THE first day of the 2022 edition of the Roof of Africa was bookended by summer downpours, but even the rain could not dampen the enthusiasm of Lesotho’s Hard Enduro fans.
Nov. 11, 2022
4 min read
2022 Roof of Africa Day One – Sunshine and showers
The start of the iconic Round the Houses component
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Nor could it affect the dedication and commitment of the over 400 competitors who found themselves at the start line in Maseru on the morning of November 10.
Among the crowds was the newly elected Prime Minister, Sam Matekane.
A self-confessed petrolhead and ex-Off Road racing driver, Matekane is a big fan of the Roof of Africa. Combined with the excellent turnout of local fans, the future certainly looks good for the Mother of Hard Enduro.
Early rainfall in the capital raised the prospect of wet, slippery tar, but the return of the popular Round the Houses opening segment proved too great a draw to resist for a large and vocal crowd.
Besides this, the sun soon emerged, and riders of all four classes (Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Iron) enjoyed beautiful conditions. The streets of Maseru echoed once again to the roar of Enduro bikes and excited cheering.
The riders clearly relished this road-racing component of the Roof, with competition being especially tight in the Gold Class.
Reigning champion Wade Young of (Sherco Racing Factory Team powered by Motul) once again showed his Roof credentials by pipping long-time rival and 2022 South Africa Enduro champion, Brett Swanepoel (Husqvarna Racing) to the post.
Much as Round the Houses is an iconic component of the Roof, the Mother of Hard Enduro is of course all about the Maloti Mountains and Bushman’s Pass certainly delivers.
The combination of challenging terrain and “four seasons in one day” weather – of which Thursd was a classic example – has earned the Roof its daunting reputation.
This year’s Roof was to have been the first time that Gold and Silver Class riders took on the new “Ntoa ea Thaba” or “Mountain Battle”, but the elements clearly had other ideas.
Early afternoon hail and thunderstorms dictated a slight change of format, with the organisers using the top 20 Gold Class practice times and instead sending riders out for a single hot lap, the outcomes of which were used to determine the results for the day.
“We were delighted to see such a strong turnout of local Roof fans for Day One of this year’s Mother of Hard Enduro,” commented Charan Moore, Roof Race Director and Founder of Live Lesotho.
“While the weather certainly played a part today, we can look back on a thrilling and hard-fought day of racing with old rivalries renewed and new challenges laid down,” he added.
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Prime Minister Sam Matekane (seated middle) also watched the start of the historic race
Much like the weather, the Day One results caught many people off guard – and have set up an intriguing day’s racing for Friday.
The Roof can be a race of very fine margins and so it proved in the Gold Class, with Micheal Walkner (Gas Gas Factory Racing) notching up the win by just two seconds from Mani Lettenbichler (Red Bull Factory KTM Racing). Last year’s runner-up, and the highest-placed southern African rider so far, Travis Teasdale (ASP Rope Mclarens Racing) rounded out the podium.
Thursday’s rain especially impacted the Silver Class, with practice times from qualifying having to be used to determine who occupied the Day One podium. Daniel Schröder currently sits in the first place, followed by Austin Stuart and then Luke Walker.
In the Bronze Class, Brian Burrows (Coral Transport KTM) has built up an almost five-minute lead over Tate Ströh (Yamaha), with Stiaan Potgieter (Husqvarna) in third at this early juncture.
The Iron Class Day One podium was a clean sweep for KTM riders, with off-road veteran Tom Classen followed by Jack Brotherton and then Pieter Kritzinger. - Roof of Africa News