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Branch Wins Maiden World Championship

KABELO BORANABI
KALAHARI FERRARI: Ross Branch won his first FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship at the Kazakhstan Rally PIC: ENDURO21.COM
Ross Branch has bagged his first FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship win at the Kazakhstan Rally that ended yesterday (Sunday) morning. Branch was back on the saddle for Kazakhstan Rally from June 7-13.

This was his first race since a disappointing Dakar Rally campaign in January. The Jwaneng-raised biker was quick off the blocks in the first of the seven day rally, as he bagged stage win on day one in what was the shortest, with just 2.2km of the 2,270km total distance.

On day two, in a stretched route, the Kalahari Ferrari was fourth fastest and hence dropped to third place in overall standings. Branch was back on the top of the standings on day three despite finishing third on the day. He had to overcome a tyre problem with just 50km to the finish of a stage distance just over 300km. Stage four was one of the longest and the fastest of all the rally stages.

The stage was perfectly set for the speedstar but he was not near his best and finished fourth on the stage but led the charts ahead of the final stage held yesterday. The final 267km terrain could be likened to the local terrain as it featured a sandy terrain featured with

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rocky paths. It was a test for the bikers’ speed, endurance and technique. The local lad was the first off the blocks, and maintained the lead to claim his first ever World Championship title. He became the first ever local biker to achieve the feat.

“It is awesome (to win), it is a really a good feeling.

It has been a very long week. But I am pleased with the results. I want to thank the team for making an effort for this race; we really needed this win,” Branch told FIM Cross-country rallies media team. Five more world championship races await Branch.

The first of the two marathon event, the Silk Way Rally is up next in Russia and Mongolia from July 1-11,  Rally dos Sertões will follow next in Brazil from August 13-22. Portugal will host the  BP Ultimate Portugal Rally from September 16-21, before the Rallye du Maroc in Morocco from October 8-13. The World Championship will conclude in the United Arab Emirates for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge from November 6-12.



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