The 2017 Nedbank Desert Dash delivered

The 13th annual Nedbank Desert Dash delivered as promised, an exciting cycling marathon through the Namib Desert that started at the Grove Mall in Windhoek and ended at Tiger Reef in Swakopmund. A total of 900 hardcore cyclists took on 369 kilometres of gravel road in what is the most intense mountain-biking event in Namibia. The 2017 Nedbank Desert Dash has grown with more than double the participants as in recent years.
Konny Looser scooped the ultimate prize for the 3rd time in a row in the men’s solo category and walked off with N$34 000 for completing the gruelling race. He also managed to set a new record, completing the 369-kilometre stretch in 13 hours and 55 minutes.
Following on Looser’s heels was Max Knox who made off with N$19 000 for his solo effort, while Thinus Redelinghuys received N$12 000 for coming in third in the men’s solo category.
In the women’s solo division, Rebecca Robisch had an incredible race coming first, with a time of 16 hours and 9 minutes while Wilmien Chamberlaine and Anri Parker came second and third respectively.
Robisch received N$34 000, while Chamberlaine made off with N$19 000 and Parker received N$12 000. In the two men’s division, Team Kia Elite’s Cobus Smit and Drikus Coetzee made it to the checkpoint first while Michelle Vorster and Carmen Buchacher, riding for the Janine and Suzelle Davin Sport Trust were first in the two women’s category with each team walking away with N$20 000.
This year’s race also offered a mixed gender team and 4 Person teams, all vying for a stake of the N$370 000 total prize money distributed to the best performers. Team MBM came up top in the 4 man category, Team Kia- UCT taking second place and the Gondwana Dust Devils finishing in third place.
One of the highlights of this year’s Desert Dash was when farm worker, Johannes Uheka, who competed with a borrowed bicycle, walked away with a brand new Toyota Aygo worth N$170 000 sponsored by Indongo Toyota.
During the recent official launch of the Desert Dash race, Nedbank Managing Director Lionel Matthews noted that it takes a brave soul to take on the might of the world’s oldest desert – at night, especially. Speaking at the official prize giving, Eddie Turner, Executive for Nedbank Corporate & Executive Banking stated, “I would like to applaud each and every one of the cyclists who participated in the 2017 Nedbank Desert Dash.
You can all be proud of the fact that you have overcome the peril that is the desert and have shown to us today who you really are. It really is amazing the amount of effort you put in to make this race possible. Thank you for this tremendous commitment, which lies at the core of making the Nedbank Desert Dash possible.”
While the Desert Dash race offered a magnificent cycling experience it equally unlocked endless business opportunities for local businesses. According to Thusnelda Araes, who deals with the reservations at Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre, not a single room was free at this popular refuge between 9 and 15 December this year. The same went for Clarice Theys who until recently ran a bed and breakfast at the coastal town.

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