. "Real Roof of Africa" a test for more than 300 competitors . Leading bike and quad competitors kept their leads . More rain expected. POPULAR ROOF OF AFRICA REAL TEST FOR MAN AND MACHINE Maseru - The 38th Roof of Africa, this...
. "Real Roof of Africa" a test for more than 300 competitors
. Leading bike and quad competitors kept their leads
. More rain expected.
POPULAR ROOF OF AFRICA REAL TEST FOR MAN AND MACHINE
Maseru - The 38th Roof of Africa, this year once again sponsored by Vodacom and the Lesotho Sun, today took its toll on the more than 300 off-road bike and quad competitors in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, but the race was described by most riders as a "real Roof of Africa" and enjoyable.
The leading national motorcycle and quad riders started the second day of the three day race which covers almost 1 000km and were also the first riders home. After the 100km time-trail yesterday, Louwrens Mahoney (KTM SA Racing 250cc) started the race a mere four seconds ahead of Spencer Kriel (Alfie Cox Adventures KTM 250cc), Louwrens eventually won the battle for the day against team mate and last years winner, Darryl Curtis (KTM SA Racing - Open Class) who is still struggling with a bad bout of flu.
In the national quad category, Jacques "Boesman" Struwig (Southern ATV Laeger 350) was first out of the blocks and set the pace with Bloemfontein rider, Leander Pienaar (Jet Sport Bombardier) in close pursuit. Pienaar experienced mechanical problems and lost a few positions while the newly crowned champion, Cornel de Villiers (Bombardier Speed Quad) moved into second place by a mere 1 minute behind Struwig.
They say the Roof is the bringer of the rain according to the locals and as the dark rain clouds started showing above the gigantic mountains, the battles between the competitors became fiercer although they had to pace themselves for further 500km in the final stage we will wait and see what the gods have to say tomorrow (Saturday).
There were different routes for the bike and quad competitors and the two- wheelers had to face Black Neck Pass, the feared Baboon's Pass and a few others like Don't Cough Pass, Maama's Pass and Elephant Pass while the four- wheelers got away with Don't Cough Pass (because when you do, you might miss the road), Maama's Pass and Elephant Pass to name a few.
Quad competitors who conquered these routes before the cut-off time successfully and who would start the last day in the Top Ten, are Hennie Michau (Lone Star Honda 500) who was first in the Senior Class and who is aiming for his fifth consecutive class victory; Stefan van Pletzen (Honda TRX450) who just made the swop from two to four wheels; the Polokwane scholar, Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha YFZ450) who is taking on his first Roof of Africa, Glen Loubser (Loerie Yamaha George YFZ450) who would like to finish a few places ahead of his elder brother, Vincent, to make sure he beat him in the overall championship and Kiri Oberholzer (Polaris SA Racing Predator) whose position - if he can maintain it - will ensure him a spot in the Top Ten of the overall championship.
In the national motorcycle championship, it was KTM's day with a 1st 2nd 3rd and 4th with Riaan van Niekerk (KTM SA Racing) finishing in an excellent third place overall followed by Spenser Kriel. They were followed by a gaggle of riders who will grab the positions and the results if they put a wheel wrong. Clayton Enslin (EPH Shimwells Yamaha) already won the war, but he would like to win the Roof of Africa battle to add another victory to his 2000 victory in Lesotho while Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic Car Audio) traded Bad Luck Murphy in for Lady Luck and managed to finish the day although he crashed a few times (unusual hey Gray?) .
One of the riders to watch out for is two times Roof of Africa winner, Elmer Symons (KTM), the South African racer from the southern Free State who is now living and racing in the USA. He is one of the nine international riders who are participating in this year's race and although he is still suffering from a leg injury, he finds himself in the Top Ten after the first day of the main race.
Not to be taken lightly is local rider, Chris Andrews (KTM) as well as Gavin Louw (Shimwells Yamaha) who crashed during the time trail, but managed to post an excellent time; Juan van Rooyen (Russell Campbell Sadiba Kawasaki) who is leading the 125cc Class and Alex Vowles (The Roost KTM) who can throw a spanner in the works for Curtis and Dick who are fighting it out for the Open Class Championship laurels.
Saturday will be the last day to prove a few points - De Villiers and Curtis would like to win their third Roof of Africa race while Struwig would like to win his second and Mahoney his first. And then a few championship class titles are also still to be settled.
The leading motorcycle off-roader will tackle the remaining 500km route starting at 06h00 tomorrow morning while the first quad rider will be off at 6h45. The winners are all expected to finish during the early afternoon (rain excluded).