Wade Young, 16, made history on 17 November when he became the youngest competitor ever to win the Roof of Africa enduro motorcycle race, which took place for the 45th time in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. It was also the first time since 2007 that a South African rider has won this gruelling three-day event.
Photos: Elza Thiart
Extremely hot weather conditions caused many competitors to dehydrate, while a challenging route confirmed the 2012 Roof of Africa enduro as one of the toughest in recent years.
Young, racing for Team Fever Criterion Yamaha, took the lead on Friday when he posted the fastest time after starting the race from second position behind Marc Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) who won the 60km time-trial that determined the starting order for Friday’s racing section.
The youngster tackled the third and final day on Saturday (187km) with a gap of just over 10 minutes to the 2011 winner, Graham Jarvis (Flite Extreme Husaberg) and eventually beat second-placed fellow South African Altus de Wet (Brother Broadlink KTM) by just over 11 minutes after a total race time of 17 hours 36 minutes and 10 seconds. (All race results are still provisional.)
Regular Roof of Africa competitor, De Wet, 27, started the final day from third position, 26 seconds behind Jarvis, but overtook the UK extreme enduro expert, who experienced problems with his Global Positioning System (GPS) early in the day. Jarvis had to settle for third place, but vowed to be back to try and reclaim the title.
Three times Roof of Africa winner, the Kiwi Chris Birch (Comsol BELL ACR KTM) had a disappointing event and suffered from dehydration. He was fifth overall at the end of Friday and, although he was feeling better on the final day, he was still weak from being violently ill the previous day. He had to settle for 10th place overall.
His team-mate, Scott Bouverie, lost time during Friday, but enjoyed the challenging route on Saturday to finish 11th, only 42 seconds ahead of fellow KwaZulu-Natal rider, Brad van Aswegen (Kargo Racing Yamaha).
Van Aswegen crashed hard on Saturday and dislocated his knee. It popped back and he soldiered on albeit in pain. His team-mates, Mark Garland, had to make up for lost time on Saturday as he was also sick during Friday’s racing section, but he managed an 18th place while the scholar, Timmy Young, finished his first Roof of Africa in 20th place.
44 of the 94 entrants in the PRO Class completed the event. That includes Andy Noakley (Rocket Centre KTM) from Manchester (UK) who was 29th while Martin Freinademetz (KTM), who is involved in the organisation of the popular Red Bull Romaniacs extreme enduro event in Romania, finished 43rd.
The 2012 Roof of Africa attracted about 400 entrants from across the globe that competed in this event that is one of the oldest races in the world. More information about the event, as well as full results can be found on www.roofofafrica.org.ls.