Gaborone — Just days after his impressive first place podium finish in the Kazakhstan FIM cross country rally, motorbike sensational, Ross Branch is set to leave for Russia on Saturday to compete in his maiden Silkway Rally.
Setting off from Russia on July 1, the race will feature 10 varied and technical stages, crossing Siberia and traversing the mountainous Mongolia, before reaching the finish line on July 11.
Speaking in an interview, Branch expressed his readiness for the challenge ahead and vowed for a podium finish on what he termed 'one of the most demanding rallies in the motorsport calendar'.
With the route dominated by vast rocky landscapes, Silkway Rally is tipped to be one of the most demanding routes, which presents a challenge that few events in the world can offer.
Branch, who is no stranger to grueling cross country rallies, having contested in several Dakar rallies, expressed his readiness, saying he was counting on his previous cross country rallies participation in securing a victory.
"The Silkway Rally is a discipline, which requires a lot of experience.
I'm humbled going there and it will be challenging, but that is why I am doing it and putting myself up against it, with the hope to carry on the momentum gained at Kazakhstan Rally," he said.
Despite the vast experience in cross country rallies, Branch said the Silkway Rally would however be more challenging as it covered a lot of kilometres in 10 days, without rest days in between unlike other rallies.
He said the route would cover 5 500 kilometres, including more than 3 500 kilometres of a selective section, adding that the first stages in Russia, would essentially serve as warm up, with a total of 329 timed kilometres.
The arrival on Mogolian soil, Branch said would signal the start of hostilities, with stages featuring between 340 and 540 kilometres of daily selective sections.
He said the race further included the most demanding stage, dubbed the 'marathon', in which participants would have to repair their bikes on their own without any assistance from technical or mechanical team members.
"I enjoy the mental and physical challenge that comes with competing in such a rally and I am adamant that my WR 45 Yamaha motorbike will complement my physical and mental status, with an exceptional performance," he added.
He said the mercury was also expected to drop to negative two degrees Celsius.
Branch applauded Batswana for their support and promised to fly the country's flag high in all the intercontinental competitions.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>