BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE THIXTON is a big name in the Zimbabwe motocross landscape, mainly because of the exploits of two siblings Ash and Cameron.
Ash and Cameroon Thixton won countless national motocross championships at different stages of their careers as well as gold medals in international events after 20 years competing in the sport.
And now the Thixtons have set their sights up to fulfilling their childhood dream of competing at the iconic Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia next year.
They have teamed with Zimbabwean Dakar Rally rider Graeme Sharp with the aim of making sure that the country has three representatives at the biggest rally competition in the world in 2023.
An initiative dubbed Dakar263 Zimbabwe is already in full swing as the trio mobilises resources to achieve this dream.
“From as young as Cameron and myself can remember we have been smitten with the event and it’s always been the dream to one day attend the event as a competitor. This really is a dream come true for us to be able to go there,” the elder of the two brothers Ash Thixton told The Sports Hub.
Sharp on the other hand represented Zimbabwe at the Dakar Rally and finished overall 74th back in 2020.
He has also competed at events such as Sonora Rally, Rally du Maroc, Merzouga Rally and Baja Rally, among other top competitions in the US.
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It was Sharp’s exploits and initiatives at 2020 Dakar Rally that encouraged Ash and Cameron Thixton to also pursue their dream.
“The whole initiative of Dakar263 was brought about after Graeme Sharp completed the Dakar Rally. He made a promise to bring the Zimbabwe flag back to the Dakar event through different individuals.
“He picked dedicated and noteworthy candidates, being my brother Cameron Thixton and myself as the most suitable personnel to carry the Zimbabwe flag back over the Dakar Podium,” the 29-year-old rider said.
Sharp and the Thixton brothers will compete under the BAS Dakar KTM Racing Team.
The trio, which took part at the Victoria Falls Enduro, is currently fine tuning for a qualifying event the Rally de Maroc from the October 1 – 6 in North Africa.
Ash and his 25-year-old brother Cameroon also travelled to Spain last month and spent a week at Viladoms Rally Station, a rally-raid academy for all riders interested in competing in cross-country rallies at the highest level.
While corporates and individuals have jumped on to support this Dakar Rally initiative, Ash Thixton revealed that there is need for more sponsors.
“We have had some amazing sponsors so far although not easy to come by with the current economic situation currently prevailing. We are most definitely very fortunate for the current sponsors, but we still have some doors to knock on and funds to still bring in before we can make our way to the Dakar,” he said.
“Our journey so far would not have been possible without sponsors such as International Coating Company, MiGym, Flo – For Life Outside, RK Petroleum, Ace Ambulances, The Wicked family and many kind donations from family and friends.
“It has not been easy, but we are dedicated to the end goal and are really looking forward to taking Zimbabwe back to the Dakar.”
The team is looking is looking to raise at least US$352 000 to cover all the expenses from the qualifiers until the Dakar Rally.
Also part of the team is the support staff which includes strength and conditioning coach Grant Mitchel, physio Margie Gibson, nutritionist Kristy Baxter, psychologist Stu Pattison, manager Bart van der Velden and Trevor Thixton who is offering rider and mechanical support.