Ross Branch joins Hero Motosports Rally Team
Hero Motosports Rally Team has announced Ross Branch has joined the Indian manufacturer’s line-up for the FIM Rally-Raid World Championship and 2023 Dakar Rally.
After two years racing for the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team where Branch has had mixed success on the WR450 Rally, the “Kalahari Ferrari” Ross Branch will join the Hero Motosports Rally Team with immediate effect.
Ross took the Yamaha to the win at the opening round of the 2021 Cross-Country Rallies (as it was then called) World Championship in Kazakhstan. But the Botswanan has endured crashes and mechanical failures at the two Dakars on Yamaha which has diluted his stellar arrival on the rally scene just four years ago (where he placed best rookie at his first attempt).
The Hero MotoSports team is growing in stature and in just six years racing have taken two podium places in the 2021 World Championship season, before becoming the first Indian manufacturer to take a stage win at the Dakar with Joaquim Rodrigues this January.
Branch is a likeable face in the rally bivouacs with an impressive track record at the Dakar, winning the Rookie category in his debut attempt in 2019, and taking a stage win in 2020 as a privateer. Branch also won the opening round of the 2021 FIM Cross Country Rallies Championship and although went on to finish the championship in 10th place.
“I am thrilled and extremely honoured to be joining a team that’s making the headlines for all the right reasons.” Says Branch. “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!”
Ross’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 new 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.
Wolfgang 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.”
Photo Credit: Hero Motosports