29 November 2013
With many South African motorcycle competitors regularly competing in the annual Dakar Rally, a South African “rally raid”, the Namaqua African Rally, is set to be run in the Western Cape for the first time in 2014, from 25 April to 3 May.
Initiated by off-road motorcycle enthusiast and businessman George Booker, who is also the organiser of the event, the Namaqua African Rally will start and finish at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, with the bulk of the racing taking place around Vredendal on the Cape west coast.
Vredendal will be home to the overnight bivouac at the Vredendal Show Grounds. The riders will return there after each of the four days of racing and will travel back to Cape Town on Saturday, 3 May. A final racing section will be held at the Atlantis Dunes before a ceremonial finish at the V&A Waterfront, which will also host the awards ceremony.
The rally, which falls under the auspices of Motorsport South Africa, will cater for motorcycle riders in three different categories. Motorcycle and quad competitors will be able to enter the competition category in various classes, while riders who do not want to race can either enter in the “Rally Raid” category or the Adventure Tour section.
“Rally Raid” riders will cover 350 or more kilometres a day and will share some of the same sections as the competition riders, while those in the Adventure Tour will follow the race according to reference points supplied to them each night at the Riders’ Briefing. All riders will stay at the overnight bivouac.
‘A spectacular event’
Booker said he was extremely excited about the new event in a statement. “This is going to be a spectacular event and we would like to see the enthusiastic South African dirt bike riders, be it competitors or the more adventurous riders, getting involved in our own Dakar Rally type event,” he said.
“This is, however, not only about the race, but also about the Cape and the Western Cape coast and all the communities who are to benefit from it.
“We are working together with the Western Cape Tourism, the Matzikama Municipality and Wesgro [the Western Cape destination marketing agency] to ensure the maximum involvement and benefit for all.”
Booker added: “South Africa has produced many famous off-road motorcycle and quad riders, who have represented the country on the world stage at the beginning of each year participating in the Dakar Rally. Many riders will, however, never get to the Dakar Rally and are now getting a chance to get a taste of the ‘Dakar’ and to compete in their own country, while riders who are not competing can get a chance to be part of the event,”
Various companies have already confirmed their partnership with the Namaqua Africa Rally, including Brent Oil SA, which will be supplying the race competitors and “Rally Raid” riders (not Adventure Tour entrants) with fuel for their motorcycles and quads during the race as part of the race package.
Entrants from Gauteng and the northern part of the country will also be able to have their bikes and quads transported to Cape Town and back with Junior Smith Trucking. The service is included in the entry fee, as is the Selftrack tracking system for each competitor.
Entries for the event, with a 10 percent discount for those made before 17 January 2014, can be made online at www.racecontrol.co.za
The organisers say they have already been contacted by riders from as far as Namibia and Europe about the event and are hoping to have a few well-known international riders competing.