Interview

WICKED DAKAR RALLY 2024

28 August, 2022

THE JOURNEY TO DAKAR RALLY 2024 WITH 3 ZIMBABWEAN WARRIORS.

Wicked Family has always been associated with “The Underdogs” and achieving goals and dreams that were previously considered impossible. That’s why when a chance to team up with these 3 Zimbabwean warriors came along it was only an honor to become a part of the journey and adventure to DAKAR RALLY 2024.

Ashley Thixton – Graeme Sharp – Cameron Thixton

Sparked by the spirit of adventure, national pride, and a touch of madness, Team Dakar263 Zimbabwe will tackle the wickedly difficult and the world’s toughest Rally Race in January 2024 – The Dakar Rally.

3 bikes, 3 Wicked riders; Graeme Sharp (who in 2020, wrote his name into the Dakar Rally history books as the first Zimbabwean to cross the Dakar Rally finish line), Zimbabwe MX sensations, Ash Thixton and Cameron Thixton will represent Zimbabwe & Wicked Family at the highest level of Rally Raid.


Some WICKED Q&A.

How old are you?
Ash – 29, Cam – 26, Graeme – 36

Where are you guys from?
Cam & Ash – Harare, Zimbabwe
Graeme – Kariba, Zimbabwe

How did you get into dirt biking?
Cam & Ash – Fathers’ passion and was introduced to bikes at age 3.
Graeme – I grew up on a ranch in Zimbabwe, bikes were a weekend pursuit that took us to far-flung dams and hills to climb and explore as kids

What bike/s do you ride?
Cam & Ash – KTM 500EXC Graeme – KTM300EXC

What bike/s do you ride?
Cam & Ash – KTM 500EXC Graeme – KTM300EXC

What do you love about biking?
Bikes give you a sense of freedom to take on what you feel in that moment.
The speed is the ultimate thrill to many and most certainly to us.
The brotherhood and Friendships created through biking have will stand as lifelong memories.
Sense of freedom, places you can get to, and the fraternity and like-mindedness of fellow bikers.

What is DAKAR 263?
Dakar 263 are 3 Zimbabweans with a passion for biking who together will achieve the final goal of reaching the Dakar podium.

What made you decide to compete in DAKAR?
Cam & Ash – From as young as we can remember we have been smitten with the event and it’s always been our dream to one day attend the event as a competitor. We live for the concept of the Dakar Rally is the hardest Motor race on earth. With the different diversities of growing up in Zimbabwe, we mirror this towards the tough journey the Dakar presents. We have the unfair Advantage and this is a massive contribution to us making the call to get to the Dakar 2023.

Graeme competed in 2020 and the journey and experience left a profound impact on him and he wanted to return to Zimbabwe and hand over the baton to the next generation to pick up where he left off and fly another Zimbabwean flag on the Dakar stage.

Training in the challenging Zimbabwean landscape.

How do you qualify to compete?
Qualification is a long process for sure and qualifying is also known as being as hard, if not harder than the event itself. You are required to attend a pre-qualifier event that is Sanctioned by the FIA/FIM there 4-5 events that are available on the rally Raid calendar which is an option. To qualify you need to start and Finish one of these events under a stipulated time bar making sure you have not gathered penalties for missed checkpoints along the route. We are set to undertake the Rally de Maroc in Morocco from the 1st-6th of October

How do you physically and mentally prepare for it?
Physical its hard hours and early morning to get the body in shape with both in the gym and long rides on the bikes.

Mentally we would say it is harder – We believe getting to Dakar is the largest obstacle in the way, we have trained and prepared for the worst that can come but believe in the best outcome. Setting mental goals worked on weekly through day-to-day life has been a great training exercise.

What phrase would describe you guys?
Live each day as it comes one day at a time.
Dreams are for chasing down, life happens outside our comfort zones and we learn the most not about the journey but ourselves…

Navigational skills are very important.

Any tips for those that are interested in racing the Dakar Rally?
You have to want it deep, deep down, on a cellular level where logic and reasoning are overcome at times by a blind desire to get to the finish, overcome all obstacles, and fight on. Dakar finds the fakes, the wannabees, and the big talkers – they don’t last.

Do you have any DAKAR heroes and why?
Ash – I would say a Dakar Hero for me would be Ross Branch. Being able to say I have raced someone that has now had a success story in Dakar was Big for me. I have watched him from a young age and know what he has been through to get to where he is now. He is the most humble and likable guy in any pit area.

Cam – Toby price has been a huge inspiration for me, for someone who can overcome huge adversity and bounce back to do incredible things, and of course the mullet it seals the deal for me.
Business In the front party at the back.

Graeme – Ross Branch has been a role model, teammate, and great friend – we survived a 200km journey towing one another through the desert in the darkness…he’s the everyday man with a never give up attitude that puts him in the class of true Dakar heroes.

THE HISTORY OF THE DAKAR RALLY.

The Dakar Rally is a rally raid that is no doubt one of the toughest races on the planet! The total distance covered is several thousand kilometers.The event takes place over a period of ten to fifteen days (versus two to three days for cross-country rallies)

The Dakar Rally originated in Paris, France, and traveled to Dakar, Senegal. Events were also held in South America from 2009 to 2019. The rally is currently held in Saudi Arabia until 2023.

Competitors traverse rugged off-road terrain with off-road vehicles and motorcycles. Riders, drivers and co-pilots must traverse dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks, and other obstacles, among other things, on most of the special competitive sections.

“The founder of the Dakar Rally, Thierry Sabine, coined a motto for his inspiration: “A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind.”

Want to learn more and follow the excitement?

https://www.dakar.com/en/

Special thanks to Stephie Vetter from Southern Africa Dakar Group for her contribution to this article 🙂

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