The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, the oldest off-road race on the off-road racing calendar, which has grown from a small nondescript event into a major feature on the Botswana calendar second only to soccer, will be held over three days from June 13 to 15.
This year, the race, which will be organized by the Four-Wheel Drive Club of Southern Africa and sponsored by Total, will have Three National Off-road races cars, bikes and quads.
“This has given us an entry in the region of 400 plus competitors. In fact, this year we will have to limit the number of competitors we can safely accommodate on the route,” said a document from the organizers.
According to the press statement, there will be three 1000km routes available to the three nation races, therefore, giving the spectators plenty of opportunity to see the competitors passing. The competitors will be completing 500 grueling km per day. “They will have to deal with deep sand, rocks, thorn trees, mud, river crossing, not to mention cows, donkeys and chickens on their way,” says the release.
The organizers have revealed that they will be working closely with the Botswana Tourism Board (BTB) who will be assisting them by keeping the 120 000 odd spectators. The Board is instrumental in making sure that there are correct permissions to hold this event, says the organizers. “The BTB will also be coordinating the government resources that are made available to the event to manage the spectators along the routes as well as to manage the press and media releases,” said Keitumetse Setlang, BTB Public Relations and Communication Manager.
Setlang said that the government of Botswana pledged their support by providing the service of 600 of their police force and traffic officers to make this a safe event. “They have also made available the services of their Defense force helicopter to be on stand by for medical emergencies,” she added.
According to the press statement, the Four Wheel Drive Club Southern Africa has been the organizing club of this race since its inception and are extremely proud of their achievement to date. The organizing team and the 200 officials for the event are all volunteers and do this event because they are passionate about off road racing.
This year there will be about 500 competitors from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho and Swaziland. About 120 000 spectators are expected along the rout every day of the event, and there will be 200 officials, marshals and rescue teams.