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Preparations well ahead for Roof of Africa

Nov. 28, 2019 4 min read

MASERU – Preparations for the 2019 Motul Roof of Africa are at the final stage with the route markings and mobilisation of the community being set ahead of the race that is scheduled for December 4-6. According to the Lesotho Off Road Association (LORA) public relations officer Keketso Malebo, some of their members are currently visiting chiefs and councilors within selected communities through which the race will pass.

Malebo therefore appealed to Basotho to show the riders drawn from across the globe a warm hospitality and to turn up in great number to both watch the race as well as rally behind the 11 local riders who would be competing in the grueling worldly event. 

The Roof of Africa, held annually in Lesotho is considered to be one of the absolute toughest off-road endurance events in the world, attracting the world’s best Xtreme Enduro competitors to take on the challenge.

“Without question, there are certainly numerous off-road race on the planet, including difficult, brutal races. But there are not many hard-core off-road events of the calibre of the Roof of Africa Rally, the mother of all real hard Enduro events,” a statement from the Motul Roof of Africa website says.

It adds, every year, for over 40 years now more than 200 motorcycle riders have come to Lesotho, a tiny kingdom within South Africa. It says the riders all know exactly what strength is required and how many tough obstacles await them in the raw nature of this inhospitable mountain world.

“And even so, every year there are even more, not the least thanks to the organization of promoter Baboons, who are very well known throughout Europe because of this successful cross country series,” it states.

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Malebo said this time around contrary to the previous year, the number of participants increased by 100 from 300, attributing the increase to the new promoters of the race LIVE Lesotho who he noted devised new strategies to entice more entrants.

Team Lesotho in the race comprises Joseph Motenane, Teboho Moretlo and Basia Maseatile who will be competing in the silver class - Nkhasi Matete, Tobatsi Maseatile, Peter Andrews, Timello Tsolo, Sechaba Chabeli, Shabeer Moosa and Moshate Letlela will ride in bronze class.
The team has received technical and financial aid from the Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) to the tune of M500 000 and part of the assistance will be directed towards the maintenance of the riders’ bikes. The funds will also be used to provide helicopter services should emergencies of any sort arise during the race.
Some of the best riders in the world will be competing in this 52nd edition of the event and they include Graham Jarvis, Chris Birch as well as Wade Young who have been dominating the race since 2010. Between the three riding legends, they have won the race a total of 11 times interchangeably.

“Young was only 16 years old when he first won the race in 2010 and being a South African national he is likely to be accompanied by his family, fans and technical team to Lesotho,” Malebo said. Birch is from England while Jarvis hails from New Zealand.

“The two always come with their families and friends, as the event is an ideal tourist attraction place used during the festive season. It will boost the economy of the country in terms of hospitality as these riders are going to stay in local hotels and guesthouses as well as use local filling stations to refuel their bikes and vehicles,” he said.

The all-new bigger-and-better Roof of Africa Rally has just been launched by LORA. The revised version of the event sees this traditional off-road spectacle divided into five editions. The five editions are namely the Quad Roof of Africa, which took place in February, the Junior Roof (Motorcycles and Quads) which occurred in April, the Enduro 5 Roof of Africa (Motorcycles) which took place in July, the Roof of Africa Cars which takes places in August and the Roof of Africa Motorcycles of December.   

Malebo said the first day of the race featured the usual round the houses in Maseru near Maseru Mall, where the King's Way Road will be closed for normal traffic from 8am until midday to give the riders room to compete.

As part of the event, he said gold class riders would entertain spectators at the Maseru Mall by performing acrobatic stunts with their bikes. The round the houses edition will be followed by a time trial in Thaba Bosiu the following day with the main event held on the next day (December 7) in which competitors who recorded the fastest time in the 45km at the Time-Trial will be given a head start in the race.
The starting point is Thaba-Bosiu via Ha Sofonea, to Ha Seeiso through Ha Baroana, Ha Nqheku, Setibing, Ha Molengoane and back to the starting point.

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