The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) Tshekedi Khama has cleared confusion on the certainty of annual Toyota 1 000 Kilometre Desert Race, confirming that the event will take place on the dates that have already been confirmed.
Following the relocation of the motorsport extravaganza showpiece from Jwaneng last year, the ailing town of Selebi-Phikwe was earmarked as the third destination to host the event after it was first hosted in Mantshwabisi village in Kweneng district.
Mmantshwabisi as the motorsport is popularly known to its legion of fans has been surrounded by doubts whether the event will take place this year.
Minister Khama on Thursday confirmed that the desert race will take place at Phikwe on June 21-23, 2019. He revealed this when answering a question in Parliament from the Selebi-Phikwe West MP Dithapelo Keorapetse who had asked the minister to update the house on the preparations for this year desert race.
He said the preparations for the event are on schedule as Botswana Motorsport has already assembled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) on technical matters, adding that Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) was giving all the support in this event as before.
He said the organisers – Botswana Tourism (BTO), Botswana Motorsport (BMS) and the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS) – will be Selebi-Phikwe on March 25 to engage on the route preparations for the race.
SPEDU, BTO and Botswana Motorsport will also engage regarding the financing required for the event. The Sam Sono Stadium has been identified as the Designated Service Point.
“There is no doubt on the Desert Race being held at Phikwe and I stand here to clear any confusion regarding the event. It will take place on the 21st -23rd June. However, the full series of the events is yet to be finalised and therefore while the start and finish points will be at the Sam Sono Stadium, the route is yet to be confirmed,” minister added.
He said the role of Selebi Phikwe Town Council will be to host the event in its locality and shall commit and avail facilities namely, its Golf Course, Sam Sono Stadium, Makhubu Area 2, Show Ground and any other ground that shall be agreed upon as necessary for the successful execution of the event by parties.
According to Khama, the local community is expected to benefit economically by providing accommodation, catering and other services during the event. He said the detailed plan of how the town and its residents will benefit is yet to be shared by SPEDU and Selebi Phikwe Town Council.
Keorapetse said he has been worried about the silence from the stakeholders with regards to the progress on Phikwe hosting the desert race and hence expressed gratitude for the positive update from the minister.