Large terrain for Desert Dash
At the end of the 2022 Nedbank Desert Dash punishment “what will stay with you is an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and stories of courage for a lifetime”.
That was the central message from event organizers at the launch of the 2022 edition of the Namibian-only race yesterday.
Nearly 800 cyclists from 17 different countries will take part in the Nedbank Desert Dash this year, with foreign interest in the popular event coming from the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, the United States, Germany, from Canada, Germany, Zimbabwe, Great Britain, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Botswana, Malawi, DR Congo, France and Austria.
Another epic Namibian adventure is expected when the grueling cycle race kicks off in Windhoek on December 9, over harsh and scenic terrain, before finishing in Swakopmund the following day.
“There are many global cycling events, however, the Desert Dash is one of a kind,” said JG van Graan, chief financial officer of Nedbank.
“What makes it special isn’t just the fact that it’s the longest single-stage mountain bike race in the world, or because of the real test of endurance that requires opponents to be able to run and complete the grueling 24 hours,” he said. said.
“What gives the Nedbank Desert Dash its uniqueness is the fact that it covers over 393 kilometers between Windhoek and Swakopmund, through Khomas Hochland and through the unforgiving but breathtaking Namib Desert. It’s the backdrop that no other cycle race has, and it’s why the Nedbank Desert Dash is unlike any other,” said Van Graan.
Swakopmund Mayor Dina Namubes said Desert Dash’s ability to attract international audiences and participants was invaluable to the country.
“As a city that depends on tourism, we are proud to welcome all our visitors who will make a positive contribution to the development of our country,” she said.
Namibian Tristan de Lange ended six-time Desert Dash winner Konny Looser’s monopoly of honors by edging the Swiss by one second to claim the top prize after 14 hours and 55 minutes of driving in 2021.
Irene Steyn won the women’s category in 19 hours and 25 minutes and 43 seconds.
A total of 107 runners managed to complete the race within the 24-hour time limit, but a total of 80 runners retired and failed to complete the race.
“This race has done more for Namibia tourism-wise than any other event because it has a national flavor and it just keeps growing,” said Willie Verdoes, managing director of Indongo Automotive Group.
“I did the Dash myself, and I can tell you it’s extremely hard. So, if you want to participate, you really have to get into it. It’s not just about talent and skill, it’s more about the fact that you really have to be prepared emotionally and physically,” Verdoes said of what it takes to complete the tough course.
Indongo Toyota is the automotive sponsor of the competition. Other notable sponsors include Hollard and SuperSpar (Maerua and Grove), with Lema Events coordinating the proceedings.
“You will find some stages extremely difficult and then it becomes a matter of mind over matter,” Verdoes said.
“There will be a lot of riders who will make it, but there will be some who won’t. I can promise you that. It starts during the day and you ride the bike overnight before finishing again in the day in Swakopmund.