Close on the heels of its record-setting stage victory at the Dakar 2022 Hero MotorSports Team Rally, the motorsport team of the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, Hero MotoCorp has further strengthened its rider line-up by bringing onboard leading international rider, Ross Branch.
A top athlete and a trained commercial pilot from Botswana, Ross Branch is a three-time South African Cross Country Champion and a seven-time winner of the Botswana 1000 Desert Race – earning the nickname “Kalahari Ferrari”.
With its consistent success in the global motorsports rally arena, the Hero MotoSports Team Rally has emerged as a much sought after team for leading riders.
Racing his first event as a five-year-old boy, motocross became the launchpad for Ross Branch’s foray into the world of motorsports. From racing the premier MX1 class in Motocross, which he still competes in today, Ross ventured into cross-country racing over 10 years ago and has been enjoying long-distance endurance events since.
Ross is a known face in the Dakar bivouac, having participated in the rally on four consecutive occasions now. He has an impressive track record at the Dakar, winning the Rookie category in his debut attempt in 2019, and a stage win in 2020. He was also the winner of the opening round of the 2021 FIM Cross Country Rallies Championship, at Kazakhstan, and finished the championship in 10th place.
When not racing, Ross can often be found hosting motorsport training classes at the Khawa Training Academy which he co-founded in 2013 with the Botswana Tourism Organisation, with a vision to help build the sport in the country. As a globally successful rider, he is committed to helping young and upcoming riders from his homeland reach their dreams in off-road motorcycling.
Ross Branch’s first outing with the Hero MotoSports team will be at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in March 2022, which is also the second round of the newly formed FIM World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC). He will be joining teammates Joaquim Rodrigues and Franco Caimi, to form a three-rider squad for the rally.
The six-year-old Hero MotoSports Team Rally is in splendid form, starting the 2022 race season with a historic stage win at the Dakar Rally, a first by an Indian team and winning two podiums in the 2021 FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship. With another star rider now on-board, the team aims to achieve higher targets in 2022.
Wolfgang “Waffi” Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, “We are excited to make a strong addition to our team, right after our historic stage win at the Dakar Rally. In just about six years, we have reached a convincing performance phase, and it’s an opportune time for us to welcome a top talent such as Ross Branch to the team. Both Ross and Franco, were teammates a few years back, and I’m happy that they are back together again. I also remember with gratitude and pride, how Ross had stopped to help Sebastian Buhler after his crash at Abu Dhabi last year. I am confident that his rich experience and camaraderie with the other riders will be a big boost to our team performance in this season and beyond. Currently, the team is prepping for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge due in March, and we are excited to have Ross represent the team along with JRod, and Franco who has recovered well after his injury last year. Sebastian and Santosh are still recovering from their respective injuries, and we wish them both a speedy recovery.”
Ross Branch, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, “I am thrilled and extremely honoured to be joining a team that’s making the headlines for all the right reasons. I’ve been tracking the growth of Hero MotoSports for the last couple of years, and have often been amazed at how quickly this young team has made it to the top league. I’m joining the team at a great time, and I hope I’ll be able to do my best to deliver great results. I look forward to riding alongside some of the best and promising riders in the sport, who are also my good friends. I thank Hero MotoCorp for putting their faith in me, and I consider it a great honour to be representing the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters at some of the world’s toughest races!”