Branch returns tdr stomping grounds
Local motorsports legend, Ross Branch is set to return to racing in local shores this year after confirming that he will be competing at the Toyota Desert Race in Selibe Phikwe this year.
Branch, who has put local motorsport in the international spot light recently after competing in two Dakar Rally events told BG Sport that he will be definitely returning to his old stomping grounds that forged his legendary racing career. The KTM 450cc rider gained international fame after winning the best rookie award at the 2019 Dakar Rally in Peru after , securing 13th place in his debut. However, the 2020 Dakar Rally recently held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia saw him securing 21st position after a nasty fall and tyre burst.
However, the rider, affectionately known as the Kalahari Ferrari, made a lasting impact at the 2020 Dakar when he won the second stage of the 8000 km desert odyssey. Branch’s exploits at the TDR were a prequel of sneak peak of his achievements at the Dakar Rally later in his illustrious career. During his early days in previous TDR’s in places like Jwaneng, Branch would beat and embarrass his closest rival by a margin of 20 minutes. By the time the 2nd place rider arrived the KTM pilot would have taken off his racing overalls and finishing up media interviews.
“I did not even know I had won stage 2, it is only when you get to the finish that you are told your position,” Branch said upon arrival at the Sir Seretse Khama Airport this past weekend.It was at the TDR, perhaps the biggest sporting event in the local calendar, that Branch was first introduced to local motorsport fans.
However, this time Branch will be expected to help in raising the profile of the event as motorsport fanatics will focus on both production cars and motorcycle racing. Regarding his crash in the earlier stages, the local rider explained that he was hanging on to the race by a thread as he almost gave up due to a shoulder injury.
“There was a lot of pain killers that was on that helped with my shoulder and I focused on taking one rival at a time and focused on finishing. I focused on finishing the race as I did in 2019 and the risk of crashing increases by 50 percent in such cases,” Branch said.
The KTM racer said he took risks during the 2020 event as he went from 46 to 3rd in one of the earlier stages.