|Posted on December 9, 2014 at 5:45 PM|
The 2014 edition of Lesotho’s Roof Of Africa was certainly one for the books. This is one race where absolutely nothing is a certainty. Just take a look at the gold podium – KTM, Yamaha, Husqvarna.
This was, undoubtedly South African rider Wade Young’s race. He basically led the whole way and finished more than twenty minutes ahead of Yamaha’s amazing wonder kid Brett Swanepoel. They were followed by most people’s favourite to win, Husqvarna’s Graham Jarvis.
Day 1: Round the Houses and time trial:
Two of the sponsors, Monster and Motul made it so festive. monster energy with their extreme sports rigs and sound, and Motul with the awesome branding. Motul also bussed in hundreds of local school kids to watch the fun.
Round the houses is an amazing spectacle to behold as 400 motorcycles set the streets of Maseru on fire. This year was a veritable bikefest with South Africa’s Freestyle talents putting on a great show for the crowds. Trials specialists, the Le Riche brothers added their flavour – all of this had the crowds fired up for the racing. It was brilliant to watch guys like Husqvarna’s Darryl Curtis entertaining the crowds. Fantastic!
Time trial: It is difficult to explain just how tough the race was this year. On day one, competitors were lulled into a false sense of ease by the short (35km) time trial. The original time trial was scrapped because of a serious storm the evening before that cased mayhem, fallen trees, big washaways and all sorts. Everyone rode the faster bronze time trial, a great trail ride with some nice technical stuff in between. This did not really suit the extreme specialists.
Day two was a whole new ballgame. Long, hot, in your face… the guys and girls were truly tested out there. KTM’s South African lady rider Kirsten Landman stole the show. This silver class rider was in the top twenty for the whole day and finished in an amazing 12th position.
Chatting to the gold guys at the end of the day – most agreed that it was absolutely brilliant, but the distance and saddle time is what really takes its toll… most felt that it could have been a bit shorter without taking anything away from the extreme enduro element.
Day two saw many of the top favourites falling out – Scott Bouverie injured his knee, Travis Teasdale took a wrong turn and could not make up enough time for day 3, Andreas Lettenbichler, William Gillit and Blake Gutzeit all took a wrong turn and rode for miles before realizing it. Letti injured his knee and sat out the last day. Despite the fact that Jarvis drowned his bike twice in the deep rivers, he still managed a third for the day…
One hell of a story in the Bronze class, Israeli rider Jonathan Levy finished the day in first place. But he made a mistake and actually came in on the tougher silver route. He was sent back to Bushmans pass and re-rode the entire last section of the Bronze route to finish in 14th position.
Day 3: The live GPS tracking made sure that we could watch the riders out in the mountains. What a race – KTM’s Young increased his lead the whole day. At the second last DSP, Swanepoel was 7 minutes behind Jarvis. His radiator was leaking, so he stopped for a quick patch and fill. At the last DSP, he was only 2 minutes behind Jarvis. Somehow he managed to overtake the champ and finished in second place just over 20 minutes behind Young and 3 minutes ahead of Jarvis. We see a bright future for this man.
Silver saw a draw for the first time in history. Dalan Hall and Lloyd Kirk somehow got the exact same time over 3 days of racing. The two are long time friends and rode together the whole way. Still – amazing. KTM’s Kirsten Landman cemented her position as one of the worlds top female riders when she came in in 33rd position, also in silver.
Some quick highlights:
• Gold route 400 KM’s. Silver route 380 KM’s. Bronze 300 KM’s.
• South Africans dominated this event with 8 in the top ten Gold.
• Top 10 bikes: 4 Yamaha, 3 Husky, 3 KTM.
• KTM won the manufacturers trophy.
• Yamaha’s Gilbert and Swanepoel were on the brand new YZ 250FX. 2nd and 6th overall in gold.
• Husqvarna’s Blake Gutzeit, 14th in Gold after getting badly lost on day 2.
• Israeli riders Jonathan levy and Nimrod Hemmo took top honours in Bronze, followed by SA’s Charl Weyer.
• Austria’s Lars Enockl (KTM), 2nd international rider in 10th place.
• 36 riders came from abroad to compete.
• 3 lady riders entered and completed the Roof this year. Veronika Dallhammer (44th) and Natasha Rugani (70th) in
Bronze - and Kirsten Landman 12th overall in silver. All on KTM's.
See you in Lesotho next year!
Published by: Dirt & Trail magazine – official media partners of the Roof of Africa