It all started as just a dream in the head of local motor biker Vincent Crosbie’s head. However, ultimately the dream became a reality for him and Botswana. For the first time in history, Botswana flag was hoisted high at the just ended 2017 Dakar Rally Challenge as Crosbie crossed the finish line to be the first Motswana to compete in the race and the first to complete the 9000km race. Crosbie’s achievements has not only brought him to the spotlight as an amateur at Dakar but has also sold the country to the rest of the world. Crosbie finished the race at position 36 out of the 150 riders who started the race. Only 90 riders managed to finish the race. The Dakar Rally is not for the faint hearted because of the tough and challenging terrain it follows. Only the best of the best are expected to beat the odds to win the race, let alone finish it. For Crosbie, going to Dakar has never been for glamour but to finish the race since it was his first time at the challenge. His love for riding the bike took him to Dakar.
“Dakar is by far the biggest event of my life. The competition is tough, nerve-wracking and very hectic but my love for riding kept me going to the finish line,” he said. In their quest to reach the finish line, riders race through three countries. Through the performance he put at the competition, Crosbie sold Botswana to the world Botswana from Argentina through Paraguay to Bolivia. The 26-year-old rider explained how exciting it was when many people would come to him during and after to ask him about Botswana. “It was great as more people began to know about my country. It showed that they recognised the potential,” he added. Despite the hectic race that the young rider faced that did not stop him from enjoying himself at Dakar. He said the race provided the greatest fun he has ever had in racing. “Even though it was rough, tough and tiring at Dakar, there was no day that I never had fun. It was adventurous, amazing and I had a phenomenal experience throughout the race,” said Crosbie. They raced through different range of landscapes and weather conditions ranging from sub-zero temperatures to scorching heat. His love for riding and mission to cross the finish line kept him going despite the near impossible terrains.
The young rider was given a hero’s welcome home on Monday by a multitude of Batswana at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. Even though it remains to be seen if Crosbie will be taking part again at Dakar in 2018 he remains open to the idea. He said the next time he goes he wants to take with him more Batswana to get the experience of the race as well. Crosbie thanked all those who supported his Dakar dream from small donors to big sponsors. Crosbie enjoyed support from sponsors like Brand Botswana, Wesbank and O3. Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) CEO, Letsebe Sejoe, commended Crosbie for the hard work he put up to sell the country. He said BITC through Brand Botswana will also support those individuals and teams who continue to take the country to the world. Sejoe believes that with more people will now come to Botswana and seek investment opportunities in it. Botswana Tourism Organisation’s Keitumetse Setlang said Crosbie’s good performance can go a long way in promoting sports tourism in Botswana. Sport has always proved to be a great crowd puller and BTO has been looking at taking advantage of this. For some time the organisation has been working on promoting sport tourism in Botswana to try and get more people into the country.