N°18 Bike BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM
driver
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ROSS BRANCH

(bwa) 1.75m / 84kg

Hobbies

moutain bikes, golf, adventures

Sponsors

Mack Air, KTM, Kwa Nokeng Oil, Brother, LeaderTread, WP, Motorex

2019: 13th (best rookie)

Merzouga Rally (2nd), Morocco Rally 2019 (9th)
3-time South-African cross-country champion
Botswana 1000 Desert Race (7 victories)
Motocross African champion (6 times)

Interview

“Squeeze myself into a factory team”

His nickname, the “Kalahari Ferrari” says it all, Ross Branch is a reference both in motocross and cross-country. He’s claimed all the possible continental titles in both disciplines. In 2019, it was time for the big leap up to the Dakar. And the rider from Botswana made the best of this first experience. His goal was to reach the Top 20. He did better than that by finishing best rookie of the event reaching the final podium in an outstanding 13th position. This airline pilot who flies all week and races on weekends knows how difficult it is to just have the opportunity to do the Dakar and then to perform on it. His dream now is to carry on improving and maybe find a spot in a factory team. In the meantime and for his second Dakar, he will again be part of the Bas Dakar team riding a brand new KTM. Delighted to discover Saudi Arabia, he knows the unknown plays in his favour.

“My first memory of the Dakar goes back to 1992 when I went to see the rally that was finishing in Cape Town. I wanted to do it but motocross was my first love. I only started riding in cross-country later. It took a while to come. When I started, I knew I had one opportunity. I needed to finish and get a result. I knew it would be difficult to go back but thanks to my result, all my sponsors were 100% behind me again. That first Dakar was exactly what I expected. I lived a dream, face to face with the people I would watch on TV. Despite crashing and mechanical issues, I had fun every single day. Of course the result was a surprise. I was aiming at the Top 20 but finishing best rookie was a bonus. It’s become a drug. I now want to do better and hope to find a deal to do more rallies in the future and squeeze myself into a factory team. At least I’ve finished and the monkey’s off my back. To do better I need to be more consistent. I have the speed of the 10 best riders but whether I finish in the top 20 or top 15, I don’t know. I’ll have to play it by ear. Experience is the main thing and I learned so much being with the best riders at the Merzouga and Morocco rallies. My main struggle was being able to read the road book and go fast at the same time, so I trained hard in Botswana doing that. Going to Saudi Arabia is new and very exciting. The terrain looks amazing and it should be a really difficult Dakar. I know that plays in my favour.”

Vehicle

BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM

  • Mark : KTM
  • Model : 450 RALLY FACTORY REPLICA
  • Performance tuner : BAS DAKAR
  • Assistance : BAS DAKAR
  • Class : G1.1 A.S.O. Elites

Ranking 2020

Scratch Stage General
1 14 14 14
2 1 1 6
3 46 46 21
4 3 3 18
5 7 7 14
6 85 91 26
7 16 16 27
8 - - 27
9 5 5 25
10 10 10 23
11 11 11 21
12 23 23 21

All news of R. Branch

Newsflashes - 15/01 07:12 [GMT +3] - Moto

Branch continues to enjoy a fine Dakar

In spite of a few difficulties that have distanced him from the top 10 in the general standings, Ross Branch is proving day after day that he has the speed to cut it among the pro riders. The man from Botswana has started the special in fifth position today with the possibility of putting himself in the spotlight again in the hope of being recruited by a factory team!

...

Newsflashes - 10/01 15:42 [GMT +3] - Moto

Branch finally finishes after a big setback

Ross Branch has finally managed to cross the finishing line after riding a considerable part of the stage with a flat tyre. The man from Botswana has lost 2 hours and 24 minutes due to this mishap...

Newsflashes - 10/01 11:45 [GMT +3] - Moto

Branch must finish with a flat tyre

The end of the stage will be long and tough for Ross Branch who has arrived at the second neutralised zone with a back wheel in a very bad state. With 177 km left to cover, the man from Botswana just wants to, “get to the finishing line” and is remaining philosophical: “It’s a stroke of bad luck again, but that’s the just the race, I suppose”.

...

Reactions - 09/01 13:06 [GMT +3] - Moto

Ross Branch: “The bike was jumping around a lot”

Seventh on the day’s special, Ross Branch finished the stage in the company of Price, Brabec and Benavides. The rider from Botswana is continuing his apprenticeship on the Dakar.

“The days are getting better. My shoulder is still quite sore, so I’m just trying to look after that and keep the speed up. Today was good. The navigation wasn’t as bad...

Newsflashes - 08/01 15:36 [GMT +3] - Moto

Branch comes in fourth

Starting dead last, Ross Branch produced a solid performance today, finishing just 1'06" shy of what could have been his second stage win.

Newsflashes - 08/01 09:33 [GMT +3] - Moto

Branch soldiers on

Ross Branch is back for more this morning after hurting his shoulder yesterday. However, the winner of stage 2 is being cautious and has already conceded 4 minutes to the leader of the special after 50 kilometres.

 

Newsflashes - 07/01 16:02 [GMT +3] - Moto

Branch finishes 1 hour 30 behind

Ross Branch has finished his ordeal at last. After a fall that left him with an injured shoulder, the winner of the second stage was finally able to reach the finishing line, albeit with gritted teeth, 1 hour and 27 minutes behind the day’s winner.

Newsflashes - 07/01 12:23 [GMT +3] - Moto

Branch: “I hit a rock”

Ross Branch has suffered during this 3rd stage and has arrived at the second neutralised zone 55 minutes behind the stage leader. “I had a bit of bad luck and fell after 88 km. I took a bend a little too wide and there was a rock which I hit with my back wheel. It threw me off the bike and I’m feeling a little battered, but that’s just the race, I suppose. I’m...

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