Brady Armstrong; Botswana’s Motorcycle Racing Virtuoso
By Ryan Blumton
Brady Armstrong is one of Botswana’s young riders, aged 19 and with 14 years of racing experience is about to enter International World Championship Cross Country Rally Racing.
Armstrong is in the OR1 Pro Class and races on the new 2020 FX450 Husqvarna and is a member of Francistown’s Lobelo Racing Club riding internationally under HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing. Armstrong is currently working towards his matriculation in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.
The FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship is a Dakar Rally Type Qualifier. Having completed one of these race events successfully, Armstrong would subsequently be able to race the Dakar Rally and he would be the youngest Motswana racer to do so.
The qualifiers would be either in Abu Dhabi or Morocco and these determine the fitness of racers to be able to take on the Dakar rally, though these qualifiers and in fact the entire 2020 rally calendar have been disrupted by the ongoing global pandemic.
Speaking to Echo Sports regarding these qualifiers Botswana Motorsport Federation FIM head, McPherson Chibana said “As you know from Junior school you have to upgrade to senior school and that’s how it works with Motorsport you start with the smaller races and then you have to upgrade to the bigger ones such as Dakar because motorsport is dangerous and you can even get lost without the right navigation skills.”
Armstrong is the first Motswana holding a Botswana Motorsport Federation license at this level of FIM racing and this is the first Botswana Motorsport FIM rally license listed in World Championship Cross Country Rally racing.
The FIM is the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, the governing body of motorcycle racing. Armstrong was an observer at the 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on invitation from his team. The Dakar Rally is the world’s most grueling and mentally challenging rally in navigation, mechanical maintenance and competition. As such Armstrong has already tested the Arabian sands were many of the Dakar greats train.
Armstrong’s father and manager, Gregory Armstrong, founder of Armstrong Racing and head of Lobelo Racing outlined some of the training areas that included the surrounding environment of Greater Gaborone. “We are potentially looking towards training in the Khawa Dunes to train navigational skills due to the dunes and out of country locations including Swakopmund, Namibia and also go back to Abu Dhabi. The Key thing in training and racing is the ability to ride fast and navigate at the same time,” Armstrong said.
Botswana Motorsport President Kagiso Modibedi, speaking to Echo Sports said about this development in Brady Armstrong’s career “It is very important to have somebody like Brady Armstrong going on to the international stage and running on a Botswana license. We have always had competitors from Botswana running in the Dakar and other international races but they were not licensed through Botswana Motorsport. It also creates an issue where even where we were meant to support the rider, it gave us some limitations because it’s difficult to support someone who is not affiliated to you.”
He said Armstrong is under the Botswana Motorsport he is flying the federation flag very high.
“It creates a scenario where not just other riders in Botswana will want to take licenses from Botswana but neighbors as well such as Namibia or Zimbabwe.
This really puts our federation right up there with the best. He is a junior rider, up and coming and yet with many years under his belt so from my perspective in the future I will be expecting one or two Dakar titles from him.”