|Posted on April 18, 2019 at 6:05 PM|
This Saturday marks Kirsten Landman’s first race back on South African soil since the 2019 Merzouga Rally. In what was the most memorable moment of her career, Landman finished the Saharan stage race to qualify for the 2020 Dakar Rally.
“I can happily say after five stages and close to 1200km’s, I am officially (according to the regulations of Merzouga) guaranteed an entry to the Dakar! This is the start of something I’ve been dreaming about for a long time. I came here and achieved what I’d set out to do – book my ticket to the 2020 Dakar Rally!” enthused Landman.
At the age of 26 years old, Landman has ticked off almost every goal on her ‘hard enduro list’ such as Red Bull Romaniacs, Red Bull Sea to Sky, Red Bull Megawatt 111, Red Bull Braveman and the Roof of Africa.
“I realised that I’d reached a level of maturity as a rider, and it felt like all the challenges I’d faced in my career had prepared me for the Dakar. The dream scares the living daylights out of me – I know that it’s not an easy race, and I’m aware how quickly things can go wrong. But I’ve decided to give it shot, and I’m not about to look back,” she explained.
Fully aware of the challenge now in store, Landman will spend the rest of season preparing to become the first African woman in history to finish the Dakar Rally.
Her training will start in North West this weekend at the second round of the National Enduro Championship. While she won’t encounter thick sand and Saharan dunes, she will welcome the opportunity to put her sense of endurance to the test.
The event will take place at Piesangskloof 4x4 Trails, situated in the foothills of the Magaliesburg. With rocky trails in store that extend into surrounding farm lands, Landman is eager to step up to a technical challenge again. Having grown up in Johannesburg, she explained:
“I’m so excited to come back here and race! The fitness we need for technical riding is even more than what we need for Rally racing, so doing enduro will prepare me in the best possible way. Just because my focus is on the Dakar doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned my passion for enduro. I love technical riding – it’s where I come from. I’m so excited to get back to my ‘smaller’ enduro bike, which is half the weight of my Rally bike!”
Landman will be joined by her Brother Leader Tread KTM team mates Scott Bouverie, Dwayne Kleynhans and Bradley Cox to tackle round two of the National Enduro Championship this weekend.
Published by: KTM Media
Picture Caption: South Africa's rising Dakar Rally star - Kirsten Landman
Photography by: www.zcmc.co.za