ZIMBABWEAN biker Graeme Sharp Friday reached the finish line of the Dakar Rally in Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia, to accomplish a long-held dream of completing the ultimate race between man and machine.
Sharp, who came home in position 74 after 7 500 kilometers of grueling action on the Saudi Arabian sand dunes immediately dedicated the feat to his home country, currently in the throes of hyperinflation, power and fuel shortages.
He becomes the first Zimbabwean to compete and finish the Dakar Rally on a motorbike.
Ricky Brabec of Honda took the title, ending KTM’s streak of 18 consecutive wins in the bike category.
“I didn’t think this day would come, but it’s here,” he said at the finish line.
“I feel very honoured and privileged to be here, and it’s such an incredible journey to partake in. So many incredible people behind it. (I am thankful) to each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.”
Sharp, who was constantly battling fuel challenges believes his story of resilience, passion and tenacity will give the southern African nation a positive story.
“Back in Zimbabwe, we are going through our own Dakar. The stages pretty tough. The navigation is not easy, but the wheels keep turning. We will get to the end,” he said.
“Everyone back home can resonate with the Dakar experience, but what a privilege to be here and grateful for the opportunity. Hopefully, I am not the last Zimbabwean (to compete in the Dakar on a bike).”
Graeme put five years of hard work, passion and determination on the line, coupled with significant financial investment when he competed in 42nd edition of The Dakar Rally in the deserts of the Middle East.
In the end, he lifted the Zimbabwean flag,– embodying the resilience of Zimbabweans who continue to overcome hard odds.
Graeme competed at Dakar Rally 2020 as part of the BAS Team, which had some of Southern Africa’s most accomplished off-road racers.