Kerim Fitz Gerald
“I was surprised how much I enjoyed racing in cross-country when I made the switch in 2021. There your racing from anything from 4 to 6 hours and once I’d got my head around that the Dakar seemed a distinct possibility. Obviously, it isn’t the same as rally raid and I have a lot to learn, especially as far as the road book and the rules are concerned. I’m lucky to have a rally bike here at home on which I can practice but I haven’t spent as much time on it as I would have liked to because of competing in the South African cross-country championship. However I’ll shortly be heading off to Namibia with Ross and the guys for some road book practice. As far as the Dakar is concerned, like everybody else, my main goal is to finish. But at the same time I’m a racer and I don’t intend to go to Saudi Arabia and just ride around. We’re just waiting to hear back from a sponsor but if everything goes according to plan I’ll follow the Dakar up with the 2024 Rally Raid World Championship.”
South Africa’s off-road scene has produced some fine Dakar riders in recent years. There’s Ross Branch obviously, plus Rally2 rider Bradley Cox, who’s now regularly getting into the top 10 overall and of course Charon Moore who won the 2023 Dakar Original by Motul category for unassisted riders. And now one of their mates, Kerim Fitz-Gerald is coming along in 2024 to join in the fun. A moto-x racer since the age of 4, he competed at the very highest level in Europe, Canada and the USA before deciding to retire from the sport in 2020. Then in 2021 Bradley Cox lent him a bike to try out cross-country racing and Kerim was off again. And hanging out with the likes of Ross, Bradley and Charon it was almost inevitable that Kerim would catch the rally raid virus and to no one’s surprise he entered the 2023 Sonora Rally in Mexico with the intention of winning his ticket to the 2024 Dakar. A feat the South African achieved with relative ease, finishing 6th in Rally2 despite coping an impressive 40 minutes worth of rookie penalties! With that experience under his belt, like many amateurs with serious ambitions, Kerim has signed up with BAS World KTM Racing Team to tackle his first Dakar. Yet another quick South African to watch out for!