With the local South African championships in both the National Offroad and Enduro disciplines having come to an end, Extreme Enduro riders from South Africa and beyond are now focusing on the one last big event of the year, the gruelling Roof of Africa event that will be held in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho from 4-6 December 2014.
The ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’ will once again separate the men from the boys and will be testing riders and machines, pushing them to their limits and beyond. The traditional ‘Round the Houses’ race on the main streets of Maseru will kick off the 45th edition of the Roof of Africa event on Thursday 4 December followed by a technical Time Trial section through the mountains of Lesotho that will give a first taste of what’s to come. Friday and Saturday will be two long and technical days of riding with a total distance of 400 km’s that Gold competitors will have to cover over the three days. Only a fraction of the 395 riders (130 Gold, 165 Silver, 100 Bronze) that have entered to date will see the finish line, after three days of blood, sweat and tears.
‘The harder the better’ seems to be the motto of today’s Extreme Enduro elite and it comes as no surprise that KTM is bringing out some of their local as well as international guns that have proven themselves on the Extreme Enduro scenes. KTM South Africa has confirmed two international household names so far, that being German KTM Factory Racing rider Andreas Lettenbichler and Austrian Kini Red Bull KTM rider Lars Enöckl.
“In my eyes the Roof of Africa is a very different challenge. It’s the longest standing hard enduro race in the world and pushes riders and their equipment to their limits. As opposed to some European events the Roof is an event held over multiple days and one can measure themselves against the world’s best and it’s an opportunity to put yourself on the map. One of the reasons I’m coming back to the Roof is that I have massive support from my South African fans. For some reason our sport seems to get much more recognition in South Africa and the people seem to be highly motivated. I’m also looking forward to seeing many of the South African and international riders again that I got to see quite a bit throughout the Extreme Enduro season this year, so the Roof is a great event to round the season off. I know for a fact that the Roof will once again be a race against time but also a race against yourself. I love the challenge and can’t wait!”, said an excited Andreas Lettenbichler who will be conquering the Roof on board his trusty KTM 300 XC-W machine.
“When I did the Roof for the first time in 2013 it was important to learn as much as I could from it. This year I want to draw from that experience and have a great race, making as little mistakes as possible. I’m very grateful that KTM South Africa is helping me out again, they have been fantastic last year and I can’t wait to work with them again. After an injury earlier this year and not being able to race the Red Bull Seat o Sky event I’m really looking forward to ending the 2014 season on a high.”, says Erzberg Rodeo ambassador Lars Enöckl who is looking to improve on his 12th place in 2013.
In addition to Lettenbichler and Enöckl KTM South Africa is once again proud to have their entire Brother KTM Factory Team on the start line for the Roof of Africa event, hoping to see some local talent at the top step of the podium again. After a phenomenal local season wrapping up the SA National Enduro championship for the second year in a row and top results at all international events he attended, Wade Young of course is one of the local favourites. A third place at Red Bull Romaniacs and a fourth place at Red Bull Sea to Sky earlier this year has placed the talented riders from KZN amongst the world elite of Extreme Enduro and will be one of the riders to watch out for. Young has chosen the popular KTM 300 XC-W as his weapon of choice for Extreme Enduro’s.
Hot on Young’s heels will be Pietermaritzburg youngster Travis Teasdale, having finished the season as the runner up in the highly competitive E1 class. Winning numerous special tests this year and gaining experience at the recent Red Bull Sea to Sky event in Turkey has certainly proven that Teasdale is one of South Africa’s up and coming riders. 17-year old Teasdale has learnt from past mistakes when he got dehydrated at the Roof of Africa in 2013 and fell back. He won’t make the same mistake again and is looking for a top result at this year’s Roof.
Another local favourite is Harding based rider Scott Bouverie who impressed in 2013 as the first South African rider home at the Roof of Africa event, rounding off the podium in third place. A back injury earlier this year has unfortunately prevented the talented rider from racing but Bouverie is training hard to get his fitness up to ensure he’s ready to race the Roof again.
Brother KTM’s lady rider Kirsten Landman is also going to tackle the Roof of Africa again this year. A major injury did not allow Landman to race the Roof in 2013, but now the talented lady rider is at the top of her game and is fit to conquer the Roof of Africa on board her KTM Freeride 250 R. Racing the Red Bull Romaniacs event earlier this year has improved her riding even more where Landman was one of very few Bronze finishers. For the Roof of Africa event she has entered the silver class and we can’t wait to watch her climb the mountains of Lesotho.
Brother KTM’s offroad experts who have brought home the silverware in 2014 are giving it a go at the Roof of Africa again and have all entered the gold class. 3-times Roof of Africa winner Louwrens Mahoney who secured the OR1 championship title this year will be amongst the elite riders, but also his team mates Louw Schmidt (2014 SA OR3 champion), Jonathan van Wyk from Swaziland and Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (2014 SA Seniors champion) will be on the start line.
The Roof of Africa is an event not to be missed, so make sure you follow all the action.