Branch in battle to keep top spot

Battling through: Branch is in pole position. PIC: MOTORSPORT SOUTH AFRICA
Battling through: Branch is in pole position. PIC: MOTORSPORT SOUTH AFRICA

Top local rider, Ross Branch is in a battle to keep his place at the summit of the 2024 World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) ahead of the third round. Branch will line-up for the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid to be held in Portugal from April 2-7.

The local biker ascended to the lead of the World Championship after finishing second at the just-ended Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The race represents the second of five rounds of the 2024 W2RC. Branch became the first local rider ever to take pole position in the championship. The biker accumulated 20 points at the Abu Dhabi terrain to take his tally to 50. Branch had bagged 30 points from the 2024 Dakar Rally and round one of the W2RC. A maximum of 25 points now awaits Branch in the Portuguese and Spanish terrains.

The Jwaneng-raised biker can potentially amass 75 points from three rounds of the championship. Branch will, however, face stiff competition over the 1, 758km long terrain over five years. The Dakar Rally winner, Ricky Brabec ,has fallen to second place after he sat out the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The American biker is 12 points behind Branch with 28 points while South African, Aaron Mare concludes the top three standings with 15 points. Brabec will return to the saddle for the third round. This presents Branch with some advantage as Brabec missed a single W2RC round thus far while Mare will miss the BP Rally-Raid. The BP Ultimate Rally-Raid entry list also includes heavyweights such as Andrien van Beveren of France and Chilean Pablo Quintilla. Van Beveren is the 2021 W2RC champion while Quintilla has won the championship on two occasions and the two could pose a threat to Branch's lead. Branch's Hero Motorsport Team Rally remains in the lead of the W2RC manufacturer standings with 75 points after two rounds. In second place is Monster Energy Honda Team with 62 points.

Editor's Comment
Routine child vaccination imperative

The recent Vaccination Day in Motokwe, orchestrated through collaborative efforts between UNICEF, USAID, BRCS, and the Ministry of Health, underscores a commendable stride towards fortifying child health services.The painful reality as reflected by the Ministry of Health's data regarding the decline in routine immunisation coverage since the onset of the pandemic, is a cause for concern.It underscores the urgent need to address the...

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