Ash Thixton, the intrepid Zimbabwean motorbike rider, emerged on the scene at the prestigious 2024 Dakar Rally, marking his debut in the world’s toughest motor rallying event. Notably, he follows in the tracks of Graeme Sharp, the first Zimbabwean motorbike rider to conquer the Dakar Rally, achieving this feat in 2020.
Early Life and Racing Beginnings
Born in 1993 in Harare, Zimbabwe, Thixton’s passion for motorbikes ignited during his formative years. His journey into racing commenced at a tender age, kicking off his national career at the age of 6. Apart from conquering race tracks, Thixton also excelled in rugby during his school days.
Racing Achievements and Global Exposure
Thixton’s racing odyssey expanded beyond Zimbabwe, encompassing regional, continental, and international competitions. His conquests include victories in the Zimbabwe National Enduro Championship, the Roof of Africa, the Africa Eco Race, Merzouga Rally, and Rallye du Maroc. Notably, he clinched an impressive 17 National Championship titles and earned FIM – All Africa Championships honors.
Triumphs on the International Stage
Thixton’s racing prowess extended across South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Kenya, and Namibia. His exceptional achievements, securing 3 Gold, 3 Silver, and 2 Bronze at the FIM – All Africa Championships, made him the sole Zimbabwean to claim championships in every available class. This remarkable feat earned him national colors in 2016.
Conquering the Dakar Rally 2024
In 2024, Ash Thixton realized his dream by participating in the Dakar Rally. Aligned with the Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing team, he rode a Husqvarna 450R bike in the Rally2 category, specially designed for amateur riders seeking to challenge themselves in the desert.
Thixton faced the daunting 12 stages and nearly 8,000 kilometers across the Saudi Arabian dunes with a mix of nervousness and excitement. His primary goal was to complete each day and reach the finish line in Yanbu on January 19. Proudly representing Zimbabwe, Thixton overcame navigation challenges, mechanical issues, crashes, and fatigue, showcasing unparalleled resilience.
His journey included a commendable 67th position in the prologue stage out of 137 riders. Despite encountering numerous hurdles, Thixton emerged victorious, securing the 76th overall position in the bikes section and an impressive 13th place in the Rally2 category. The triumphant finish marked him as the second Zimbabwean motorbike rider to conquer the Dakar Rally.
Personal Life and Beyond the Tracks
Off the tracks, Ash Thixton’s personal life unfolds with his marriage to Savanna in 2019, and the joyous arrival of their child in 2020. Adding to the family’s motorbike legacy, Ash’s brother, Cameron Thixton, also follows the thrilling path of motorbike riding.
Acknowledgments and References
As the dust settled on the Dakar Rally 2024, Thixton expressed his gratitude to sponsors, family, friends, and supporters who played a pivotal role in realizing his dream.