When Ross Branch talks about bike racing, you’re going to want to hear what he has to say...
A blisteringly fast off-road racer, and a veteran of four grueling Dakar Rallies, plus a whole host of World Championship level enduros, motocross events, three South African Cross Country titles, and seven Botswana 1000 Desert Race victories; there’s very little that the 35-year-old doesn't know about going fast on two-wheels.
Riding for the Monster Energy Yamaha Team this season, the “Kalahari Ferrari” - a nickname affectionately gleaned from local fans back home in Botswana - is living out a lifelong goal to compete in elite-level motorcycle rallying. A dream which began with him witnessing the final stage of the 1992 Dakar Rally in Cape Town at just five years old.
Chasing dreams is a tough gig though - especially when it involves the Dakar Rally. An event famed for its vast distances and ruthless nature. Despite finishing as ‘best rookie’ on his Dakar debut in 2019, winning a stage in 2020, and regularly featuring at the top of the timesheets, Ross has had to overcome horrific crashes to keep the dream alive. Some of which would singularly put most mortals off riding a bike for good.
Take Dakar 2022 for example. Fresh off the bounce from finishing second on stage five - a mere 560km loop to the east of Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, Ross was second on the road for stage six. After making good progress, Ross hit a deep rut - which was nearly impossible to spot while scorching along the sand at 150km/h. The resulting impact sent Ross flying in one direction, and his trusty Yamaha in the other.