Motenane to step up in Roof race

Motenane to step up in Roof race

Luciah Phahla

Maseru – Having completed the gruelling Motul Roof of Africa course for the second year in a row, Lesotho’s premier off-road biker Joseph Motenane says he will move up to the silver class at next year’s race.
Motenane was Lesotho’s sole local representative at this year’s edition and competed in the bronze class where he finished 23rd.
Supported enthusiastically from the start of the race last Thursday, the 34-year-old was welcomed with cheers from scores of Basotho when he reached the finish line at Lekhalong la Baroa in Roma late on Saturday afternoon.

Afterwards, Motenane thanked Basotho for their support and revealed he will compete in the silver class at next year’s 50th edition of the Roof of Africa.
“I have been training since the beginning of the year and next year I will be competing in the silver class,” Motenane told thepost.
Motenane’s achievement of finishing the punishing race in successive years and his intended step up in class will hopefully inspire other local riders.
Recent years have seen a sharp decline in Basotho participation in the Roof of Africa. Last year Motenane was joined by Molamu Morojele, Basia Maseatile, ‘Muso Mohlahatsa and Victor Matekane in the race.
None returned this year.

Meanwhile, Lesotho’s last and only success in the internationally renowned showpiece came in 1992 when Patrick Andrews claimed victory.
Speaking after the race, an exhausted Motenane said the Roof of Africa, nicknamed the Mother of Hard Enduro, was as difficult as billed.
He said an injury and his day job had limited his practice time and he expressed relief at completing the race which was marred by a spate of non-finishers and the death of South African racer Willie-John le Hanie.

“We should respect people who reached the finish line as some riders did not finish the race. I am one of the people who finished the race and I have improved my position from last year,” Motenane, who finished 55th in 2015, said.
“It was very difficult to finish the race,” he added. “I think one of the things that helped me complete the race is this new bike I am using.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Sport, Mathibeli Mokhothu, praised the Roof of Africa saying it boosts Lesotho’s economy.
Mokhothu was speaking during the ‘Round the Houses’ opening stage at Maseru Club last Thursday. He also pleaded with local riders to compete in the event and urged companies to sponsor Basotho hopefuls.

“As much as the Roof of Africa contributes a lot to the country’s economy and we are happy, my main plea with the local riders is I want to see them take this opportunity and participate in this race,” he said.

“Companies should support such riders. We need to have 20 to 30 riders from the country so that our very own can compete with riders from other countries,” he added.
Mokhothu said his ministry will work hand-in-hand with the Lesotho Off-Road Association (LORA) to motivate the youth to take up the sport of motorbiking.
“The main thing is the sponsorship from the companies, these bikes are very expensive,” he explained.
“Our ministry is still trying to find a way on how we can work with the association (LORA) to see that people who are interested can get the equipment they need. But my main plea is for companies to help.”

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