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Ross to branch out

RAISING DUST: Ross Branch
RAISING DUST: Ross Branch

Kalahari Ferrari revved up for Russian glory

Top rider, Ross Branch, ain’t done yet.

After a stunning first-place finish at the Rally Kazakhstan last Sunday, Branch already has his eyes firmly set on the Silk Way Rally in Russia and Mongolia from the 1st to 11th July.

The ‘Kalahari Ferrari’ is looking to bag his second 2021 Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) Cross-Country Rally World Championship following his historic victory in Kazakhstan.

The calendar for the 2021 Cross-Country Rally World Championship season is set to feature six long-distance rally raid events; including two marathon events in the Silk Way Rally and the Rally dos Sertões in Brazil from 13th to 22nd August.

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Other rallies are BP Ultimate Portugal Rally (16-21 September), Rallye du Maroc in Morroco (8-13 October), and the Abhu Dabhi Desert Challenge in the United Arab Emirates from the 6th to 12th November.

The 35-year-old Jwaneng native told Voice Sport that the next six months will be the most exciting in his career. His Yamaha WRF450 is expected to do all the talking and help him accumulate more points in the hotly contested Championship. He said his win in Kazakhstan could be the boost he needed to do well in this year’s rallies.

“I am really excited to have won this race, it was very competitive with some of my Dakar Rally opponents chasing hard. Finishing ahead of them was a huge accomplishment,” an exciting Branch told Voice Sport.

“Most importantly it was an incredible team performance and a reminder to people that we are still competitive after a disappointing display at the previous Dakar Rally. This is a massive confidence booster as we prepare for the upcoming races,” he said.

After a promising start to the 2021 Dakar Rally Branch had to bow out of the competitions on stage nine due to a mechanical fault. A teary Branch received overwhelming support from his adoring fans following a disappointing end.

BIG WIN: Branch wins the 5th stage of Rally Kazakhstan

BIG WIN: Branch wins the 5th stage of Rally Kazakhstan

With the rally in Dakar now behind him, Branch told Voice Sport that he’ll be jetting out of the country next week for the Sil Way Rally in Russia, which commences on Thursday 1st July.
“There’s too much excitement as we get ready for the marathon event in Russia,” Branch said.

A confident Branch said he intends to compete in all the rallies, as his intention is to win the Championship this year.

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“For me to achieve that goal I have to win a couple of races, and I’m confident that I will do quite well,” he said.

Branch is currently leading the championship standings with 29 points followed by Matthias Walkner of Austria with 23 points, while French man Adrien Van Beveren is third with 19 points.

With sports still suspended in the country due to Covid-19, the ‘Kalahari Ferrari’ could not hide his disappointment with the suspension of the popular Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert.

“It’s such a pity that we lost this race. It’s always nice to compete in your home ground but I just hope that next year the race will return and with it a chance to compete in front of local fans,” concluded Branch.

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