First Toyota 1000 Desert Race Winners Entered As A Joke
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media)
08 June 2009
The first winners of the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, which will again be run in Botswana from June 19 to 21 this year, entered the race as a joke.
Piet Lambrecht was in Gaborone in 1975 organising a hunting permit when he saw a poster advertising what was then the Total Trans-Kalahari race. Lambrecht entered a Ford F250 and talked Giel Potgieter into navigating for him.
Because the F250 had a wide bench seat Hans de Lange joined the pair to pour drinks and operate the eight track stereo system. Much to their surprise, and that of the organisers, the trio romped to an historic victory.
Lambrecht won again the following year in a new F250 – this time with Tony Hawken navigating and Doep du Plessis pouring drinks and operating the tape deck. Hawken was there to “talk to the English speaking journalists” and again the trio surprised everyone by winning.
Such fairytale stories are a far cry from the hugely professional Toyota 1000 Desert Race that is now a blue chip event on the Absa Off Road Championship calendar. Toyota took over sponsorship of the event in 1981 and with eight wins spread over 20 years veteran South African co-driver Richard Leeke leads the Toyota 1000 Desert Race roll of honour.
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