- Ross Branch emerges in overall 2nd place in Bike Division
- Has come from Rookie of the Year in 2019 to Best African Biker in 2024
- Rakgare urges Botswana Motorsport to overcome housekeeping issues
Ross Branch’s historic second-place finish in the Dakar Rally has inspired high level calls for growth and recognition of motorsport in Botswana.
Speaking at a welcome dinner in Gaborone that was held to honour Branch recently, Minister Tumiso Rakgare highlighted the transformative power of motorsport.
“Perhaps unbeknownst to some of us here tonight, this achievement all started as a dream back when Ross was just 3 years old, with the obvious support from his parents who not only believed but also gave him a chance,” he said.
He emphasised the role of talent nurturing and held up Branch’s journey as a testament to remarkable success that is achievable through dedication and support.
Rakgare encouraged Motorsport Executive to engage extensively with key authorities like Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) and Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), the overarching goal being to transform triumphs like Branch’s Dakar Rally achievement into a platform for showcasing Botswana’s motorsport prowess globally, ultimately leading to increased revenue and international recognition.
Acknowledging internal challenges within Botswana Motorsport, Minister Rakgare stressed the urgency of resolving them so that a solid foundation for sustained growth may be created. “I cannot ignore that your house isn’t quite in order,” he said. “Please do something about that as a matter of urgency.”
Directing his attention to Branch and other sports personalities such as Letsile Tebogo, Tumisang Orebonye, and Refilwe Tholakele, the sports minister commended their contributions in promoting Botswana globally.
He expressed gratitude for their efforts and emphasised the “immeasurable value” they bring to the nation by showcasing talent of Batswana, thus fostering national pride.
Tunku Motsumi, Atang Makgekgenene
Reflecting on Botswana’s motorsport history, Minister Rakgare recalled champions like Tunku Motsumi and Atang Makgekgenene, who played pivotal roles in representing the nation on the international stage.
The Minister highlighted Makgekgenene’s victories in the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in 2004 and 2005 as significant milestones in Botswana’s motorsport history.
Meanwhile, Kalahari Ferrari, as Branch is otherwise known, attained a second overall finish in the Bike division of the Dakar Rally last month.
Best African Biker
He is the first Motswana rider to achieve a podium finish in Dakar Rally and is recorded as the Best African Biker at the 2024 Championship race.
Branch has been persistent at the Dakar Rally over the years, winning the title of “Rookie of the Year’ in 2019.