WATCH: Dakar Rally hero Graeme Sharp arrives to rousing welcome

ZIMBABWE’s Dakar rally biker, Graeme Sharp was given a rousing welcome on his return from the gruelling Dakar rally held in Saudi Arabia. Sharp had to navigate the unfavourable sand dunes and difficult desert terrains, He managed to complete all the 12 stages of the Dakar Rally and finished overall 74th. Sharp became the first Zimbabwean to finish the off-road enduro race, Dakar Rally on a motorbike. There were more than 500 competitors competing in the different categories of the world famous but gruelling rally.
The biker arrived home this Sunday afternoon after carving his own piece of history at the just ended rally.
Scores of Motorsport fans, friends and family including young karting sensation Zachary “Zac” Dufty and dad Kevin were amongst those who thronged Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport to give Sharp a hearty and rousing welcome.
Graeme Sharp made history by becoming the first Zimbabwean to successfully complete the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.
The grueling two-week race ran from the 5th to the 17th of this month with over 500 rally drivers taking part in the world’s toughest off-road enduro race.
Upon his arrival at the airport in the capital, a tired but ecstatic Sharp said it was a dream come true to compete at the event.
“I am very delighted to finally realise my dream, it was so draining by I kept focused. I am very happy that I finished the race under the Zimbabwean flag and I wouldn’t want to do it for any other flag except the Zimbabweans flag. I hope I have inspired many other upcoming bikers to join the track, compete at such events and raise the country’s flag high.”
Asked if he would do it again given another chance, Sharp said he was tired and neded a couple of days to recover and think about before he could give an answer.
Zimbabwe Motorsports Federation (ZMF) president Ralph Stead who was part of the gathering that included Zimbabwe Motorsports Federation members, Christian Bikers Association, friends and family gathered at the airport said it was awesome to see so many people there.
“I am very grateful for the support shown as it was something to remember for the rest of his life.
“Its fantastic commitment, dedication and achievement from Graeme. Excellent efort from Conrad Raurnbach as well who ran at the top of the end of the SSv,” said Stead.
Apart from Zimbabwean champions, Conrad Rautenbach and Graeme Sharp there was Ross Branch from neighbouring Botswana who won a stage and then overcame a bad fall and bike troubles to get back on pace,Taye Perry from South Africa who actually cannot reach the ground from the seat of the bike and had a huge crash which also broke her bike.
“..together with other Southern African competitiors, the (SADC) region has done itself proud. Well done to all,” said Stead
Fitness coach Grant Mitchell attributed Sharp’s achievement to thorough preparations, hard work and an unyielding determination.
“Graeme made it easy to work with him he was so focused at what he wanted to achieve and was eager to learn, he followed what we went through at the training sessions and achieved his target, it’s remarkable”
Regardless of the unfavourable sand dunes and difficult terrains, Graeme Sharp managed to complete all the 12 stages of the Dakar Rally and finished overall 74th.