 25 ending on July 26th, has been confirmed to set off at Game City next to Kgale Hill and finishing off at the Gaborone Yacht club (GYC).
The organizers of the event, Kingsley and Associates, have also set up camping and ablution facilities for the weekend at the GYC.
Around 350 people will be accommodated at the campsite at the overnight stop in Lobatse, where the riders will reach on the first day before proceeding to Otse and finishing off in Gaborone at the Yacht club.
Kim Van Zyl of Kingsley and Associates said that they have ensured that all their facilities are able to cater for the massive amount of teams that are set to participate in the two day mountain bike challenge.
The Gaborone Cycling Club announced earlier that because of complaints they received from some riders that the second day was “a bit rough”, they took the initiative and turned things around.
They decided to make the first day rough and long ride making Day 2 less straining. The riders will, on day one, start at 9 a. m. from Game City Upper Park and head on to St Joseph’s College, veering onto Mokolodi and passing through the Mokolodi Nature Reserve, Manyana, Lekgolobotlho and Ntlhanthle before finishing off at a private rustic camp in the Lobatse Hills.
The second day is a bit easier, only 85 km and will see riders off through Otse, Lephala, Mogonye, Boatle, Sentlhane, Mokolodi 2 and Old Naledi before finishing at the Gaborone Yacht Club, near Gaborone Dam.
The Sales and Marketing Representative for Subaru Gaborone, Joseph Khengere, said that Subaru will not back down from sponsoring the race anytime soon. He said that in the past four years, Subaru has sponsored the event and has benefited financially from it and is proud to go on even through there is a recession.
This year Subaru sponsored the event to the tune of P50 000.
“Subaru will afford members of the public to test drive a Subaru on the Friday before the race, a car display will also be on from 4 o’clock to 8 o’clock at the Gaborone Yatch Club,” he said.
Duma FM will be providing live cross-overs on their radio station during the race to keep the public informed about the progress of the riders and to get the riders’ perspective on the event.