MUDDY WINNERS: This Toyota Hilux, crewed by Leeroy Poulter and navigator Rob Howie, is leading the Special Vehicle catergory ahead of the 2015 Botswana Desert Race. Image: Keino Davie
JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng - Competitors familiar with the Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race will not be surprised to hear the route for this year’s race, over June 26-28, will pose "a demanding challenge" with crews being made to work for good results on the only marathon event on the South African Cross-Country championship.
The race will be Round 3 of the series and is highly important in the context of current standings in the Production and Special Vehicle championships.
Production Vehicle title contenders need to rein in Toyota Hilux pair Leeroy Poulter/Rob Howie from their early lead; the Special Vehicle category, Overall, Class A and Class P championships are all tied.
MULTITUDE OF TERRAIN
Adri Roets, route director, said: "It's your typical Desert Race course so there are no real surprises there but, just to make it a little more interesting, there has been late rain over the route and plenty of long grass.
"We were at pains for 2015 to make sure the route was laid out to benefit spectators and there will be plenty of support for crews at numerous road crossings where the course runs close to isolated villages."
For the second year in a row race HQ, the start/finish and the service park will be at the Jwaneng Sport Club and adjoining showground complex. The route for the 100km qualifying race on June 26 to determine start positions will take crews across the A2 highway and south to Mokomma before heading back to Jwaneng.
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June 27 will see crews complete two 225km loops with a compulsory 20-minute stop at the end of the first loop. The route again heads towards Mokomma and then move further south towards Maokanne and Sese before turning back to Jwaneng.
Crews will complete two 210km loops, again with the compulsory 20-minute service halt at the end of the first lap, on the final day. The course will head south towards Lefhoko and Tsonyane then turn north of Sese on the way back to the finish in Jwaneng.
HUGE CROWD EXPECTED
The qualifying race will start at 11:30am and on June 27 and 28 racing will start at 8:30am. Public access to race HQ will be controlled but there will be no restrictions along the route and free entry to spectator areas.
Botswana police and traffic authorities will again mount a huge crowd-control exercise with a large crowd expected along the route over the three days.
Police and traffic authorities will also be on duty at designated overnight camping areas.
Roets said: "Once again we have had superb co-operation from Botswana Tourism, Debswana Mine, Jwaneng, and other local authorities and the police and traffic departments. As usual the race will be a major talking-point throughout Botswana and enthusiasts are preparing for what will be another memorable event."