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Motorsport cancels season opener

KABELO BORANABI
Sponsorship challenges: The motorsport season opener has been postponed PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Engines will remain silent for now as the Botswana Motor Sport (BMS) has postponed the season opener that was scheduled for Orapa this Saturday due to lack of sponsorship. 

Speed enthusiasts were hoping to quench their seven-month thirst as motorsport was expected to roar into action for the first time since the government relaxed the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

The season opener was initially scheduled for March, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak the event was rescheduled.  “We had to postpone because we could not secure sponsorship for the event on time. Despite the effort we put to host the race, we could not secure sponsorship as the private sector has shifted focus to helping the government fight the pandemic. We were just unprepared to host this race, the marking was not done on time so the best decision we took was to postpone,” BMS vice president, Roseline Mamaloukos said. She added the postponement has forced the BMS to cancel this season’s off-road and motocross championships.  The BMS season usually runs from March to November, and hosts seven rounds of both national off road and motocross championships.

“We were caught off guard by the pandemic, we had not prepared for it. We have tried to do everything possible to have a national championship, but as things stand we are going to need

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a lot of time and resources. We thought of squeezing the events to accommodate the championship, but it would be too risky for both the supporters and competitors. So this season we will not have a championship, but we would have club events to keep our riders active.”

“The most important thing is to comply with regulations of the COVID-19 Task Force team. We have realised that off-road events may motivate unruly behaviour like what normally happens at the Desert Race. At the moment, we are not sure if we would host any event soon. We will get direction from clubs of when and if they would be able to host their proposed races,” Mamaloukos said.  The BMS has missed the Motocross of African Nations (MxoAN) that was to be held in Uganda while the popular 1000 Toyota Desert Race (TDR) was cancelled.

The proposed Morolong 2020, which was to be the largest off-road cross-country race in Africa, remains in limbo. The race was to cover a distance of more than 6,000km, surpassing the Afriquia Merzouga Rally that runs for close to 3,000km in Morocco and the 1,000km TDR.



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