Thrills and spills at Roof of Africa

Thrills and spills at Roof of Africa

MASERU – As usual, last weekend’s annual Motul Roof of Africa had its usual thrills and spills, leaving spectators begging for more.
The 2018 edition of the off-road showpiece was held over three days from last Thursday until Saturday and once again it was South African star Wade Young who emerged as champion.
It was Young’s fourth Roof of Africa triumph following titles in 2012, 2014 and last year.

Speaking to thepost on Monday, Meene Putsoa, a member of the Roof’s organising committee, said, Young’s victory was ultimately not a surprise given the 24 year-old has ascended to being one of the world’s best off-road motorbike racers.

Putsoa said Young’s experience in the Roof of Africa also helped him to overcome his challengers.
The classy South African rider edged countrymen Travis Teasdale and Kyle Flanagan, who finished second and third respectively, to claim gold in the gold category.
In the silver category, Lesotho was represented by two riders, Teboho Moretlo and Joseph Motenane, who finished 62 and 68 respectively. Yamaha rider Kayde Manto finished first in the silver category followed by KTM riders Warren Barwell and Paul Grobler.

In the bronze category, Matthew Burger of Husqvarna took first place followed by the KTM pair of Hannes Saaijman and Nuno Pereira.
“Young won (the Roof of Africa) because he is a very experienced rider,” Putsoa said.

“He is ranked number two worldwide so that means he is very experienced and a very good rider. However, our local riders’ performance was good, it’s just that our sport is expensive and they do not have enough resources. When their motorbikes are broken they have to wait a long time until repair is done. It’s not the case with others,” he added.
Added Putsoa: “I think the race went well as planned even though some of our local riders were beaten by time and most did not finish the race on the first day while other riders’ motorbikes were broken.”

Putsoa admitted a lot more needs be done to improve the Roof of Africa so that it attracts more top racers from abroad.
There were a few reported casualties this year with only one rider said to have suffered a broken leg when his motorbike crashed.

It was not specified in which class the rider was competing in. Putsoa also said one rider got lost last Friday and was found by the Ha Raboletsi community who helped him return to camp safely.
Putsoa said this year several European riders did not enter the Roof of Africa because new races were being introduced around Europe at the same time. He said Lesotho’s flagship race, and local off-road motorbiking in general, needs sponsors to keep it competitive and exciting.

“We need to find sponsors so that we can participate in different (off-road motorbike) races throughout the year to perfect our sport,” Putsoa said.
“This year’s race was different because top Europe riders did not take part in the race like in previous years because there are races being introduced in Europe and they are going to those races.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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