Another great article, being featured in The Standard:
It’s been two months since motorbike rally racer Graeme Sharp made history by becoming the first rider from Zimbabwe to qualify for the 2020 Dakar Rally, which will be making its debut in Saudi Arabia in January.
Sharp did well in two big qualifying competitions — the Sonora Rally in Mexico and the Merzouga Rally in Morocco — to seal a place at the principal off-road endurance event in the world.
With the Dakar Rally barely six months away, the 32-year-old rider has already begun preparations in his quest to at least finish the 9 000km race over 14 days
on the Arabian Peninsula.
“The project has ramped up considerably in all areas now that we are six months out. I have recovered well from Merzouga and Sonora rallies back-to-back events
within 12 days. The physical preparation is going well with progressive intensity and mental coordination with balance components also adding value,” Sharp
told The Sports Hub.
“The PR and marketing sides have hit the ground running following formal qualification, and the administration and submission of relevant information has also started. I am fortunate to have AmbroseIT come on board to manage the marketing, fundraising and PR components of the project, which I am extremely
The 42nd instalment of the Dakar Rally is slated for January 5 to 19 in a completely new country, Saudi Arabia, after it was staged in South America since
2008. Two-time African Rally champion driver Conrad Rautenbach has flown the country’s flag up high at the Dakar Rally, making his debut in 2017.
Rautenbach ended up scooping the rookie-of-the-year accolade at the event, but Sharp is simply aiming to finish the race.
“As my first Dakar, I am realistically going with the intention to finish the race and flying the Zimbabwe flag on the world stage as the first Zimbabwean
Dakar rider. I am confident my preparations physically will stand me in good stead and will combine that with a steady-headed approach to what essentially is a
marathon event and see where I end up,” Sharp said.
But the former Falcon College student needs to raise about US$200 000 to successfully compete at the Dakar Rally. “Typically, Dakar budgets range from US$150-200k all up. Having spent several years preparing, much has been self-funded to this point about 30%-40%. To get to the start line, our remaining fundraising target is in the region of $110-120k by November.
“The fundraising aspect of the project will start to gain traction towards the end of June. We had a very successful appearance at ADMA Agricultural Show last
week and received much interest from local and regional companies with several expressing their interest in coming on board in various ways, which is awesome.
We have secured deposit and downpayments for entry,” he revealed.
Far from the off-road endurance motorcycle race tracks, Sharp is part of the management executive at Padenga Holdings based in Harare. He covers a broad
portfolio from operations, strategic development, marketing, to logistics and technical support, while also exploring diversification into agricultural
opportunities. “I have a passion for the outdoors and I am involved in various projects in the adventure tourism, conservation and photographic s afari spheres,” Sharp said.