Dave and I had the extreme pleasure and adventure of attending “The Roof of Africa” Enduro race in Lesotho two weeks ago. We were both spectating, but only because he broke his jaw a fortnight before on a training ride (which I’m happy to say is healing extremely well :-)). He was most disappointed, also on behalf of his sponsors, Proaction / KTM.
Here’s a pic of the team, hard at work on race prep, with the Lesotho Sun hotel in the background:
. . . and another of the car-park, from the top of the hotel, which was one of the two main venues where the riders’ support was set up:
Pity about Dave’s accident, but it was possibly for the best, since the event was reportedly off-the-scale insane this year, with many riders forced to sleep in the mountains, including a mate of Dave’s who spent the night in a shepherd’s hut. Only a handful finished (after route adjustments), from a starting field of around 220. On corrected times, South Africa‘s Jade Gutzeit came in third, behind two New Zealanders: Rory Mead and Chris Birch (winner for the second year running). Awesome ride, guys!!! Andreas Lettenbichler from Germany was going exceptionally well too, before his bike broke down a few km’s from the end.
This was the international contingent at riders’ briefing, including 1 lady!
Termed “The Mountain Kingdom” in honour of the MAGNIFICENT Maluti mountains, Lesotho is spectacularly beautiful. We got to see plenty, guided by our friends Sonja & Tom Classen (of Dakar fame – the second South African biker ever to finish that rally, twice!!). Despite Dave’s broken jaw and liquid diet, he and Tom did about 12 hours of hectic riding over the course of the weekend, even helping the finishers over the final mountain pass, which was WILD. Sonja and I watched from another peak, hardly believing our eyes where they were man-handling their motorbikes! They lifted Tom’s good friend Uli Pop (hardcore rider and route marker) and one of the cameramen from Throttle Entertainment, who was in search of (and found) some intense action footage. Keep a lookout for their DVD which should be out soon and will no doubt be mind-blowing!
This map shows the Time Trial Route on Day 1 – NOT for the faint-hearted:
For a better idea of what the competitors were up against, check out this YouTube video:
On an altruistic note, Mike Morris (another riding friend of Dave’s) has started a fund for the children of Lesotho. Here’s a link for more information and to find out how you can help: The Roof for a Roof. Great job, Mike 🙂
All in all, we had a terrific time, and definitely plan to return next year!!