2006 Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa 30 November - 2 December 2006 Lesotho Final round of the National Off-road Championship for Bikes and Quads Quad Preview VICTORY IS MAIN AIM FOR QUAD RIDERS AT LESOTHO SUN ROOF OF AFRICA There are only two...
2006 Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa
30 November - 2 December 2006
Final round of the National Off-road Championship for Bikes and Quads
VICTORY IS MAIN AIM FOR QUAD RIDERS AT LESOTHO SUN ROOF OF AFRICA
There are only two riders - both in the quad category - who will not feel the pressure at the 39th Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa, the last round of the national off-road championship for bikes and quads that will take place from 30 November to 2 December in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.
After winning five events this season, the 2000 champion, Brendan Badenhorst (ATV Powersport Lonestar) has deservingly won the overall quad championship as well as the Pro 500 Class while Mark Lamb (Kawasaki) is the 2006 Sportsman champ. The rest of the titles in both the bike and quad categories are still up for grabs and the Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa will be the ultimate challenge.
And although things in the overall and class championships can still change, it is the overall Roof of Africa laurels that will earn a special place on the mantelpiece. To earn the King of the Mountain title will be the aim for various competitors including second-placed Brian Baragwanath (ATV Powersport Lonestar) who has won the Quadworx Mini Roof earlier this season as well as third-placed Hendrik Potgieter (Bombardier SA) who won the 2004 championship, but has never tasted champagne in Lesotho.
Also in the running will be 2003 and 2005 Roof of Africa winner, Jacques "Boesman" Struwig (Southern ATV Laeger) who would like to be the first quad rider to win this gruelling event three times. Struwig will tackle the event as runner-up in the Pro Open Class and fourth in the overall standings with a chance to win the class and a slim chance to move onto the overall podium.
The rest stand an outside chance of winning the race, but their main will be to better their positions in the overall and class standings. Leander Pienaar and his Bombardier SA team-mates, Carl Wichmann and Pieter Breedt, have all been on the podium this year and would like to do so again. And with former winner and defending champion, Cornel de Villiers (he will undergo an operation on his hand before taking on the 2007 Dakar), as well as Ricky da Silva not participating, some competitors might move into the top ten.
These competitors include Danie Coetzer (Polaris SA Racing) who will be competing on the new 500cc Polaris Outlaw; Pienaar and Glen Loubser (Yamaha YFZ450) who would like to catch up to his brother, Vincent who is seventh. Johan van Lill (Quadworx VLS) would also like to better or keep his eighth place.
French rider, Christoph Kuhnl, has finished second in 2004 on the Bombardier DS650 and might again cause a stir between the frontrunners while 2003 champion, Shaun Gunter, will make a comeback in Lesotho. Other dark horses include six quad competitors from Zambia.
The Senior Class championship will also be seriously contended with the top three competitors all in the running for the title - Barry Baars (Valvetech Bombardier) will start with a 7.5 lead on ATV Powersport rider, Samuel Ungerer, while defending champion, Hennie Michau (ATV Powersport Yamaha Raptor) is 22.5 points behind Baars.
The organisers have received about 100 quad entries where riders will compete in the national championship, national non-championship classes (Masters and Ladies) as well as in the Novice Class and the new Utility Quad Class (in this class, the rider will have a navigator next to him in the double-seater quads!). The quad category will provide spectacular racing with the international riders and outsiders adding even more spice to the action. Ten brave ladies will take on the 2006 Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa on quads - the most ever in the history of this event.
The 2006 Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa starts on Wednesday, 29 November, with documentation and scrutineering at the Lesotho Sun hotel. On Thursday (30 November), all competitors will take part in the exciting Round the Houses route that will start at 09h00 in the streets of Maseru. From there competitors will depart for Lancer's Gap outside town for the start of the 100km time-trail that will determine the starting order for the first day of the main race on Friday, 1 December.
On Friday and Saturday, the main race will start and finish at Matsieng south of Maseru. The bikers will depart at 06h00 and the quads at 06h45 on different routes.
BIG BIKE BATTLE FOR TITLES AND LAURELS AT LESOTHO SUN ROOF OF AFRICA
Anything can happen - and it probably will. And it will happen this weekend at the Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa, the final round of the national off-road bike championship where the battle for all the class titles as well as the overall championship will be up for grabs.
All eyes will be on Louwrens Mahoney (Mekatrade AGA LG Tyrolit KTM) who will not only have to defend his 2005 Roof of Africa title, but who will have to make sure he fends off former champion, Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic) in the overall championship and Gary Barton (Ramco Suzuki) and Gavin Louw (The Roost Kawasaki) in the 250cc Class.
Dick is not really a "mountain goat", but he will attempt again to win and with Lady Luck on his side, he might even win the overall championship. Dick, who has won the Mafikeng Desert Race this year, is only 12.5 points behind Mahoney who has won the 2005 and 2006 Enduro championships and who is within reach of his first national off-road title.
Mahoney, however, will have to keep an eye on defending champion, Clayton Enslin (EPH Shimwells Yamaha) who will be racing although with an injured collarbone. Enslin won in 2000 and would like to win again. Dick will chase Mahoney and fend off Spencer Kriel (Natro Freight Carboncor KTM) for the Open Class title with newcomer, Jaco Vermaak (Loerie Yamaha) as a dangerous outsider.
The much sought after Roof of Africa title can go to anyone - Riaan van Niekerk (Mekatrade AGA LG Tyrolit KTM) has just returned from the Six Day Enduro in New Zealand and is known for being very accurate in the mountains. So is Louw and the fight will be between these three for the 250cc Class title.
The overall laurels will not be the only issue for Kyle Poppleton (Mekatrade AGA LG Tyrolit KTM) and Kenneth Gilbert (Shimwells Yamaha) as these two will be battling it out for the 200cc Class title as well. Poppleton is leading Gilbert by 10 points, but both riders have been finishing every event and are regulars in the Top Ten. And while Gilbert is chasing Poppleton, he will be looking over his shoulder for Hylton Smith (The Roost KTM) who is within striking distance.
In the 125cc Class, it will be The Youngsters versus The Veteran - youngster Mathew Dean (Shimwells Yamaha) has scored excellent results and is leading veteran rider, Wayne Farmer (Recopane Landscapes Gas-Gas) by 9.5 points. To tackle the Roof of Africa is a challenge on its own, but to take it on with a 125cc powered machine, is a real challenge. Experience might play a role as both are gunning for their first 125cc title.
In the Senior Pro Class, the battle will be between the frontrunners with class leader, Dudley Smith (Yamaha) 11.5 points ahead of Brian Bader (The Roost KTM) who has won the last three events. Kingsley Nurden (Alfie Cox Natro Freight KTM) is third in the class and also stands an outside chance to win.
The handful international competitors including riders from Germany and Namibia will add even more interest to this race known as one of the toughest events in the world.
The 2006 Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa starts on Wednesday, 29 November, with documentation and scrutineering at the Lesotho Sun hotel and casino. On Thursday (30 November), all competitors will take part in the exciting Round the Houses route that will start at 09h00 in the streets of Maseru. From there competitors will depart for Lancer's Gap outside town for the start of the 100km time-trail that will determine the starting order for the first day of the main race on Friday, 1 December.
On Friday and Saturday, the main race will start and finish at Matsieng south of Maseru. The bikers will depart at 06h00 and the quads at 06h45 on different routes each day.