Local rider John Kelly beat off stiff competition from a legion of foreign stars to win the Makgadikgadi Moonlight Adventure under a full moon on a starlit Saturday night.
The 27-year-old Gaborone Motor Club rider’s prize for triumphing in the dusty, desolate terrain of the pans was a seven-day holiday for eight people at the House of the Rising Sun in Mozambique.
To make Kelly’s success all the more impressive, he achieved his victory on someone else’s bike.
“I am grateful to everybody who helped me along the way, especially my friend Lepsy Mosalagae of BL Motorcycles who lent me his bike for this event. I will forever remain grateful to him,” the bald-headed rider told Voice Sport in an exclusive interview moments after winning the event.
Expressing his joy and surprise at capturing the all expenses paid trip that allows him to spoil seven of his loved ones, an ecstatic Kelly described the win as the best in his career.
“The whole thing is amazing as I did not expect to win. I have been riding for a long time and have never won such an event. I love riding in the moonlight and just entered this event for fun; winning it is a pleasant bonus for me!”
Competitors had to ride along a loop that took them over several obstacles in the moonlight and Kelly scored most points to pip others to the coveted first place.
Quizzed on who he would take on his Mozambican adventure, a smiling Kelly responded, “I will obviously be taking my girlfriend. She is here to support me and I guess her presence has helped my performance tonight”.
“I must say at the moment I cannot tell you who else I will invite to come along. I never dreamt I would win so I never thought about who would accompany me to Mozambique. I will however make the decision soon,” he said, adding the result has given him the confidence that he can do well at similar events in the future.
“This victory is an important to me. It has given me the self-belief I need and I trust I will do well in races to come,” a delighted Kelly concluded, before going off to celebrate with the family and friend’s whose support he said was ‘instrumental to his success’.