As the oldest Off-Road race in Africa and one of the oldest in the world, the Motul Roof of Africa has deservedly earned the title of The Mother of Hard Enduro and this year it celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Scheduled to take place from 15-18 November in Lesotho, the 2017 Motul Roof of Africa is the final round of the Red Bull Hard Enduro Series for the year and promises to be a good test of man and motorcycle.
Worldwide, Hard Enduro or Extreme Enduro, has become increasingly popular and the Motul Roof of Africa has earned the reputation as being one of the hardest to compete in. The 3-day race attracts overseas interest and regular participation from a large contingent of international competitors as well as pro and amateur local riders.
The route begins in and around Maseru, Lesotho’s capital. This part of the race, known as the “Round the Houses” will give spectators a taste of the adrenaline and pace of the race. This year Round the Houses will consist of 5 races of 3 laps each starting at Maseru Club, going into Kingsway towards the US Embassy, into Pope John Paul II Road, passing by the Golf Club and the UN House and back to the FINISH at Maseru Club. Gold and Silver riders will take part in the Round the Houses and Bronze riders will proceed directly to the time trial. There will also be endless stunt entertainment between races at the Maseru Club Grounds.
The start of the time trial will be at a whopping 2,700 masl (meters above sea level). The altitude of the race will vary from 1,500 masl in the lowlands to more than 3,000 masl in the mountains. The route of day 2 and 3 comprises of sand and rock tracks with hard surfaces and donkey paths through mountain passes which are generally very steep and rocky. Several deep rivers may have to be crossed depending on weather conditions. Daytime temperatures can be as high as 35 degrees, which makes effective hydration a critical element for success during the event.
MGC Aviation are supplying the helicopter which will be filming and covering the event, while the Lesotho Defense Force are supplying the helicopter for evacuations and medical emergencies.
This Year’s Top Competitors to Watch
The scheduled rider line up promises to be a gathering of the world’s top Enduro competitors. After winning last year, Graham Jarvis (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) is scheduled to return to defend his Roof of Africa title while Alfred Gomez Cantero (Red Bull KTM), who came in at a very close second last year, will also be back to chase down the overall title.
Some of the top performing SA athletes include Wade Young (Sherco LiquiMoly Racing), the youngest competitor to win a Roof of Africa title at only 16 years of age in 2012 (he also won in 2014); Brett Swanepoel (Pepson Plastics Husqvarna), who has finished 2nd and 3rd in previous years; as well as World Junior SuperEnduro Champion Blake Gutzeit (Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha) and his brother Jade Gutzeit 2003 Winner (Alfie Cox KTM Motul Racing).
From the ladies entries, Kirsten Landman (Brother Leadertread KTM), known as “the iron woman of Hard Enduro” who was the first ever female competitor to enter and complete the Gold class in 2016, will be joined by Spanish Sandra Gomez (Pepson Plastics Husqvarna) which should make for an interesting battle and one worth keeping an eye on during this year’s event.
Motul Roof of Africa event organiser, Peter Luck, gives a rundown of what can be expected. “The route is as tough as always but is do-able for the various classes, certainly a great test for man, woman and machine. Spectators can look forward to great viewing points along the route,” he says. “This year fans and riders can look forward to a podium prize-giving which will take place shortly after the finish on Saturday,” he adds.
This will be Motul South Africa’s second year as title sponsor and second opportunity for them to support this much anticipated event on the Extreme Enduro calendar.
Although Motul has been the lubricant partner of choice for the race before, Motul Area Manager for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mercia Jansen, says being an official title sponsor for the second year is a great honour for the brand. “We are proud to associate ourselves with many different types of motorsport across the globe, and being a part of one of the hardest Enduro races in the world, is a unique experience,” she says.
Through the years, Motul has gained experience as an official supplier to many racing teams and manufacturers and collaborates with them to further technological development in motorsport.
This year’s registration and riders briefing will take place on Wednesday 15 November at the AVANI Lesotho Hotel, race quarters for the duration of the event. To stay up-to-date with all of the 2017 Motul Roof of Africa action, you can visit the Motul Roof of Africa – Mother of Hard Enduro Facebook page or visit the website: www.roofofafrica.info .
Some riders scheduled to attend include:
Graham Jarvis – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna – reigning champion – 4 times winner
Mario Roman – Sherco Liqui Moly Racing
Alfredo Gomez Cantero – Red Bull KTM – lost by 9 seconds last year to Jarvis
Sandra Gomez – Pepson Plastics Husqvarna
Andreas Lettenbichler – Red Bull KTM
Manuel Lettenbichler – Red Bull KTM
South African riders:
Wade Young – Sherco Liqui Moly Racing – Has won it twice, youngest rider ever at age 16
Brett Swanepoel – Pepson Plastics Husqvarna – has finished 2nd and 3rd
Kirsten Landman – Brother Leadertread KTM
Travis Teasdale – Brother Leadertread KTM – SA National Enduro Champion 2017
Blake Gutzeit – Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha – 2017 SuperEnduro World Champion
Jade Gutzeit – Alfie Cox KTM Motul Racing – 2003 Winner
Scott Bouverie – Brother Leadertread KTM – 3rd place last year
Kyle Flanagan – Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha