Thixton braces for maiden Dakar rally dance

Thixton is set to become the second Zimbabwean rider to fly the country’s flag at the biggest annual rally in recent memory after Graeme Sharp in 2020.

ZIMBABWEAN off-road motorbike racer Ash Thixton is bracing himself for a tough challenge when he makes a maiden appearance at the iconic Dakar Rally in January next year.

Thixton is set to become the second Zimbabwean rider to fly the country’s flag at the biggest annual rally in recent memory after Graeme Sharp in 2020.

Sharp became the first Zimbabwean rider to finish the race at the time.

The 30-year-old rider has also set his sights on emulating Sharp and finishing the race first before he worries about making the top 15 on his debut appearance.

“I can’t believe I'm currently in the situation of attending this huge event. It still feels surreal that I have qualified. It has taken a tremendous amount of time, dedication and hard work just to be at this point. I cannot wait to get to the start line and take on the dream of mine,” Thixton told Standardsport.

“It is very hard to gauge where I can put myself in terms of performance with such a big event. The first goal is to finish the event. Anything I achieve after that is an added bonus. But a small part of me would like a top -15 in each stage throughout the Dakar,” he added.

Initially the dream was for Ash Thixton, his young brother Cameron Thixton and Sharp to make the Dakar Rally next year but others had to fall out due to the availability of funds to go through the qualification process.

Thixton met the qualifying criteria for Dakar Rally at the Sonora Rally, in Mexico back in May after he won two stages out of six in the National Class and settled for an impressive overall fifth place finish.

He shares his readiness for the Dakar Rally.

“It has been a long period of preparation and that will be two years of preparation that I have done. All the 4 am wake ups heading to Migym and training before work to the countless hours riding around our very scenic country.

“I recently participated in the Crono rally in South Africa that I used as my preparation for Dakar. Although not as long as the Dakar Rally, there were some very challenging stages. I came away with a 3rd place overall which was a great achievement and good testimony for the preparation I have done.

Thixton revealed that he is still short of funds required for him to participate in the Dakar Rally.

“I still have not got the full amount of funds for my Dakar participation but I am currently paying in the amounts as the funds come in and so far I have not missed a deadline. Recently TT Motocycles have helped me tremendously allowing me to raise funds through a raffle that is currently being held.

“But I can forget the people that have been with me from the start. ICC Paints, RK Fuels, Wicked Family Gear and The Amalinda Collection. Without the support of these people my qualifications would not have happened and I would not be where I am now.

“I have recent exciting news that I will be attending the Dakar with the support of the HT Husqvarna Rally Raid team. They are a very professional team based out of the Netherlands. I will be the only Zimbabwean rider attending this time around,” he said.

Related Topics