Atang Makgekgenene has realised a life long dream by winning the South African Special Vehicle Drivers Championship with one race to go in the Absa Off Road Championship.
The 41-year old Motswana was born in Francistown and from an early age his annual highlight was to spectate on the Total Transkalahari Road Race, which later became the Toyota 1000 Desert Race.
He first started driving at the age of 12 when he transported supplies to the local community in his fathers Chev Custom 30 truck.
“I would never admit it at the time but now I can come clean and say that I used to drive the empty truck as fast I could on the dirt roads,” said Makgekgenene. “I imagined that I was one of the drivers in the Toyota 1000 and had this dream of one day winning my home event.”
Makgekgenene achieved the distinction of becoming the first Motswana to win the Toyota 1000 in June this year and never expected the hero’s welcome he received at the finish In Gaborone.
“I had realised my dream and was overwhelmed by the thousands of supporters who surrounded me at the finish,” said Makgekgenene. “After the champagne ceremony I had to be spirited away by the race organisers who were concerned for my safety.”
“Having won two rounds of the Absa Off Road Championship I realised that I could challenge for the Special Vehicle Drivers Championship and asked veteran Buks Carolin to navigate for me following the untimely death of my dear friend and co-driver Mike Stangl on the Nissan Sugarbelt 400,” added Makgekgenene. “Buks did not hesitate to take on the task knowing that I needed all the moral support I could get and the guidance he provided was invaluable.”
There is no doubt that Makgekgenene and Carolin make a good team.
Carolin’s experience as a driver and a co-driver featured heavily in their ongoing success this season with the pair going on to win the Sun City 400 and the Toyota Dealer 400 and finishing second on the Lesotho Sun 400 and a conservative fifth on the Mafikeng 500.
With the championship safely in the bag the Total Jimco pair will be going all out to record its fifth overall win on the Carnival City 400 on November 19 and 20.