The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Thixton ups fund-raising drive for Dakar Rally

- Collin Matiza Sports Editor

ASHLEY Thixton has now moved into overdrive in his fundraisin­g drive for the 2024 Dakar Rally by arranging a Golf Day at Borrowdale Brooke next week.

Thixton is warming up himself for what is probably going to be the biggest challenge in his sporting career.

Thixton, a local motocross champion rider, has decided to throw himself into the “deep end” by entering next year’s Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

The 46th edition of the Dakar Rally, which is also the toughest Rally in the world, is set to take place from January 5 to 19, 2024, from Al’ Ula to Yanbu in Saudi Arabia.

And Thixton, who is known locally more as a motocross rider than a motor rally competitor, has already entered and has been accepted to compete in the motorbike section of next year’s Dakar Rally.

This will be the first time that the 30-yearold motorbike rider will be taking part in the Dakar Rally.

It’s a tough world out there when it comes to racing in the Dakar Rally . . . it will all be blood, sweat and tears during 15 days of racing in the Saudi dunes and Thixton needs to raise US$100 000 for this gruelling adventure in the Middle East country.

And with less than two months to go before the 2024 Dakar Rally revs off in Saudi Arabia, Thixton needs to raise the total amount well ahead of his departure for his tour of the Middle East country on January 1.

And next Thursday, November 23, will see Thixton hosting a Golf Day, dubbed “Get Ash to Dakar 2024” at Borrowdale Brooke.

It will be a betterball stableford which will be graced by long drive world champion Campbell MacMillan who will be joining at hole 3/9, offering to do the first drive at US$100.

A team of four will enter the event for US$200 and sponsorshi­p opportunit­ies will also be available with sponsors paying US$150 per hole and US$200 for gin tent.

There’s also a raffle for a brand new 2024 KTM 300 valued at US$10 000.

The raffle tickets are going for US$100 each and the final draw has been set for December 10 during the prize giving ceremony of the 2023 Zimbabwe Summer Series.

The Zimbabwe Summer Series is the season-ending motocross event which will be held over three days on December 6, 8 and 10 at Donnybrook Park in Harare.

And the local motocross family are expected to rally behind Thixton in his endeavour to raise enough money for the 2024 Dakar Rally.

Meanwhile, preparatio­ns for the 2024 edition of Dakar Saudi Arabia — the world’s most challengin­g rally — are now fully underway, organizers have announced.

The 46th edition of the prestigiou­s Dakar Rally, and the fifth one hosted in the Kingdom, will take place across the country from January 5 to 19. Immediatel­y following the last rally in February, the groundwork for the fifth edition commenced with scouting for the 2024 editions of both the Dakar Rally and Dakar Classic routes, ensuring competitor­s face no unforeseen dangers or challenges.

The 10-month effort included rescue and support vehicles, trucks, and helicopter­s to sketch out the rally’s stages and the diverse terrains that make the Saudi Dakar Rally distinct. Rally organizers have promised a novel route for its fifth year.

The race will start in AlUla, crossing from west to east through different terrains, allowing racers to witness the country’s stunning landscapes and archaeolog­ical sites.

The journey will include the Empty Quarter desert, circling back to the Red Sea shores, and ending at Yanbu’s Sea Camp after 15 days of rigorous competitio­n.

Considered the pinnacle of motorsport events, the Saudi Dakar Rally annually attracts thrill-seekers and speed enthusiast­s, and is celebrated for its rich heritage, grand scale, and the adrenaline-fuelled experience it aims to offer to an internatio­nal audience.

The previous Saudi Dakar edition was marked as the rally with the longest special, timed stages since 2014, covering nearly 5 000 km of diverse terrains and revealing new vistas in Saudi deserts.

Dakar Rally is managed by the Amaury Sport Organisati­on in partnershi­p with the Saudi Motorsport Co, under the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation’s provision.

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