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Dakar Rally aspirant kick-starts season

KABELO BORANABI
Riding through: Armstrong will start Dakar Rally preparations in earnest
Dakar Rally aspirant, Brady Armstrong begins preparations for the race at the Gauteng Xcross Country Club (GXCC) championship round two to be held at Fortville, South Africa.

The teen sensation has been impressive on the bike over the past season attracting international attention as he bids to turn professional. Earlier this year, he was part of the HT Rally Raid team for the Dakar Rally.

The 18-year-old joined the Netherlands-based HT Rally Raid Husqvarna motorcycle team, as an observer for the spectacle held in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking to Mmegi Sport ahead of the weekend’s race, Armstrong said it is a big leap from the OR3 class to the OR1, which is a pro-racer class used in the Dakar Rally.

He, however, admitted difficulties, but was excited to kickstart his preparations after missing the first round of the series. “At the moment, I am new to the 450cc (OR1) motorcycle. I am learning and open to advice, the preparation for the Dakar Rally includes a lot of navigation and that also is still new to me,” he said.

“I’m still young and very excited to learn. (For the weekend) I have been doing a lot of work to improve my fitness levels. The class I am racing in, is highly competitive so in order for me to be competitive I need to ensure my fitness is up there.” 

Armstrong further said he was happy to get on the 450cc bike for the first time ever and would be hoping to put Dakar

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lessons to practice.

“Dakar is the world’s toughest race. There is too much to learn from navigation, bike set up, team processes, mental and physical preparations. Having the opportunity to go to Saudi Arabia has increased my knowledge of this race. I’m happy to get on the 450cc and train on it,” he said. 

Armstrong had a good season in 2019 on the bike including a solid performance at 1000km Toyota Desert Race in Selebi-Phikwe where he finished the first round of the race in second position before his race was stopped due to a mechanical problem. According to his father and team manager of Armstrong’s Racing Projects, Gregg, the youngster could permanently join the HT Rally Raid team once he completes his studies.  “We are currently arranging application to Dutch universities for him next year to study and be close to HT Rally Raid. Brady completes his matric (BGCSE) this year, then will leave to train and race full time globally. We are currently in the process of negotiating and planning with our sponsors for Dakar 2021 and we have not yet finalised,” Gregg said.

Brady is set to follow in the footsteps of Ross Branch and Vincent Crosbie who have tasted the Dakar Rally terrain before.

He could be the youngest competitor next year if he realises his dream.



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